As a combination of multiculturalism, jazz music represents an open mind, recognition and tolerance behind it, and the fusion of multiple elements is the greatest charm of jazz music. Gershwin’s “Three Preludes” is a fusion of classical and jazz elements, integrating popular music, folk music and serious music. The entry point shows the use of classical and jazz elements in Gershwin’s “Three Preludes”, and explores its multicultural characteristics from the perspective of music itself.
1. Classical elements
(1) Serious music genre
Prelude This genre ranges from Bach’s 24 Preludes and Fugues to Chopin’s 24 Piano Preludes, and then to Debussy’s Preludes with titles, All reflect the maturity of this musical genre in its development stage.
The genre of prelude has many creation situations, one is to undertake the function of introduction; the other is to inherit the two-movement structural form of the combination of prelude and fugue in the Baroque period ; the third is to be a piano piece independent of the music, The “Three Preludes” created by Gershwin is the third case.
The prelude itself is small in size, because of its “introduction” characteristics, it can be compatible with a variety of music forms, and is inherently integrated. For example, the “Three Preludes” studied in this paper integrates jazz music materials. Accompanied by improvisation, complete structure and freedom, the prelude in piano sketch style is particularly distinctive.
(2) Traditional modal structure
Gershwin “Three Preludes” are all created on the basis of the major and minor scale system, and they follow the functional characteristics of the dominant, dominant and subordinate chords of the mode. The three tones of tonic, subdominant and dominant have a skeleton meaning in the mode. In the “Three Preludes”, this representative feature has not changed.
The blues scale, the medieval mode and the traditional major and minor modes jointly construct the modal framework of jazz. The traditional modal scales commonly used in jazz include major scale (Ionian mode), Dorian mode, Phrygian mode, Lydian mode, Mick Solydian mode, diatonic minor scale (Aiolian mode), Lochlia mode, jazz melodic minor scale, harmonic minor scale, blues scale, auxiliary blues scale, diminished chord scale, diatonic scale, pentatonic scale ten Four kinds. In the genre of preludes, the common writing method of the medieval mode and the traditional major and minor scales also includes Shostakovich’s “24 Preludes and Fugues”, in which the 16th fugue also uses the thirty-second note To express a sense of vacillation . In Gershwin’s “Three Preludes”, the Dorian scale in the medieval mode is also used, namely b III, b V, and b VII.
(3) Traditional functional harmony
”Three Preludes” has obvious creative means of writing in functional groups, and these are the embodiment of classical harmony usage. For example, the phrase A in the first prelude (sections 9-11 )’s harmony frame is the harmony function of T—D—TSVI—D. The three preludes are all music in the form of the main tone, and there are a large number of writing methods based on the tonic of the scale in the music, which obviously uses the creation method of the tonic.
The first song as a whole maintains a relatively classical harmony sequence, such as the progression from the main to the dominant, and the progression from the subordinate to the dominant chord. Section A basically maintains the writing method of the main tone of the mode. Except for a few bars, the main tone of the mode runs through section A, and section B (sections 16-18) also has the main tone of the bass that changes with the change of the key. Sustained sound, repeated section A’ (section 50-52 bars) is the same as above.
In the second song, the introduction and the a and a’ sentences in the bass part of Section A (Section 5-16), the bass part is played around the main tone E in the form of semitone progression, which is actually another form of main harmony continued. This kind of technique often appears in similar forms in the music, so it can also be regarded as a kind of material penetration, and the reproduction part A’ is the same as above.
In the third song, in the introduction, section A (sections 5-12) and section B (sections 13-20), the whole section maintains the low-voice main continuation technique, while in section A’, the a” sentence and a”’ sentence (Section 21-25), the relevant use appears again in the A” paragraph after an interlude.
2. Elements of jazz
(1) The influence of dance factors.
In 1923, New York began to show the musical “Negro Style”, which made Charleston dance popular in ballrooms and other places, and became the first “worldwide dance trend”. The United States after the turbulent era is full of indulgent and dazzling era background, and also gave birth to the unrestrained, swinging and gorgeous characteristics of Charleston dance, which is also the fertile soil for the development of jazz music. It can be said that Gershwin’s first and third preludes were all influenced by the Charleston dance to a certain extent.
Quick-step swing dances like the Charleston dance are built on 2/4 time and dance in a light and dynamic style. Due to the “swing” characteristic of Charleston dance, in order to match the dancers, the accompaniment often has a clear rhythm and accent, and a strong sense of impromptu humor. The first and third of Gershwin’s “Three Preludes” are both in 2/4 time.
The first prelude takes the first two measures as the core material for development, the long span and infinitely extended marks constitute a unique rhythm, and the last four measures are the accompaniment of the prelude. In the 3rd to 6th bars, the left hand uses chord accents to emphasize and change the interval span back and forth, bringing a sense of “swing” rhythm.
The third song is more witty and lively than the first song, the feeling of swing is more frequent, the accent is more and more obvious, the beating of the eighth note of the left hand brings sustainable impetus to the track, and the occasional syncopated rhythm is tight Lively.
(2) Boogiewoogie factors influence
BoogieWoogie, which was developed by African-Americans in 1870 and was not popular in Chicago until 1920. It is mainly played by the piano and is based on the music style of blues. The style of blues is mostly composed of 12 small structures. , and sing in a loop repeatedly, every four bars count as a phrase, a total of three phrases.
BoogieWoogie’s left hand is a typical bass mode, and the right hand can be simply divided into four categories: Counterrhythms, jumping chords that give rhythmic rhythm; Dstinato, short repeated scales that run back and forth quickly; Short phrases with chords combined with repetition; Melodies (melody performance), with a wide range of tones, mainly scale-style ascending or descending performances.
