Overview of Paul Rinzler's The Contradictions of Jazz Chapter 8: Creativity
Overview of PAUL RINZLER’S The Contradictions of Jazz - Chapter 8
Ch. 8 - CREATIVITY
- Holding a creative hand in jazz gives musicians the ability to explore more corners in jazz than if they were to mundanely follow every note made by the composer.
- To be creative means to be both productive and novel. (77)
➢ To produce, one must create from scratch.
➢ To have novelty, the creation must come from an original (new) source.
The opposite of creativity is tradition.
- Tradition is derived from an old and an already existent source.
- A person can make a new version of the original, but he/she did not invent/create (produce) it. Therefore, he/she is not exactly partaking in creativity. (77)
- Composers leave traditionally noted Western scores open to interpretation by determining certain, but not all elements of the piece. (78)
- For example, features such as the fermata (a symbol of musical notation indicating that the note should be prolonged beyond its normal duration or note value would indicate) or crescendo (gradual increase in volume) can be noted where to be played, but not so much how to be played. (78)
- In these circumstances, performers can determine for themselves how long a fermata (pause) will last and the rate at which the music will get louder (crescendo). (78)
Discrete and Analog Elements of Music
- The elements of music open to interpretation are those that are analog.
➢ Analog: Continuously variable, or open to change (Ex: The fermata can be anything from short to long, or anything in between.)
- The opposite of analog is discrete.
➢ Discrete: Individually separate and distinct (specific)
- Jazz will use the twelve pitches of the chromatic scale to create discrete pitches rather than varying pitches. (78)
- A rhythm of notes is assumed to consist of discrete points in time, coinciding with its onset.
➢ In other words, the rhythm starts with the beginning note or sound. (78)
Informal Editing by the Performer
- A performer may become creative by informal editing, although this may mean he is contradicting the composer’s initial intentions of the piece. However, it is important to note that the player’s purpose is only taking the necessary actions of reaching realizations or self-discovery music throughout the process.
Pitches and Rhythm
- While informal editing is acceptable in certain situations, interpretations of conventional Western music are far-stretched and an unacceptable violation.
- Unlike the traditionally noted Western score, a conventional Western score is composed in the sense that there should be little to no room for the player to make his/her own interpretations. (79)
- Part of improvisation is experimentation and musicians encourage one another to partake in it even though the audience reaction is unknown or unsure.
- Tricksterism involves disorienting the music or playing in an unexpected manner (mixing things up to mislead the audience). (81)
- Free association involves playing notes as they spontaneously appear in the mind.
- To use this creative tool, musicians open their minds to creative ideas and play them out as music as they appear in the mind.
- “Even if swing and groove are not creatively interpreted, they may still be satisfactory or even excellent, but to play an improvisation creatively is widely understood to be crucial in jazz.” (81)
- Another way of being creative is with the instrument itself, and playing it in a way it is not normally played.
➢ Example: Miles Davis was one of the first jazz musicians to use electronic modification (echo, wa-wa, and the like) on the trumpet.] (82)
- The boundaries between styles is often blurred and hard to distinguish from one another.
- However, it is our goal as philosophers to approach definitions of different styles in order to more closely study them.
- Defining a style is a judgment and a matter of context as well as a matter of objective musical criteria. (82)
- Jazz has a long history of borrowing from other styles of music for creative inspiration.
- Miles Davis is a pivotal figure in jazz history where he made several innovative styles such as cool, modal, and jazz/rock. (83)
- Arranging creativity: Maintaining many or most elements of a style without changing enough so that naming a new style would be more convenient. It is reworking even the most traditional material into new contexts. (83)
- Musicians can be even more creative when reworking pieces by improvising the arrangments.