Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Music


School of Music

First Advisor

Dr. Samantha Inman

Second Advisor

Dr. Stephen Lias

Third Advisor

Dr. Deb Scott

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Mario Morera


This thesis compares traditional and modern jazz improvisation through analysis. These analyses discuss various musical techniques and ideas specific to each differing era. The case studies focus on three traditional jazz standards: "Autumn Leaves," "Someday My Prince Will Come," and "Cantaloupe Island." Two solo transcriptions (one traditional and one modern) represent each tune, including performances by Bill Evans, Miles Davis, Paul Desmond, Herbie Hancock, Yohan Kim, and Cory Henry. The older transcriptions showcase classic chord-scale relations, diatonic chord harmony, consistent rhythms with spacious phrasing, and recalled material. The newer transcriptions consist more of dense harmony, scales independent from the composed material, unpredictable, complex rhythms, and continuous new material. Note-worthy discussion points will include arpeggiation, chord-scale and modal theory, reharmonization in chord substitution, and varying rhythm in phrasing.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Included in

Music Theory Commons



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