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"The idea of form in jazz" by Laurent Cugny
In its applications to the musical field, the notion of form is most often considered in its architectural aspect. In his work on the forms of music, Andre Hodeir quotes Boris de Schoelzer: “... structure is the arrangement of various parts in order to constitute a whole, while form is precisely this whole as such, considered in its unity ”(Hodeir 1951: 11). Hodeir adds: “The idea of form is infinitely larger than the idea of structure. [...] [It] is linked to the deep necessity of the work, to its essence, more than to its structure. [...] The form is the way in which a work strives to achieve unity ”(ibid .: 11, 12, 18).
2 Although Andre Hodeir makes it a concept of port & much more general than that of structure, he does not leave it less within its architectural framework. However, it is possible to broaden one's understanding well beyond these limits. For the question which occupies us, one can wonder if there are characteristic or specific forms of jazz, beyond the structural types most often used in this music. A question is to know if the fact of directing from the outset the question of the form towards the architectonic is not precisely the fact of a thought of the written scholarly music. Since jazz comes under a different conceptual framework, that of oral tradition music, it is perhaps not useless to try to ask these questions with a different approach.
3 It seems to us at first sight that the form can be understood in a continuity going from the particular to the general, as it moves away from the strict architectonic definition. But initially, and to simplify the exposition, we will separate it into two distinct parts, the first addressing the form in its architectural dimension, the second proposing to broaden the field of this apprehension.
4 The apprehension of form in jazz is prone to much confusion for two essential reasons: the often imprecise definition of terms and the common confusion between the conceptual frameworks of learned music and jazz. This is why he us
seems necessary to return to the definition of an appropriate conceptual framework, as we proposed it in a recent university work (Cugny 2001).
5 In erudite and rite music, at least in what is sometimes referred to as the “common practice” of the 16th and 19th centuries, the composer creates a work that he records on a written medium (the score). The performers are then responsible for carrying out the sound productions for the listener. But before the first of these realizations (the creation), the work already exists and its real author is undoubtedly the composer.
6 The jazz system is different, as is the more general one of oral tradition music. The work is accomplished during a performance. It cannot be conceived before sound has been produced. Preparatory elements (composition, written texts, playing codes, instructions) are identifiable, but they can no longer constitute (a work itself than a scenario, however complete it may be, is neither a film nor a work The creators of the work are therefore the musicians who play: the “performers.” The creator of this work is the musician responsible for the contents of the performance. is not the case, the composer cannot be held for the author of ('work. In the same way, a composition reaches the status of work of jazz only through the versions which are given by jazz musicians. These are the versions that will constitute the works themselves. Summertime is only a jazz work in the versions of Louis Armstrong, John Coltrane, Stan Getz ... George Gershwin is indeed the composer of Summertime, but the works that constitute the respective versions are authored by Armstron g, Coltrane, Getz ... Similarly, two versions of the same composition by the same musician are two different works. It therefore becomes inappropriate to speak of interpretation and interpreters for jazz, because it is a matter of an operation and of actors who have no place in the apparatus specific to jazz.
7 It will be noted that the sound material of ('work of jazz implies that (' work is recorded so that it can be reconsidered and therefore ('analyze. In fact, if a performance is not recorded, it does indeed constitute a work). , but once the last note is played, it no longer exists except in the memory of the performers and listeners present. Only the sound support allows the analysis of a jazz work.
8 This conception leads to distinguish two moments of the work, or more exactly two moments of its analysis. beginning of the performance. In a second step, we analyze what actually takes place during the performance. We have proposed to call them the moment before and the moment after, the point of separation of the two moments being therefore (' instant-zero 00 the recorder is switched on, the one 00 Ion no longer speaks but 00 Ion is playing.
Apprehension of the form
9 To try to clarify this question, we must first remember that - unlike the analysis of music and rite - the contact with the jazz work takes place through the recorded performance. of the front level must be deducted from what is
observed at the post. We must find the first through the second. Even if we are working on a transcription, it is only a descriptive score, that is to say a figuration, necessarily incomplete, of the level of the after. If we have prescriptive scores that were used for recording the performance (a fairly rare case in practice), they can only be used as informative documents, but not as a basis for the analysis. The movement therefore goes from perception up to production. To speak in the terms of the tripartition of Jean Molino, the approach is aesthetic to go up towards the poietic via the neutral level. In the analysis of written music, on the contrary, we usually start with the score written by the composer, listening to the recorded work serving as a sort of secondary document, even if it is obviously essential. But the approach is the opposite: the poietic is first and the aesthetic is deduced from it in a way.
