The Harmony of Debussy in Contemporary Jazz
Phillips, Brigham Carlyle
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Claude Debussy and other late 19th-century composers (especially Maurice Ravel) introduced several new harmonic innovations that have since become standard tools of the jazz composer/arranger/improviser, among them the rich harmonies of chromatically altered chords as well as the use of the whole tone, pentatonic and octatonic scales. This thesis presents an original composition The Stanley Bridge Suite that demonstrates how these harmonic concepts are used in modern orchestral jazz. A brief history of impressionism is included, followed by a chapter showing the increasing prevalence of impressionist harmony in jazz over the years. Because The Stanley Bridge Suite was arranged for an orchestral jazz ensemble the makeup of the modern jazz orchestra is also discussed. The final chapter analyzes the thesis composition in detail, showing where and how the various Debussy techniques were incorporated in the work.