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GCSE Music Analysis - Miles Davis - All Blues
All Blues General Points
- Comes from the album 'Kind of Blue'
- The band is a 'sextet' consisting of a front line and a rhythm section.
- The album was recording with next to no rehearsal and the musicians have no score, they were told only the following things: Structure, basic chord sequence, main melodic idea and which mode or scale to improvise on.
The band consists of 2 different sections, the front line and the rhythm section.
In the front line there is:
- Miles Davis on trumpet.
- Julian Adderly on the alto sax.
- John Coltrane on the tenor sax.
In the rhythm section there is:
- Bill Evans on on piano.
- Paul Chambers on bass.
- Jimmy Cobb on the drums.
- 'All Blues' is based on a 12 bar blues progression.
- The main melody is called the head and is played by the trumpet and is heard at the start and end of the piece.
- The head melody is quite simple and is characterized by a rising 6th (from D to B). The head is then followed by 4 solos.
- Trumpet: Lasts for four choruses and is made up of short syncopated motifs.
- Alto Sax: Lasts for four choruses and uses quicker notes and a wider range than the trumpet.
- Tenor Sax: Lasts for four choruses and uses fast scales and quick runs. It's very virtuosic.
- Piano: Lasts for 2 choruses. This is a much calmer improvisation that the others with a simple melody and a string of parallel chords.
Harmony and Tonality
- The piece is in G Major but has a flattened 7th (a blue note). To play this scale you would go from G - G on the piano, using all the white notes.
- This is the same as being in the mixolydian mode and so this is why we can describe this piece as being an example of modal jazz.
Rhythm, Metre and Tempo
- The score is notated in 6/4.
- The tempo is described as 'Jazz Waltz' as the 6/4 can be divided into two sets of 3/4 per bar.
- The piece is performed with swinging quavers.
- There is frequent use of syncopation.