The consequences of these reverse movements on the course and the very nature of the analysis are obviously important. Imagine that we have to do an analysis of the rhythm of the Rite of Spring without having Stravinsky's score, each analyst having to make a transcription of the work as he sees it. There would be every chance to collect as many different transcriptions as there would be transcriptionists (at least in terms of metrics), thus revealing as many perceptions, and thereby analyses, of metrics and rhythm.
In the case of jazz, this means that it is often reduced to assumptions about the state of a shape at the front. Consider, for example, "Free Jazz" by Ornette Coleman (1960). Contrary to what one sometimes thinks and to what the title suggests, there are few pieces so structured, while there is clearly written text of only a few seconds out of the more than thirty-seven minutes that lasts. the room. Some symmetries and recurrences are too obvious to imagine that they were found spontaneously during the performance, yet it is difficult to determine for sure what was decided before or during the performance.
12 How will this conceptual framework allow us to understand the conception of form? To deal with this question, we will start from the most common situation in jazz: that where a composition serves as a starting point for the work. We know that this is not always the case, either that the performance is entirely improvised, or that only a few elements - a form such as the blues, a motif, an idea - not sufficiently structured to speak of a composition are at the origin of the performance. Statistically, we know that the composition as a starting point represents the normal situation of what can also be called a "common practice" of jazz as it was played, approximately between 1930 and 1960.
13 It is therefore appropriate in our opinion to distinguish in this situation the form of the composition and that of the performance. If we deal with the first one first, how can we distinguish the form of the composition on the one hand, and its structure on the other? Empirically, it is by the second that we access the first. We describe structures in multiple occurrences and we notice that some of them have common features. Statistically, when a large number of occurrences of structures present the same features, we are entitled to speak of a form. When we see that a large number of structures present a melody repeated once, followed by a second before the first is repeated, we are led to speak of an AABA shape, whatever the sizes and shapes of the respective elements. whether or not peripheral elements are added to them.
14 It seems to us that it is possible, initially, to identify four types of forms of composition in the jazz of the “common practice”: the complex forms, the song-form, the blues and the hybrid forms. The complex forms are those which one meets at the beginnings of jazz in the ragtime, the stride, certain compositions of style New Orleans. They generally reveal a Western filiation, via dance music (waltzes, quadrilles, scottishes, etc.) which are often at their origin. The song-form is that of Broadway songs, which have often been called (more or less incorrectly) the standards. They are mainly grouped into two other forms of the immediately lower level, AABA and ABAC. The blues is an essential form of jazz. Its structure (almost obligatory) of twelve bars, to be the shortest, is not the least important. It has the particularity of including, in addition to the framing, a particular harmonic sequence. Certain hybrid forms mix scattered elements of other forms, often assembled in suites (at Duke Ellington for example).
15 This first inventory is obviously partial and does not claim to summarize the situation on its own. Many structures do not fall within the frameworks defined by these forms. But it can be safely said that the vast majority of jazz works from the 1930s to the 1960s fall into one of these categories. Structures began to diversify during the 1950s, and this diversity continued to increase from the 1960s onwards. However, apart from the aforementioned forms not disappearing, this new diversity of structures did not give rise to new forms. It is perhaps even one of the characteristics of modern jazz, understood in this way, that this atomization of structures.
16 We have therefore defined, at a first level, a difference between the form of the composition and the structure of the composition. The AABA, for example, constitutes a form (itself included in the song-form), which can be identified in its most common structure of thirty-two bars 8-8-8-8, but also in structures close (16-16-16-16 in "Alice in Wonderland" or "Cherokee," 8-10-8-10 in "Stormy Weather") or more distant (8-8-8-12 AA'BA in "All the Things You Are," where the second A is transposed harmonically and the last one is lengthened.
