Musical Review of Clarinet and Trumpet Solos in Classical Pieces

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Dippermouth Blues by King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band:

From 0 to 0:08 there is a quick intro of the piano and the trumpet. The trumpet has a legato which is the term for notes moving from fluidly and the piano is a staccato which is the term for notes are shortened and not as fluid. Then after the quick intro the ensemble comes together at 0:09 to 0:26 to do a collective improvisation. The instruments I can hear is the clarinet, piano, trombone and trumpet. There also seems to be other instruments (maybe the banjo and/or bass) but I cannot hear them defiantly. From 0:26 to 0:39 the ensemble continues to play but there seems to be a different tone with the clarinet playing a higher pitch and middle vibrato. From 0:39 to 1:10 the clarinet solo begins with ensemble playing in the background keeping the tempo. During this solo from 0:39 to 0:55 and then from 0:56 to 1:10 the ensemble is playing the is playing a staccato to keep the time and beat. This solo is a legato because the clarinet seems to be playing the notes conuntiously/smoothly. From 1:11 the ensemble is playing a syncopation which means there is a slight delay in the beat. From 1:11 to 1:26 the ensemble takes over and the clarinet slides back into the ensemble creating a transition. From 1:26 to 2:10 the trumpet solo comes in. This is where pitch blending as well as back-phrasing occurs from the trumpet. Pitch-bending as we learned in lessons of Armstrong is when the pitch of the note is changed just by a little but it results in a significant overall auditory change. Back-phrasing is also a method common by Armstrong in which there is a lag behind the beat. The ensemble as well as the trumpet seem to have more energy in that the volume of the piece increases and there is a lot faster of a tempo. Then from 2:10 to the end of the song the ensemble comes together again doing a collective improvisation. There is some vocals at 2:11 to 2:12 where it sounds like someone is saying “oh, play that thing!”

Sugar Foot Stomp by Benny Goodman

From 0 to 0:05 the ensemble is all playing on the same meter. Then from 0:05 to 0:20 the clarinet does a small solo in which the ensemble is playing in the background to keep the meter/beat. The clarinet is using the same pace as the intro as well as similar melody during its solo. At the end of this solo the clarinet does an ascending line and then the ensemble comes right back in and continues to play from 0:20 to 0:35. When the ensemble plays, it sounds very similar to the clarinet’s solo and almost like a call and response method. After the ensemble, the clarinet goes right into another solo. This is more of a crescendo because the clarinet seems to be playing at a lot higher pitch than the ensemble as well as a higher pitch than the previous solo. This solo lasts from 0:35 to 0:55. From 0:45 to 0:55 there is a transition in pitch of the clarinet and overall seems to be in a staccato because they are more broken up notes rather than smooth(legato) However during this solo, in the gaps of the notes the trumpet seems to fill in for 2 meters. Then the trumpet seems to go right into its solo with no transition except for a low chord played on the piano to fill in the brief gap at 0:55 (legato of the instruments?). From 0:55 the trumpet begins its solo with a motive which is when he plays a note and then a lower note then plays that original note and repeats this playing of normal note, low note, note four times. The trumpet then goes from playing a solo similar to the clarinets solo that also acts like a call and response. There is a clear call and response between the trumpet and the ensemble from 1:10 to 1:17. From 1:18 to 1:23 the call and response stops and the trumpet finishes its solo with what sounds like improvisation.

From 1:23 to 1:25 the ensemble comes in briefly to bring back the time or the pace of the piece. The trumpet then comes back in at 1:27 to 1:39 to do another solo in which he does a lot of pitch-bending and backphasing occurs. The trumpet player starts off the solo with long durations of his notes and then ends with staccato of short notes ending with a cadence. After the cadence, at 1:40 to 2:09 the clarinet comes in for another solo with what sounds like not the entire ensemble is playing in the background. During this solo, the clarinet is doing a solo improvisation with a high vibrato during its pitch-bending as well as long durations of notes. At 2:10 the rest of the ensemble joins and plays the same melody that was played earlier with some variation. The beginning of the solo they are all playing the same notes and all of a sudden at 2:20 you hear a couple of the instruments went to a higher pitch. At 2:24 there is a crescendo in the pitch and volume of the ensemble with what sounds like the clarinet is creating a vibrato and creating syncopation. From 2:39 to 2:45 there is a buildup to the end of the song done by the clarinet and maybe bass. The very end of the song ends with the trumpet playing one note acting like a cadence. Rhythm: I believe that both Dippermouth Blues as well as Sugar Foot Stomp contain syncopation at different points in solos. I believe that Sugar Foot Stomp has more swing to it and there is a bass sound in the background due to the time period the music took place in. Texture: The songs seem to have similar instruments with the exception of the walking bass in Sugar Foot Stomp that adds more swing to it. They both have solos of the clarinet and trumpet and take on similar methods (backphasing, vibratos, staccatos and pitch-bending). Dynamics and Tempo: The songs are both very similar in their fast-paced tempo as well as overall dynamics (sound and energy). I think the main difference in the two dynamics is the role of the ensemble during the clarinet and trumpet solos.

