DISSERTATIONS AND OTHER SCHOLARLY
- The Bix
Beiderbecke Story: The Jazz Musician in Legend, Fiction, and Fact. A Study of
the Images of Jazz in the National Culture: 1930-the Present.A Thesis
Submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Minnesota
by John Paul Perhonis In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements of the Degree
of Doctor of Philosophy, March 1978. 207 plus vii
pages. The thesis consists of three parts.
This is an
excellent contribution to understanding Bix - the man, the musician - and what
historians and music critics wrote about him. The work is meticulously
researched and documented.
- Part I. Bix Beiderbecke: The Jazz Musician as Romantic
- Part II. From Romantic Artist to Artist-Craftsman and Tough
Artist-Hero: The Jazz Musician in Popular Writings during the
- Part III. From Romantic Legend and Literary Art to Critical
Evaluation: The Jazz Musician in the Critical
- An Analytic
Study of Jazz Improvisation with Suggestions for
Submitted by Dennis L. Moorman in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for
the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the School of Education, Health,
Nursing, and Arts Professions of New York University, 1984. 175 plus vi pages.
The author states "The purpose of the study was
to analyze selected jazz improvisation compositions in order to make specific
recommendations for improvisational performance". The author selects 25
jazz improvisations. Four are from the 1920's, the remaining 21 span the years
from 1939 to 1978. The first selection is Bix's 1924 rendition of
Riverboat Shuffle. The author provides an in-depth, technical
analysis of Bix's solo utilizing Gunter Schuller's transcription in his book
"Early Jazz", New York: Oxford University Press, 1968, page
- A Study of
the Exchange of Influences Between the Music of Early Twentieth-Century
Parisian Composers and Ragtime, Blues, and Early Jazz.A treatise by Geoffrey Jennings Haydon Presented
to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Texas at Austin in
Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Musical
Arts, August 1992. 173 plus vii pages. In a
systematic and convincing manner, the author develops the thesis that jazz
influenced French musical impressionism and vice versa. The French
composers are Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, and Darius Milhaud. The American
composers are George Gershwin and Bix Beiderbecke. A detailed analysis of
Bix's In A Mist is provided.
l'impressionism dans le jazz: Un etude de l'influence du langage musical
francais du debut du siecle sur les musiciens de jazz americains, de Bix
Beiderbecke a Bill Evans. (Impressionism in Jazz: A Study of the Influence of
the French Musical Idiom at the Beginning of the Century on American Jazz
Musicians, from Bix Beiderbecke to Bill Evans). Maitrise, Universite de Paris IV (Paris Sorbonne),
1993 by Philippe Fourquet. (Master's Thesis). I have not been
able to obtain a copy of this thesis, but clearly it develops one of the
themes in Haydon's treatise (previous entry), namely the influence of French
impressionist musicians (Debussy, in particular) on Bix's piano
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Beiderbecke: Analisi di un itinerario musicale. (Bix Beiderbecke: Analysis of
a Musical Itinerary).Tesi
di Laurea (M. S. Thesis), Universita Degli Studi di Roma "La Sapienza",
1996-1997 by Stefano Cataldi. 158 pages plus complete discography, filmography
and extensive bibliography. The thesis
consists of four chapters.
The first chapter consists of a brief historical
outline of the development of the Afro-American music. The second chapter
provides a treatment of the structural transformation of the American song,
its role in the development of jazz, and how it spread throughout the United
States. In the third chapter, the author presents a biography of Bix
Beiderbecke. The final chapter provides an analysis of Bix's recordings as
examples of his jazz style as well as illustrations of the musical forms
utilized in the 1920's.
- Chapter 1. New Orleans: story of the evolution of a
- Chapter 2. From New Orleans to New York: jazz and the
- Chapter 3. Bix Beiderbecke (1903-1931): the man, the
musician and the development of a vocation.
- Chapter 4. Bix Beiderbecke's style of execution: analysis
of some recordings. Big Boy (1924), Tiger Rag (1924), At the Jazz Band
Ball (1927), The Piano Compositions.
is well-organized and provides interesting insights into Bix's life and his
music. In particular, the analysis of some of Bix's recordings and
compositions is fairly detailed. The bibliography is very extensive and
complete.I am grateful to Lino Patruno and to Professor Marcell Piras
for giving me information about the thesis and to Stefano Cataldi for
providing a copy.
- Jazz and the Classics: A Study of American Crossover Solo Piano Works
from 1920 to 1935. Ph.
D. dissertation by Kristen Joan Helgeland, 313 pages, 1999, University of
Cincinnati. I quote from the abstract, "This dissertation examines a small
body of crossover pieces for solo piano written by American composers, both
jazz and classical, between 1000920 and 1935. The composers include Geeorge
Antheil, Bix Beiderbecke, Hoagy Carmichael, John Alden Carpenter, Zez Cobfrey,
Aaron Copland, George Gershwin, Ferde Grofe, Louis Gruenberg, and James P.
Johnson." The crossover genre, given the belief by middle and upper class
Americans that jazz was vulgar, represents a refined version of jazz. I will
get a copy of the dissertation and write some specific information about the
analysis of Bix's compositions.
Beiderbecke: Observing a Genius at Work, by Randy Sandke.
52 pages plus 27 pages
of scores. Self-published in 1996. This article is an excellent technical
treatment of Bix's cornet playing and of his compositions. The article
contains biographical information, but the emphasis is on the analysis of
Bix's music. The book covers 83 "Musical Examples". The examples of Bix's
cornet work span Bix's complete career, starting with "Fidgety Feet", from
Bix's first recording session on February 18, 1924, and ending with "Georgia",
Bix's last recording session on September 15, 1930. Bix's four piano
compositions are also discussed.
The following musical trademarks of Bix's playing
are illustrated: dynamic shading; correlated chorus; running triplets;
rhythmic delay; bending notes; use of grace or ghost notes; use of half time,
double time and irregular rhythms; keen and advanced harmonic sense; flutter
tonguing or growling; whole-tone scale; vibrato; half-valve gliss; tonguing;
emphatic use of upper intervals such as the 9th and 13th; use of a half-valve
bend on a cornet Db (C#).
An indication of Randy's insightful
treatment, can be seen from the following quotes. "Every note is
spontaneous, yet inevitable." "One moment he sounds strong and confident, the
next questioning and vulnerable"."The range of emotions that Bix expresses
within a solo, or even one phrase is, I think, unique among jazz
musicians.""There is always a poignancy to Bix's playing as if its beauty is
too rare and refined, even to fragile, for this
I strongly recommend this article to any serious and
6/19/o2. An article whose content is essentialy identical to that of the
booklet was published by Randy Sandke with the title "Bix Beiderbecke form a
musician's Prespective" in Annual Review of Jazz Studies, 9, 1997-98,
edited by Edward Berger, David Cayer, Henry Martin, Dan Morgenstern, Institute
of Jazz Studies, Rutgers- The State Universituy of New Jersey and The
Scarecrow Press, Inc., Lanham, Maryland and London, 2000, pages
grateful to Randy Sandke for sending me the article. Copies of the booklet can
be purchased from Randy Sandke by writing to him at
BRIEF TABLE OF
Analysis of Some
Recordings: Is It Bix or Not ?
Compilations of Bix's Recordings
Recordings Related to Bix