17 What then happens to these forms of composition during the performance? Here again, it is advisable to go through the structures again to define what we will call a structure of the performance, which takes into account the entire unfolding of the latter. The composition can be played several times or, on the contrary, partially or in pieces. The improvised parts—in particular the solos —will be added, as well, possibly, that more or less written parts like introduction, coda, interlude, arranged parts. Thus, the "'Round Midnight" (1956) recorded by Miles Davis on September 10, 1956 is based on a composition of form AABA and structure 8-8-8-8. The structure of the performance is broken down into an eight bar introduction, an exhibition of the entire theme by Miles Davis, a three bar interlude, a thirty-two bar solo by John Coltrane on the theme chords and an eight bar coda.
18 Do forms emerge from recurring occurrences of performance structures, in the same way that we have seen at least four types of forms emerge from all the structures of the compositions? Only one seems to be able to be identified with certainty: the form "theme - solos - theme." It can take on quite different aspects, but it is indisputably the form par excellence of the common practice of jazz, and it is even possible to see it as one of the characteristics of this music. It will be noted in passing that this form is often assimilated to the form "theme and variations", while it is of a very different essence, which makes this comparison in our sense abusive.
19 These examples remind us of what was mentioned above: in jazz, it is the perception that comes first in the analysis. It is through what has been played, as we hear it in a recording, that we must imagine, reconstruct, what presided over the performance, what was decided before we play. The form, of course, is no exception to this rule.
20 It can be said that the form and structure of the composition undoubtedly belong to the level of the front, although they are perceptible at the level of the after and are located there. The question is more complicated with regard to the structure of the performance. It is unmistakably the description of what plays out in the performance: the length of Miles Davis "'Round Midnight" is different from that of Thelonious Monk's composition, because the structures are distinct, and ultimately it s it is about two different musical objects.
21 But this overall structure may have been decided in advance. In the example we have taken, it is obvious that Miles Davis decided on the course of the play before playing it. This is indeed a performance structure (after level), but its conception is at the front level, which leads us to approach the domain of arrangement. One could find other hybrid examples (perhaps the most common). From the recording of "Billie's Bounce" by Charlie Parker (1945) we have five takes. We notice that from the second take, Parker decides to play one more chorus in his solo, no doubt because he feels more and more lively. The structures of the different performances constituted by the successive takes will thus be distinct from one take to another. Yet the general framework, theme exposure / saxophone solo / trumpet solo / theme re-exposure, has obviously been fixed in advance. But this framework supports variations which, for their part, are decided during the performance. We are therefore there simultaneously in the two moments, before and after. Again, in this example, the variation is small and ultimately not very significant. But now imagine the famous versions of John Coltrane's "Impression." We know that some may have lasted up to forty-five minutes, while the exposure of the theme does not last a minute. It goes without saying that here the shape of the front level becomes insignificant as the imbalance, quantitatively, is great between the exposition of the theme and the sum of the solos. It is indisputably here the level of the after which is significant and where the stakes of the analysis of the form lie.
22 We could therefore argue that, in the (most common) case where the use of the form “theme - solos - theme” is decided in advance (front level), three cases can occur: - A strict setpoint prevents any variation from occurring at the time of the performance: this is the case, for example, with the majority of big band pieces. - The instructions can be amended: minimal variations can occur, but they do not significantly modify the general aspect of the structure as decided in advance: this is the case with Parker's "Billie's Bounce" where this last may take three or
four choruses. - A pretext instruction sets a very loose framework: the possibility of variation is very important, everything is really played out at the time of the performance (case of the long versions of Impression by John Coltrane). This is a trait that we find in many works after 1960, which brings into play the concept of “openness”.
L'idée de forme dans le jazz The idea of shape in jazz
25 We can here consider the attitude of great figures of jazz to try to shed light on the discussion. If we admit that the form "theme - solos - theme" is dominant in the common practice of jazz, the search for an evolution of the formal language consists in making an inventory of the approaches which have tried to go beyond the limits of this framework. We said above that this form "theme - solos - theme" transcends the distinction before level / after level, or rather that it is found on both sides at the same time. It relates to the after level, because it accounts for the progress of the performances and it incorporates forms from the front level (song-form, blues ...). But it is attached to this level of the front since it is most often decided in advance, before the first note played. The decision to use it is in this sense a decision to settle.