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Identify all the musical material (melodies, themes, riffs, etc.) from “Dippermouth Blues” that you also hear in “Sugar Foot Stomp.” What is similar and what is different about Goodman’s band’s presentation of this material compared with Oliver’s? Discuss instruments, context (what else is happening), texture, style, and anything else that feels relevant. Use timecodes, and be specific! (Hint: differences might include if something that was a solo in the one piece appears as an ensemble part in the other, if a melody has different accompaniment, if a theme is played in a very different style, or if only a fragment of the original material appears, and so on.) Dippermouth Blues and Sugar Foot Stomp are very similar to each other in many ways. First, they have the same instrumentalization of the trumpet, piano, clarinet, trombone, and drums with the exception of Sugar Foot Stomp having a walking bass. I believe that Dippermouth blues has a rougher timbre than Sugar Foot Stomp. I also believe that the ensemble plays more together in Dippermouth Blues than Sugar Foot Stomp which sounds like only a couple of instruements are playing in the background and not the entire ensemble.

I think both pieces have a very similar melody but the ensemble in Dippermouth Blues is more prevalent than Sugar Foot Stomp. The melodies in both pieces contain the trombone, trumpet and clarinet. They also have polyphonic textures and the ensemble keeps the rhythm and melody of the piece. I think the introductions in both pieces are very different in that Sugar Foot Stomp goes right into and ensemble and a collective improvisation(0-0:06) whereas Dippermouth Blues starts off with the trumpet playing a legato and the piano playing a staccato (0-0:08) which is more formal and eases into the ensemble. In both pieces the ensemble is mainly doing a collective improvisation. There is both back-phasing and pitch-bending in the solos of the trumpet, which is a method learned from Armstrong and was clearly influential on both pieces.

1:58-2:08 in Dippermouth Blues and 2:20-2:22 in Sugar Foot Stomp have similar riffs in the ensembles are playing the same three measures over and over again right after the trumpet solo. I think the solos are very different in each piece with Sugar Foot Stomp having increases in the duration of the trumpets notes and more defined and less improvisation. The trumpet solo in Dippermouth Blues has more twists in its rhythm and the harmony is more sporadic due to the defiant improvisation. A noticeable characteristic in Dippermouth Blues is the voice “oh play that thing!” from 2:11 to 2:12 right after the small riff of the ensemble whereas Sugar Foot Stomp does not have a voice. Both pieces have syncopation and swing to them. The pieces overall form seems to be quite different in the solos, the introductions and the meter but I do not know how to specify what type of meter it is. However, I wrote about the form in the extra credit.

The trumpet solo in “Dippermouth Blues” by King Oliver’s Creole Band consisted of more solo improvisation whereas In Sugar Foot Stomp by Benny Goodman, the trumpet solos seems to be more written and not as improvised. The style in Dippermouth Blues of the trumpet was more blusey with Armstrong playing the trumpet compared to Sugar Foot Stomp which was more focused on the clarinet solos and the trumpet solos were more concrete. Both of the pieces had trumpet solos where pitch-bending and back phasing occurred. Overall, Dippermouth Blues had more trumpet solo time than Sugar Foot Stomp. In Sugar Foot Stomp, the trumpet does a call and response method with the clarinet and then with the ensemble and Dippermouth Blues does not. Dippermouth Blues has the trumpet playing more of a legato style(especially in the intro) compared to Sugar Foot Stomp I think there is a more fluid playing of the trumpet with a staccato style. I think the melody of both pieces is similar in both solos and the trumpet plays a significant role in maintaining the melody while doing improvisation with Dippermouth Blues. I believe that the call and response method as well as the trumpet playing in the background of the clarinet solos is what makes the trumpet so important in Sugar Foot Stomp in maintaining the melody. In addition, there was a lot of repetitiveness in Sugar Foot Stomp of the melody from the ensemble, trumpet, and clarinet. King Oliver’s band recorded “Dippermouth Blues” in 1923 and Benny Goodman’s band recorded “Sugar Foot Stomp” in 1937. While they share a tune, they are very different pieces of music. Contextualize each piece’s style within the musical and historical developments we’ve discussed this semester. What broader changes in jazz account for the substantial differences between these two recordings?

