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Transcribing Al Grey: a legacy defined by thirteen improvisations

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The study of artist transcriptions is an effective vehicle for assimilating the language and style of jazz. Pairing transcriptions with historical context provides further insight into the back story of the artists' life and method. Innovators are often the subject

The study of artist transcriptions is an effective vehicle for assimilating the language and style of jazz. Pairing transcriptions with historical context provides further insight into the back story of the artists' life and method. Innovators are often the subject of published studies of this kind, but transcriptions of plunger-mute master Al Grey have been overlooked. This document fills that void, combining historical context with thirteen transcriptions of Grey's trombone features and improvisations. Selection of transcribed materials was based on an examination of historically significant solos in Al Grey's fifty-five-year career. The results are a series of open-horn and plunger solos that showcase Grey's sound, technical brilliance, and wide range of dynamics and articulation. This collection includes performances from a mix of widely available and obscure recordings, the majority coming from engagements with the Count Basie Orchestra. Methods learned from the study of Al Grey's book Plunger Techniques were vital in the realization of his work. The digital transcription software Amazing Slow Downer by Roni Music aided in deciphering some of Grey's more complicated passages and, with octave displacement, helped bring previously inaudible moments to the foreground.

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2011

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Learning in an online jazz history class

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This study examines the experiences of participants enrolled in an online community college jazz history course. I surveyed the participants before the course began and observed them in the online space through the duration of the course. Six students also

This study examines the experiences of participants enrolled in an online community college jazz history course. I surveyed the participants before the course began and observed them in the online space through the duration of the course. Six students also participated in interviews during and after the course. Coded data from the interviews, surveys, and recorded discussion posts and journal entries provided evidence about the nature of interaction and engagement in learning in an online environment. I looked for evidence either supporting or detracting from a democratic online learning environment, concentrating on the categories of student engagement, freedom of expression, and accessibility. The data suggested that the participants' behaviors in and abilities to navigate the online class were influenced by their pre-existing native media habits. Participants' reasons for enrolling in the online course, which included convenience and schedule flexibility, informed their actions and behaviors in the class. Analysis revealed that perceived positive student engagement did not contribute to a democratic learning environment but rather to an easy, convenient experience in the online class. Finally, the data indicated that participants' behaviors in their future lives would not be affected by the online class in that their learning experiences were not potent enough to alter or inform their behavior in society. As online classes gain popularity, the ability of these classes to provide meaningful learning experiences must be questioned. Students in this online jazz history class presented, at times, a façade of participation and community building but demonstrated a lack of sincerity and interest in the course. The learning environment supported accessibility and freedom of expression to an extent, but students' engagement with their peers was limited. Overall, this study found a need for more research into the quality of online classes as learning platforms that support democracy, student-to-student interaction, and community building.

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2011