Fig. 3: Duke Ellington at the Montreux Jazz Festival, 1970. Photo: Dany Gignoux
the same year, in his meeting with John Coltrane - it seems that he falls back on the form "theme - solos - theme" in his traditional conception.
27 We could say, to find the counterexample par excellence, that Thelonious Monk was totally disinterested in the formal question, at least in its architectural dimension. The song-form and the blues on the one hand, the “theme - solos - theme” form on the other, are sufficient for its expression, which we know that creativity takes other paths, melodic, harmonic and sound. The number of choruses is not fixed in advance, but there is no questioning on this side.
28 The great shape manipulators at the front are logically to be found among the arrangers, particularly in the 1950s when the movement is accelerating. Charles Mingus and George Russell are in this respect indisputable figures for calling into question the logic "theme - solos - theme" and the contribution of new structures ("Fables of Faubus," 1959). We said above that we do not see in this period, or even later, the emergence of alternative forms, but rather an atomization of structures where each is sufficient on its own and does not refer to a specific form. . A piece like "Concerto for Billy the Kid" (1966) by George Russell is absolutely enlightening from this point of view. This does not mean, however - far from it - that they do away with improvisation in favor of a writing that would swallow it up, a phenomenon that may have occurred with another great formal innovator, André Hodeir, in whom this process has culminated in "Anna Livia Plurabelle" (1966) and "Bitter Endings" (1971).
29 The case of Gil Evans is more complicated. He does not deny the form "theme - solos - theme". The "Miles Ahead" (1957a) and "Porgy & Bess" (1958) albums are entirely made up of song-form compositions. But the writing is so sophisticated, not only in its orchestral aspect, but formally in the addition of introductions, interludes, written orchestral parts, that it can be argued that it subverts this form of l inside. In addition, it happens to transform it by making a detour through other parameters. In "My Ship" (1957b) for example, the AABA form is respected, but the timbral structure counteracts the melodico-harmonic structure, resulting in a de facto questioning of the formal element. But, simultaneously, the two other albums of the great period of the collaboration with Miles Davis, "Sketches of Spain" (1960) and "Quiet Nights" (1962), make hear many attempts to break out of conventional formal patterns, a trend that will assert itself in the years 1962–1964. When, after four years of almost total hiatus, Gil Evans resumed his activity in 1969, he completely changed his mind, focusing mainly on form at the post-level, attempting— with varying degrees of success—to adapt to the large (or medium) formation, precepts of improvisation generally reserved for the small formation of jazz. The level of the front will then be reduced drastically, until it touches almost nothing, to favor the work of form (and sound) during the performance, finding in this the tradition of the head arrangement, in vogue in the 1920s and early 1930s.
30 The question of the renewal of forms at the post-level will really arise from the upheavals of the late 1950s. The main architects of this revolution are mainly Miles Davis with "Kind of Blue" (1959), Omette Coleman with "Free Jazz" (1960) and John Coltrane with the exponential expansion of the length of solos, such as it can be heard on several live albums, including "Live at the Village Vanguard" (1961) and "Newport '63" (1963). Ornette Coleman opens the way for the generalized questioning of parameters by free jazz, in which form is obviously at the forefront. We can henceforth speak—rather than "open forms", a term which means something else in other musical fields—of "improvised structures," although, as is the case for the piece "Free Jazz " (1960) itself. Similarly, the formal, level elements of the front are far from having disappeared in many pieces within the free jazz style.
31 In the case of Miles Davis, the breakthrough of "Kind of Blue" will be immediately followed by a relative withdrawal, since, in the period 1960–1964, it will return to the system of standards with its traditional forms. It will be necessary to wait for his second quintet to lead to a notable innovation at the formal level, both in terms of before and after, all the more remarkable as it constitutes a real alternative to the more general questioning carried out. by the free jazz. We can estimate that we are here in the presence of two major formal options initiated in the 1960s and on which is based a large part of the jazz that was played then and that is still played today. It should be noted that this advance in the music of Miles Davis was made under the impetus of a new generation which then arrived in its orchestra with the figures of Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Ron Carter and Tony Williams and their double status (for the first two cited at least) of sidemen and composers. In the same way—and one points perhaps here a trait of the musical character of Miles Davis—the formal overtures
heard in 1959 and 1960 certainly owe something to the influence of Bill Evans and John Coltrane on their then leader.
