Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation


Mark Turner as a Model for Internalizing Upper-Structure Triads: How to Create Practical Etudes from Transcribed Phrases Public Deposited

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  • In jazz literature, there are a multitude of educational books that deal with the musical application of upper-structure triads. These books have emerged and remained in circulation because the triadic language of upper extensions is an
    essential element in the harmonic and melodic language of modern jazz. Many of the instructional books on the market provide exercises and patterns which enable the student to become familiar with these structures in a methodical and technical way. I believe that these books can be highly valuable to the serious jazz student. I also maintain that such studies will have an even greater effect on the student if they are supplemented with etudes that place this triadic language in the context of a chord progression, in which the triads can be applied in a musical way. Perhaps, one might simply compose an etude on a standard song using the triads which they have studied. This could be a highly productive exercise.

    I posit that it may be a more organic learning process to make etudes out of actual musical phrases which have been transcribed from a modern jazz great. In this way, one is taking an actual musical application of an upper-structure triad andworking with it as a motive in a methodical way to learn how to internalize it and make it available in their improvising. The fact that the student has heard this triad in a real musical situation strengthens its relevance to him or her, even when it is
    then used as a motive in an etude. In this paper, I demonstrate a way in which one could do this through using Mark Turner as a model. I have taken recorded phrases in which Turner has used an upper structure triad, and then made etudes out of these short phrases. I will explain in detail the process and musical decisions I have made in the composition of etudes that were designed to help the student become familiar with the langauge of upper-structure triads as used by Mark Turner.

    I in no way claim that I am the first to create etudes in this manner. In "A Practical Approach to Jazz Improvisation: The David Hazeltine Method (Creating Jazz Etudes Based on Transcription)", jazz pianist and educator Dr. Ben Markley
    displays a similar method (Markley). The main difference between Markley's book and what I present here is largely found in the narrowness of my scope. I am dealing very precisely with upper-structure triads, as well as singularly on the music of
    Mark Turner. As a result, I present here the treatment of a relatively specific element of the jazz language. Also, as I am dealing solely with Mark Turner, this may serve as a brief introfuction to his style and melodic conception.

Date Issued
  • 2017-05-08
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Last Modified
  • 2020-02-19
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