Toward a compositional paradigm based on post-tonality, jazz, and counterpoint
Sterrs, Tamika Sakayi
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There is a neglected body of musical works which engage post-tonality, jazz, and counterpoint. The sharing in common of a modernist aesthetic, a propensity for mutual borrowing, and a concern for the reinterpretation of Baroque counterpoint; creates a unique bond between these post-tonal and jazz musicians as well as the styles they represent. With Alcedo Coenen's theory of compositional paradigms as a point of departure, this study proposes the existence of a compositional paradigm defined by a mutual borrowing between post-tonal music and jazz that is accompanied by the employment of contrapuntal processes. Among the composers selected for this study are: Darius Milhaud, Alban Berg, Paul Hindemith, Igor Stravinsky, Bela Bartok, William Bolcom, George Gershwin, Bud Powell, Miles Davis, John Lewis, Dave Brubeck, and Jacques Loussier. Not only do these composers write works in this vein, many share significant collaborative and pedagogical relationships that further illuminate the stylistic commonalities and creative exchange. Within this paradigm which engages post-tonality, jazz, and counterpoint, the following is observed: a compatibility between post-tonal and jazz vocabularies, innovative uses of parameters, revisions of style, revisions of form, borrowing, recompositions, and various stages of counterpoint. Taking a cue from J. P. Burkholder's theory of musical borrowing, a taxonomy is assembled to give structure to the stylistic heterogeneity. The taxonomic classification focuses on the global connections of form, style, and signs. The representative works of post-tonal and jazz composers belonging to this paradigm are organized into the following taxons according to share characteristics: misreadings of the fugue, hybrid dance forms, misreadings of style, and misreadings of jazz harmony.