32 John Coltrane's tendency evidently pushed him towards an expansion of the form, which can be considered, as desired, to lead to the emergence of a new form or, on the contrary, to the implosion of the old one. The question of duration is obviously essential here. We can well play a standard with its identified form, if each of the soloists plays two improvised choruses or fifty - with the consequence of a performance lasting from four or five minutes to thirty or forty - we are obviously in the presence of a real qualitative leap. What was John Coltrane really looking for in this race? Undoubtedly a representation of eternity: that the music never stops. But, more prosaically, it is not certain that this is a formal decision, that one can perceive as secondary in the Coltranian approach. The essential appears to us elsewhere, probably, it seems to us, in an intense expressive necessity (which we also hear, for example, in Albert Ayler). In this sense, John Coltrane, by his musical character, is very different, and even perhaps the opposite of Miles Davis. Gil Evans once told us this story: he met Miles Davis who then included in his orchestra Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane. Gil Evans asks Miles Davis how his last gig went. "Very well," replies the trumpeter, "Cannonball played forty-nine choruses, Coltrane fifty-one, and me two." Miles Davis has always had a temper that pushes him towards brevity, the "small form," one might say. His solos are generally perfect miniatures of construction and elegance. He is less comfortable over time. The contrast with Coltrane is obvious in the last testimonies of their collaboration, in particular the recording of the Stockholm concert in March 1960. On "On Green Dolphin Street" (1960), Davis delivers one of those solos with limpid contours of which he is a specialist. Behind him, Coltrane, then in a pivotal period where a profound transformation of his playing is underway, launches into a form of seemingly endless logorrhea where he keeps repeating the same formulas while striving to break down his own phrasing. and its own sound. The contrast is absolutely stunning. Two opposite types, each as flamboyant as the other, with a deep relationship to form, are juxtaposed in an impossible sequence. This irreducibility is summed up in an anecdote which runs in the middle of the musicians (is it true?). Miles Davis asks Coltrane: "But why are you playing for so long?" Coltrane: "I never know how to stop". Davis: "It's not complicated, just take the saxophone out of your mouth."
Forms in jazz
33 After this quick overview of the architectural aspect of form in jazz, we can, as we indicated at the beginning of this text, wonder if it is not possible to go beyond this framework to consider the form. more broadly. In other words, we could ask this question: Did jazz bring out forms unknown before it?
34 Let's start with the question of improvisation. It is generally argued that improvisation is a hallmark of jazz. However, this statement should be clarified. Not only is improvisation not a specificity of jazz (a large number of musics use it), but it is also not entirely necessary (one can conceive of jazz without improvisation), nor necessarily dominant (l writing plays an essential role throughout the history of jazz). But such is not
the object of the present discussion which rather encourages us to ask the question thus: did jazz bring specific ways of implementing improvisation? As the wording becomes clearer, one would be more easily tempted to answer in the affirmative. We said above that in our opinion, the form "theme - solos - theme" should not be confused with "theme and variations". This is more akin to the variations that the arrangement allows (in jazz as in other genres, song for example). A given theme will take on very different aspects depending on whether it is arranged for solo piano, for a small or large group, in an old or recent style, by the arranger X or Y. If we played successively different arrangements of 'a same theme (which we do not usually do), we would end up with something resembling the form "theme and variations". But it is quite different in the form "theme - solo - theme". The theme is played in one of its possible arrangements, and then we move on to a part which - rather than keeping the melody and transforming the accompaniment - does the opposite: the melody is deleted, another (improvised) is substituted for it, keeping roughly the accompaniment, in any case, in common use, the rhythm, the form and the harmonic frame. One might object that in the very early days, improvisation was limited to a paraphrase, but it is a very short period. The solos can sometimes retain a link with the theme, they are nonetheless perfectly distinct original lines.