Dippermouth Blues was recorded in 1923 and thus was the Age of the “Great Migration” where jazz had just moved to New York and Chicago. This was also known as the Dance Age so there was incentive to create music for people to dance to as well as a time where songs were played in 32 bars. Because this was also the prohibition period, a lot of the jazz turned into a dancing culture and a part of the nightlife. The jazz was meant to appeal to the crowd. Not only that but this was when the radio, movies, and recordings came out and thus there was incentive to get a hit and become famous. I think because the radio and recordings were so new, the recording or timbre is rougher and not as high quality in Dippermouth Blues. I also believe that the possibility for fame as well as it being the dance era inspired King Oliver to compose the piece as a fast-paced tempo. This was also the era where improvisation really took off due to Armstrong and thus I believe this influenced the continuous improvisation throughout Dippermouth Blues. The improvisation, the dance and nightlife culture as well as the radio and new recordings I believe heavily influenced the way Dippermouth Blues sounds.

Sugar Foot Stomp by Benny Goodman was recorded in 1937 where the prohibition era had ended and the Great Depression had started. This is where fame was really important because musicians needed a crowd to make money. I believe that this piece also was influenced by the radio, recordings, as well as becoming famous nationwide because of the issue of money in this period as well as it being the period of adolescent listeners. Benny Goodman had his own radio called “Let’s Dance” which suggests that he had the intentions of becoming famous and pleasing the people nationwide. The 1930s was known as the Swing era where jazz was at its peak in being the most popular genre. In addition, Benny Goodman was known as one of the best clarinet players of his time also known as the “King of Swing.” The clarinet is played often throughout this piece with multiple solos which shows the emphasis Goodman put on his solos. The Swing Era, (especially Goodman) really emphasized the national recognition and popularity. I believe song is projected to be a little more upbeat and with the clarinet taking on most of the improvisation and the trumpet staying safer (opposite of Dippermouth Blues). I believe this is the case because Benny Goodman had a different set of skills being more focus on the clarinet compared to Dippermouth Blues by King Oliver and the Creoles which had Armstrong play the trumpet. In addition, there was a shift from the tuba and more towards the style of the walking bass which focuses more on interplay and overall smoothness of the piece. In addition, Benny Goodman was raised as an orchestral musician, his clarinet playing is more defined and the improvisation is smoother and more classical sounding. He was known for his intonation and lyrical phrasing which also contributes significantly to the clarinet solos.

Extra Credit:

Each of the pieces are very similar in their overall structures however there is a difference in their solos. The solo in Sugar Foot Stomp by Benny Goodman features a clarinet solo in 0:45 to 0:55 and then the trumpet goes right into its solo from the clarinet solo with no transition (from time 0:55 to 1:39). From that solo, the clarinet comes right back in for another solo with no transition (1:39-2:10). The solos in Sugar Foot Stomp of the clarinet to trumpet to clarinet do not have any transitions but instead the instruments just pick up exactly where the other solo left off and the ensemble does not create a transition. Dippermouth Blues by King Oliver’s Creole Band also has the structure of a clarinet solo and trumpet solo however there is more of a transition in the solos. The first solo is a clarinet solo from 0:39 to 1:10 and then the ensemble comes in and the clarinet blends in more with the ensemble. This is a transition from 1:11 to 1:26 and then the trumpet smoothly comes in with the ensemble playing and does its solo from 1:27 to about 2:10. I also think there is a difference in how Dippermouth Blues has a more defiant ensemble in the solos compared to Sugar Foot Stomp that is more focused on the specific instrument (clarinet or trumpet) solos and less on the ensemble although this could potentially be a difference in the recording quality.

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