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BALANCING COMPOSITION AND IMPROVISATION IN JAMES P. JOHNSON'S "CAROLINA SHOUT"

BALANCING COMPOSITION AND IMPROVISATION IN JAMES P. JOHNSON'S "CAROLINA SHOUT" Table 1. Stride Piano Style What stride takes from ragtime •  “March” bass with low octaves alternating with midrange chords •    6-bar sections called “strains,” usually three or four to a rag, built duply  1 from two-bar units •    ccasional interludes (usually 4 bars), often introducing new strains O •  Modulation (often to the subdominant) at the “trio”  What stride adds to ragtime •  Faster tempo and harmonic rhythm •  “Tricks” (flashy techniques) •  Non-doubled notes and occasional tenths in the bass  •  Bluesier “crush” tones •  “Shouts” (shorter ideas probably derived from the ring-shout)  •  More linear melodies with less syncopated ragtime “pivoting”  •  Introduction of “backbeats” or “change-steps” in the bass the blues, and the ring shout. From the blues, stride took blue notes (or bent tones) and used note clusters to approximate them. From solo piano ragtime,2 stride took formal structures and basic harmonic and textural elements. From the ring shout, a dance of African origin (see Stuckey 1987), stride took its exciting affect, call-and-response formulas, short melodic patterns, and “groove.” These and other relationships between ragtime and stride are summarized in Table 1.3 The fusion of these three genres created a form characterized by Brown as consisting of “short, repeated refrains.” Brown also notes that these short refrains are subject to “variations” often based on “patterns” (1986, 21). His use of the words “variations” and “patterns” is significant, as we shall see. The Thematic Block I begin by proposing a simple method of evaluating a formal section, or strain, of a stride work. Strains are sixteen bars long, usually having an extremely http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Music Theory Duke University Press

BALANCING COMPOSITION AND IMPROVISATION IN JAMES P. JOHNSON'S "CAROLINA SHOUT"

Journal of Music Theory , Volume 49 (2) – Jan 1, 2005

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Publisher
Duke University Press
Copyright
Copyright 2005 by Yale University
ISSN
0022-2909
eISSN
1941-7497
DOI
10.1215/00222909-009
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Table 1. Stride Piano Style What stride takes from ragtime •  “March” bass with low octaves alternating with midrange chords •    6-bar sections called “strains,” usually three or four to a rag, built duply  1 from two-bar units •    ccasional interludes (usually 4 bars), often introducing new strains O •  Modulation (often to the subdominant) at the “trio”  What stride adds to ragtime •  Faster tempo and harmonic rhythm •  “Tricks” (flashy techniques) •  Non-doubled notes and occasional tenths in the bass  •  Bluesier “crush” tones •  “Shouts” (shorter ideas probably derived from the ring-shout)  •  More linear melodies with less syncopated ragtime “pivoting”  •  Introduction of “backbeats” or “change-steps” in the bass the blues, and the ring shout. From the blues, stride took blue notes (or bent tones) and used note clusters to approximate them. From solo piano ragtime,2 stride took formal structures and basic harmonic and textural elements. From the ring shout, a dance of African origin (see Stuckey 1987), stride took its exciting affect, call-and-response formulas, short melodic patterns, and “groove.” These and other relationships between ragtime and stride are summarized in Table 1.3 The fusion of these three genres created a form characterized by Brown as consisting of “short, repeated refrains.” Brown also notes that these short refrains are subject to “variations” often based on “patterns” (1986, 21). His use of the words “variations” and “patterns” is significant, as we shall see. The Thematic Block I begin by proposing a simple method of evaluating a formal section, or strain, of a stride work. Strains are sixteen bars long, usually having an extremely

Journal

Journal of Music TheoryDuke University Press

Published: Jan 1, 2005

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