35 This is why it seems to us that this form "theme - solos - theme" is itself original. And it is possible that this is, if not a specific form (is it used in a comparable way in other music?), At least that it constitutes a significant contribution of jazz. It would then be justified to speak of form, no longer only in the architectural sense - a way of organizing duration - but in the more general sense of a descriptible and observable entity in numerous occurrences all different in appearance. Can we find others? Presumably yes. We are thinking here of orchestral formats and ways of playing.
36 It has often been observed that jazz “invented” certain instruments. The saxophone existed before jazz, but with it it has become something else. The same can be said of the double bass and perhaps other instruments as well. The drums, on the other hand, are a more purely new instrument. We will not go so far as to assert that the drums, the saxophone or the jazz double bass are forms in themselves, but we can ask ourselves whether certain orchestral formats that they have generated are not forms. . I am thinking for example of the rhythm section piano (or guitar or vibraphone) - double bass - drums. It gradually formed during the 1920s to become the heart of most formations (large or small), but not all. It seems to us that we are very close here to the notion of form. The presence of a conventional rhythm section does not impose a unique way of playing, it is found in different styles, but it provides a framework which largely informs the music, allowing some things, preventing others. In this sense, we will find it, in a large number of occurrences, all distinct, but endowed with this common character which is not simply anecdotal (as would be all the music played by musicians with blue eyes). If it were thus justified to speak of a form, it would begin to be more legitimate to speak of a specificity. Few other musics, to my knowledge, use this instrumental assembly, and when it is the case (as it can happen in the song for example), one will notice precisely that this element brings a jazz color, way of underlining a essential link with this music.
37 We are tempted to go even further in this direction. The rhythm section is found in many orchestral formats. But some of these have seen a specific history form within the great history of jazz. If this is true, the piano - double bass - drums trio, the trumpet - saxophone - piano - bass - drums "combo" (with some possible variations), the large swing orchestra (the big band) with four sections (trumpets, trombones, saxophones, rhythmic) would gain the status of specific forms of jazz. Here again, it is a matter of musical units (and of thought) with infinitely variable contours, but identifiable as such. If we evoke the concept of big band in front of a jazz specialist, we can bet that the mental image which is then formed in his mind has points in common with that generated by the evocation of the term “sonata-form”. ”For a 19th century specialist in learned tradition. Neither is it a question of style, but of unified, definable concepts (the big band is not the combo, as the sonata form is not the rondeau), but of paradigmatic value.
38 In this same perspective, it still seems to us that certain ways of playing, characteristic - and often specific - of jazz, reach the status of form. We have proposed in a thesis work already mentioned the notion of "game code", defined as a more or less complex musical knowledge assumed to be known to all jazz musicians and able to be called either by a verbal instruction, or in the course. of performance. The inventory still remains to be drawn up, but the playing codes can range from the relatively simple (the "chabada" which is reduced to a rhythmic figure played in a certain way by the drums) to the more complex: the blues, for example, is a code combining a specific harmonic system, a particular harmonic structure, a particular harmonic sequence, even certain particular melisms. A large number of these game codes relate to instrumental tropisms. The "pump" on the piano, the "walking bass" on the double bass, the "chabada" on the drums or the "casserole" on the guitar4 are codes linked to an instrument and to a single one (which is not the case of all, of the blues for example). Among these instrumental codes, some, by the frequency of their appearances in several different styles, by the importance they have acquired in the idiom, reach in our opinion the status of form. Subject to further inventory, it seems to us that the “chabada” of the drummers and the “walking bass” of the bassists enter into this case. Appearing in an infinite number of variations but in an always absolutely recognizable way, participating in the language of several styles but not all, these two codes have sufficient significance to play the role that we want to attribute to them here (which is far from being the case of all game codes), and constitute kinds of markers of the genre. By recognizing them in a given music, we identify it as being jazz or evoking jazz We are unable to say if these two codes cannot meet in a non-anecdotal way in any other music in space and time , but it is certain that they play such a role in jazz that they obviously participate in the specificity of this music.
