Science Shows That Jazz Musicians Have Their Own Individual Music Vocabulary

For 5 months, jazz musician Kevin Bales recorded all of the notes he performed on his keyboard at eleven completely different reside gigs. The recordings weren’t for an album, however for a scientific research into jazz improvisation. Music researchers in contrast Bales’ recordings to that of different jazz pianists and found that regardless that many musicians use fairly comparable patterns once they improvise, every jazz musician has their very own distinctive music vocabulary.

When jazz musicians improvise, they usually use “licks” – patterns of notes that assist them transfer from one a part of the music to a different. These licks may be memorized and music academics will normally reveal just a few to get their college students going, however skilled jazz musicians appear to do rather more than combining the usual licks. Music researchers have tried to determine what precisely is occurring there: do jazz musicians be taught a set of intuitive guidelines about what they’ll and can’t play, or have they every constructed up their very own set of private licks to attract from?

To seek out out, Martin Norgaard from Georgia State College teamed up with colleagues in Aarhus, Denmark in a analysis research that was just lately printed within the journal Cognition. They took the MIDI recordings from Kevin Bales’ performances and analyzed each notice within the context of a 5 notice sample. (So the primary 5 notes could be one sample and notes 2-6 one other, regardless that they’ve overlapping notes.) For every notice additionally they thought-about the period and the drive with which it was performed (to symbolize the rhythm of the patterns) and that approach they had been in a position to do a computational evaluation of all of the 1000’s of notes to search out out which licks occurred repeatedly all through the performances.

After evaluating the patterns from Bales’ recordings with these of different musicians, the researchers discovered that Bales’ licks had been constant in timing and drive each time he performed them, however sounded completely different from comparable licks performed by different musicians. That means that every musician has their particular person approach of constructing certain that the licks sound the identical each time. In different phrases, they’ve created their very own musical vocabulary.

Norgaard informed Aarhus College “It’s fascinating that knowledgeable jazz musicians retailer linked audio and motor representations within the mind – that’s each the sound of licks and details about the way to play them.” He additionally utilized his analysis findings to his personal expertise: “As a jazz violinist myself, I usually hear licks I wish to play whereas improvising however the motor illustration just isn’t full so the lick doesn’t come out proper. Primarily based on our analysis, that ought to occur much less as experience develops.”

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