Identification and analysis of Wes Montgomery’s solo phrases used in ‘West Coast Blues’

The thesis investigates Wes Montgomery’s improvisational style, with the aim of uncovering the inner workings of Montgomery’s improvisational process, specifically his sequencing and placement? of? musical? elements? on? a? phrase? by? phrase basis.? The? material? chosen? for? this project is Montgomery’s composition ‘West Coast Blues’, a tune that employs 3/4 meter and a variety of chordal backgrounds and moving key centers, and which is historically regarded as a breakthrough recording for modern jazz guitar.
The? thesis? reports? on? an? analysis? of? Montgomery’s? 4 single? note? choruses? of? ‘West? Coast Blues’,? covering? the? three? categories? of? Harmonic? Elements,? Melody,? and? Rhythmic Diversions. The solo is transcribed from the recording and divided into phrases, which are then? examined? for? harmonic? elements,? element? sequences? and? structural? or? form? devices. Harmonic? elements? are? identified? into? chordal? and? scalar? categories,? and? Montgomery’s rhythmic elements are identified and catalogued. Melodic investigation analyses each phrase according to three categories and these are compared throughout the solo. Montgomery’s use of rhythmic diversions, or instances when the predominant eighth note subdivision is not in effect,? are? identified? and? cataloged.? Finally? structural? devices? such? as? phrase? length? are examined, whereby phrases are compared to the harmonic background for beat placement.

Joshua Hindmarsh????

Identification and analysis of Wes Montgomery’s solo phrases used in ‘West Coast Blues’

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