Musical Narratives in the Bebop Vernacular: The Melodic Transplant Experiment
Wilkinson, Jonathan Michael
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Stories and/or narratives have been an integral part of jazz from its inception. The way in which these narratives appear within the bebop vernacular can be seen from a number of different vantage points. This paper considers why bebop has elements of story and/or narrative linking to various branches of linguistics; how the harmonic patterns being used for an improvisation may be a determining factor for these narratives; and how the melodic content that drives the narrative relies less on formulaic/thematic material and more on the harmonic patterns from where such material is derived. In order to explicate how this harmonic narrative exists in a bebop improvisation I have developed a tool, that is both conceptual and technical in nature. This tool, the harmonic narrative model, was employed in the melodic transplant experiment to determine the impact of the harmonic patterns being used for improvisations in the bebop style and to what extent these patterns may contribute to the narrative. This is a study of the ephemerality of pitch specificity comprising a melodic idea within the bebop vernacular.