Dave Brubeck's Compositions Analysis

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Polymodality in Dave Brubeck’s Compositions After returning from the army service in 1946, David Warren Brubeck (1920-2012) enrolled to study with Darius Milhaud (who he met before enlistment) at Mills College in Oakland, California. Through Milhaud, Brubeck became involved with polyrhythms and polymodality, and they developed a relation of friendship until Milhaud’s death in 1974. Brubeck emerged as one of the most significant figures in West Coast jazz of the 1950s and beyond. Deborah Mawer states, “Brubeck returned to California for more academic study, ‘determined to get his still-evolving, polytonal, polyrhythm but not-bop music accepted in the jazz community and to make it a part of the American musical mainstream’.” Brubeck experimented with polymodality in improvisation and composition, “Paul Desmond remembered that Brubeck had confounded him on their first meeting by asking to…show more content…
Polymodal Blues is presented by Oláh as an homage to Béla Bartók, which explains the way he uses this technique. Figure 1.18 shows measures 1-8 of the piece, where Oláh changes from F Ionian to F Phrygian horizontally, and polymodality occurs contrapuntally when an answer in the form of a canon appears in the lower voice. The phrase ends with a segment of the melody in octaves, before being transposed to Bb for measure 5 of the F blues form. As seen in the examples by Bach, Bartók, Brubeck, Hindemith, Milhaud, Oláh, Persichetti, Russell and Stravinsky, polymodality happens in a wide variety of ways. It is no wonder then that a consensus cannot be reached on the definition and scope of polymodality. It is clear that each composer focuses polymodality according to his own experience, ideas, perceptions and even taste. The result is that sometimes they draw lines somewhere in grey areas difficult to

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