39 We can see the danger that constantly lurks in the exercise we have engaged in here: making the concept of form a catch-all where we mix a little everything and anything. We tried to avoid it by using it in a reasoned way, by also assuming the risk of this diversity. But this danger applies to others. It seems to us too restrictive to limit the use of the concept to architectonics. By broadening it in directions that are not always well defined, we symmetrically give ourselves opportunities to approach in a different way the question that haunts all writings on jazz: that of its specificity. We might stumble
too often on a desire to reduce it to a few simple and very few elements: improvisation, swing, sound. By considering the ways of playing, the problem presents itself from a completely different angle and the avenues thus opened may prove to be more fruitful in our opinion. If this were the case, the concept of form in jazz, as it has been attempted here, would obviously be of central importance.
CUGNY Laurent, 2001, The analysis of the work of jazz - theoretical and methodological specificities. Doctoral thesis. Paris: University of Paris 4.
HODEIR André, 1990 , The forms of music. Paris: Presses Universitaires de France (coll. “Que sais-je?” N ° 478).
SIRON Jacques, 2002, Dictionary of music words. Paris: Beyond Measure.
COLEMAN Omette, 1960, "Free Jazz." Atlantic, December 21, 1960.
COLTRANE John, 1961, “Live at the Village Vanguard”. Impulse! 1963 "Newport '63". Impulse!
DAVIS Miles, 1956, "Round Midnight." Columbia, September 10, 1956.
DAVIS Miles, 1959, "Kind of Blue." Columbia., 1960,0n Green Dolphin Street, Dragon, March 22, 1960.
DAVIS Miles & Gil EVANS, 1957a, "Miles Ahead." Columbia.
DAVIS Miles & Gil EVANS, 1957b, "My Ship." Columbia, May 10, 1957.
DAVIS Miles & Gil EVANS, 1958, “Porgy & Bess.” Columbia.
DAVIS Miles & Gil EVANS, 1960, “Sketches of Spain.” Columbia.
DAVIS Miles & Gil EVANS, 1962, "Quiet Nights." Columbia.
ELLINGTON Duke, 1956, "Diminuendo and Crescendo in Blue." Columbia, July 7, 1956.
ELLINGTON Duke, 1962, "Money Jungle." Blue Note.
ELLINGTON Duke & John COLTRANE, 1962, "Duke Ellington & John Coltrane." Impulse!
HODEIR André, 1966, “Anna Livia Plurabelle.”. Epic.
HODEIR André, 1971, “Bitter Endings.” Epic.
MINGUS Charles, 1959, "Fables of Faubus." Columbia, May 5, 1959.
PARKER Charlie, 1945, "Billie's Bounce,." Charlie Parker, Savoy, November 26, 1945.
RUSSELL George, 1956, "Concerto for Billy the Kid." RCA Victor, October 17, 1956.
1. A question arises with the following (although this form is much less common). Should it be considered as a form of composition or as a form of performance, that is to say pertaining to the level of the after? Where we find the more general problem already mentioned of the attribution of the forms observed at one or the other level.
2. This example allows us to point out in passing that we always tend to evaluate the form in terms of the two parameters melodic and harmonic. The AABA form thus consists of a first harmonized theme played twice, followed by a second harmonized theme before resuming the first. We often forget that form can also emerge in rhythmic and sound structures.
3. At least for most of his career, the 1970s perhaps belie this aspect of his musical personality.
4. Cocotte: “Guitar technique, popular in funk, which consists of repeating a very rhythmic riff by placing the right hand on the strings at the level of the bridge to muffle the sound” (Siron 2002: 66).
In its applications to the musical field, the notion of form is most often considered in its architectural aspect. But it seems that it can be in a continuity going from the particular to the general, as it moves away from this strict architectural definition to evolve towards wider contours. This text proposes to address these questions in the specific field of jazz, by first studying the architectural aspect (definition of a conceptual framework, then of the forms and structures encountered in jazz). Secondly, we try to identify other concepts that could fit into a more broadly defined formal paradigm.
LAURENT CUGNYLaurent Cugny is a jazz musician (arranger and pianist), former musical director of the National Jazz Orchestra (1994-1997). Holder of a doctorate in music and musicology from the University of Paris 4 (subject: "Analysis of the work of jazz - theoretical and methodological specificities," 2001), he is currently associate professor at Paris 4 and lecturer at the University of Reims-Champagne-Ardennes.