In Gershwin’s “Three Preludes”, boogie woogie is integrated with fragmented and fragmented elements. In the first prelude, bars 38-39 show a typical fast running back and forth.
In the second prelude, although the overall style is not as lively and cheerful as BoogieWoogie, it absorbs changes. The playing method is broad and thick, and the walkingbass in the left hand turns into a melody: Example 3 Prelude
II, bars 31-33
(3) Influence of Ragtime Rhythm Elements
Ragtime is characterized by obvious syncopated rhythm, and its popularity was at the end of the 19th century. There is no improvisation in ragtime, just playing according to the score, but its irregular playing style has a profound influence on piano jazz.
The characteristic of ragtime is that the root note and chords of the left hand are played alternately, and the root note is a melody line. The difficulty of playing is mainly reflected in the large-span performance of the left hand; Forehand, it will also appear in reverse, let’s compare Scott Joplin’s “Maple Leaf Ragtime” with Gershwin’s “Three Preludes”:
Example 4 Scott Joplin’s ” Maple Leaf Ragtime
Spectrum example 5 Gershwin’s “Three Preludes” II
It can be seen from the figure that the basic unit of “Maple Leaf Ragtime” is the eighth note, and the right hand is the standard syncopated rhythm. In addition to syncopated rhythm, they are based on similar ragtime rhythm patterns, and each uses this as the core to build the melody trend. It can be seen that the second prelude is influenced by ragtime style.
3. The fusion of classical and jazz
Gershwin creation of “Three Preludes” still follows the structure of classical music; To proceed. It can be said that the three preludes use the specifications of the prelude and the core of jazz, achieving a perfect fusion of serious music and pop music materials.
(1) Integration of musical form and structure
In 1924, “Rhapsody in Blue” made jazz music accepted by more people. Since then, Gershwin has carried out detailed research on orchestral composition techniques, musical form knowledge, and counterpoint techniques. Study, and created the string quartet “Lullaby”. The rich experience accumulated by Gershwin in the creation of serious music works is demonstrated in “Three Preludes”.
In the 15th and 16th centuries, preludes were improvisational pieces that provided performers with free fingers or trial instruments. It was not until the 17th century that the prelude gradually became a small-scale instrumental piece with the function of introduction. Until the period of impressionism, the music materials of the prelude showed the description of instant impressions and the flash of short musical ideas, and Gershwin’s prelude was also a reflection of the Repetition of short music ideas. In the first song of “Three Preludes”, Gershwin used the first two bars as the core melody material for the development of the whole piece, and the last four bars are the accompaniment in the form of the prelude. The unique rhythm represents With the swinging style of jazz music, it established the tone of the whole song.
(2) The fusion of jazz harmony
The first piece is a reproduction of a single trilogy:
The second song is a reproduction of a single trilogy:
The third piece is in the form of a rondo, in the form of alternating sixteenth and eighth notes, which establishes the lively musical image of the piece:
The creation of the second piece incorporates blues style music into it. The blues-style musical form is composed of 12 small structures, which are played repeatedly in a loop. Every four measures counts as a phrase, and there are three phrases in total.
Referring to the blues tone, Gershwin uses specific chords to set off the unique style of jazz, and can rely on the rich style of changing chords, most of which are major seventh chords, major and minor seventh chords, and ninth chords. Gershwin will These elements are used in melody and harmony. In the first song, the b
A of the melody in the 8th measure is the flat VII tone of the b B major, and the 7th and 8th measures, as the core theme of the music, appear many times in the whole piece. And the chord in this measure is the b Bmaj7 chord. Spectrum example 6
The b C of the melody in the 20th bar is the flat Ⅶ level of b D major. This bar is used as a transition, and the music in the next bar enters the key of C major. The b E of the melody in the 25th bar is the flat III level of C major, and the b B tone followed by this bar in the next bar is the flat VII level of the mode. The chord is a lowered third or seventh C7 chord. The F in the upper part melody of the 33rd bar is the III level of D major, while the b A in the lower part is the VII level tone of the mode, which is the b A7 chord. In the second song, the 11th bar of the b
sentence of section A is the flat III tone of ‘F key, and the restored E in the 12th and 13th bars is the flat VII tone of the mode, which is the A7 chord of the fifth tone. Spectrum example 7
The reduction E used in the sentence of A’segment c’ is the flattened iii tone in the ‘c minor, which is A7 of the flattened fifth tone. The restored A in the 32nd bar of section B is the flat III tone in the key of #F, and the chord is b A9, and the restored E in the 34th and 38th bars is the flat VII level in the mode, which is the b A9 chord. The reduced A in bar 39 is III flat, the reduced E in bar 54 in the A” section is iii in #c minor.
In the third song, the main blues tone is the level VII tone of the lowered mode, which is changed to the level VII in this piece. Whether it is the melody of sentence a and sentence a’ in section A of the main part (sections 6-8, 10-12), or the melody of sentence b and sentence b’ in section B of the interlude (sections 13-14, 17-18 section). In these two passages, the blues tone appears with the restored C as the sharp sixth tone of be minor, and with the restored G as the flat III tone of the mode, which is the Cmin7 chord of the seventh tone.
When connecting, the #C in the melody of the 46th to 48th bars is the sixth grade of be minor. The reduced C in the melody at the 57th bar is the sixth-level tone of the mode.
Example 8, bars 46-48
Although the three preludes did not break away from the traditional European music structure, they integrated jazz music materials into the creation of serious music, making piano jazz more widely accessible.