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Thesis 1

Thesis Title: Multi-lingual practices in modern jazz: their implications for the future of the music
Degree Type: Other
Degree Specialism: Performance
Supervisor(s): Dr Maria McHale
Thesis Status: Accepted
Date Submitted / Accepted: September 2010
Institution Submitting / Submitted To: Dublin Institute of Technology
No. of Volumes (no. of pages): 1 (56pp.)
Thesis Location / Link: DIT Conservatory of Music & Drama Library
Abstract: The idea behind this thesis emerged when I came across the word ‘multi-lingual’ in the biography of a colleague. This encouraged me to look more closely and investigate the musical backgrounds of some of the musicians I work with on a regular basis. I discovered that many of them, particularly the younger generation, had a quite eclectic musical education. All were well versed in the fundamental language of jazz, Bebop, but there were musical elements from a wide range of genres evident in their improvisation and composition. Through further research I discovered that there is very little written on the subject of polystylism in jazz. In order to gather enough information to present a coherent thesis a different approach was necessary.
I identified two musicians who I felt demonstrated clear multi-lingual practices in their playing and writing and who were easily accessible. I arranged separate interviews with both of them. The line of questioning first concentrated on how they developed as musicians and how the various styles of music that influenced them came into their lives, before looking at how these influences manifest themselves in their playing today. The final part of the interview was dedicated to looking at specific compositions in detail.
When examining the development of early jazz it is evident that there is a history of eclecticism in this music. In fact the standard language of jazz, Bebop, is the result of the merger, over time, of many different styles of music, from African rhythms to European harmony.
For the most part Bebop is still the foundation of Jazz improvisation. Whether this will change over time and Bebop will be replaced by a new standard jazz language or will vanish into the huge mix of musical influences being assimilated into jazz today, only time can tell.

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