• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Analysis of West End Blues by Louis Armstrong

Extracts from this document...


West End Blues ? Louis Armstrong ? 1920?s Jazz During the 1920?s jazz was beginning to sweep across America, becoming especially popular in the city of New York. The status of African Americans was elevated at this time due to their distinct music becoming increasingly popular, and jazz music evolved into an integral part of American popular culture. The original music of the Africans that had begun in New Orleans had diversified and now appealed to people from every social group of society. One man who helped the progression of jazz through the 1920s was Louis Armstrong, originally a part of Joe ?King? Oliver?s jazz band; he broke away from his mentor and moved to New York creating a new genre of jazz improvisation. The growing popularity of jazz was helped by the availability of recordings due to new technology, and this helped the 1920s to become known as the Golden Age of jazz in New York. One jazz composition of the 1920s was Louis Armstrong?s performance of West End Blues. This piece begins with an introduction by the trumpet lasting 10 bars, showing the incompleteness which creates the antecedent that will lead on to the consequent of the rest of the song. Beginning with a few descending straight crotchet notes rhythmic deviations begin to appear, such as the multiple triplets used in rising sequence a few beats later. ...read more.


A1 is the trumpet solo section, where it begins with an anacrusis in order for Armstrong to establish a new tempo amongst the other performers. This then begins with the rising motif found in the first bar; F# quaver to a G semiquaver to Bb semibreve tied to a crotchet. The first note of an F# is the minor 3rd in this key?s blue scale, immediately establishing the music as a blues influenced piece. This then moves chromatically to the G which moves effectively into the Bb chord note that is next played; this semitone step creates a gentle movement to the Bb which is the fifth of the Eb chord that is being played at this point. This is the basis for the piece as each instrument manipulates this pattern and plays with the melody surrounding it as each musician improvises around this original idea, such as the later trumpet solo which plays a this progression but extends the Bb. Underneath each solo instrument the piano underpins the music by playing the 12 bar harmonic chords on a straight crotchet rhythm, contrasting against the interesting and often syncopated rhythms of the melody. Section A2 is given to the trombone soloist and the accompaniment now also includes a percussive instrument which sounds similar to horse hooves, adding a swung rhythm to the music giving interesting rhythmic counterpoint and this also adds to the slightly lethargic feel that the music has to go along with the ?blues? feel. ...read more.


long note creates tension and excitement as this is now the last section of the movement and any musician able to hold a note that long on a trumpet is a truly skilled and experienced performer. This is followed by a descending four note semiquaver motif made up of all of the flats used thus far; Bb, Ab, Gb and Eb. At this point Armstrong experiments with inflection as each playing of this motif varies; the first time it is played straight, the second time the first note is delayed. This pulls the tempo back slightly, yet this is then contrasted against with the third playing which is straight again, then the fourth playing sees the first note delayed again. Differently to previous sections the solo instrument changes, as at bar 9 the piano again takes over for a short period before the trumpet returns at bar 12. This gives a conversation-like effect as if the musicians are discussing through their instruments that the end has come. At bar 12 the trumpet returns and finishes the song creating a full circle. This song is mainly based upon the same 12-bar blues progression that is stated at the beginning in section A1; from there soloists are able to shine in their own sections that are improvised. This music was the beginning of the virtuoso musicians and led the way for improvisational yet scored music. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Music section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Music essays

  1. Write a critical commentary on Mendelssohn's Quartet in Eb Major, Op. 12

    Adagio non troppo - Allegro non tardante 2. Canzonetta: Allegretto - a beautifully graceful, light and wonderfully simple canzonetta, dance-like. 3. Andante espressivo - melodious third movement, described as a 'noble song of thanksgiving'. 4. Molto allegro e vivace - very spirited, impetuous and extremely brisk finale. The aforementioned influence on Mendelssohn from Beethoven is immediately apparent in the first movement.

  2. Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov's Concerto for Trombone, composed in 1878. The work is one that I ...

    At two bars before C the solo line is harder to hear than that of Lindberg's, but this is primarily due to the accompaniment being much more powerful in the brass and covering the soloist. Into C Lindberg performs in a charming lyrical and legato style; he extends the phrasing over much larger sections than is written.

  1. Performance Investigation: Bolling Suite for Flute and Jazz Piano Trio: Baroque and Blue

    He shapes the last notes before V and Y. Interesting an exception to the rule of Rampal following the natural rise and fall is between AA and BB. GG is where Rampal really shows off his musicality by being able to play p when the piano has the tune and this really adds to the true jazz group sound.

  2. An analysis of Sweelinck's 'Pavana Lachrimae'

    The functional harmony of the Sweelinck emphasises the tonality of the work and the fact that the each section concludes with a cadence strengthens this point. Sweelinck also stays very close to the original key when modulating, using only the relative major (C major) and the dominant major (E Major).

  1. Music Song Analysis

    By only using a few instruments; the voice and the piano create a bigger outcome than if more instruments where used, a lot of the concentration is on the characteristics of his voice. Rhythm and Time There are so many different sections to this song, therefore it is difficult to analyse it thoroughly as aspects are always changing.

  2. The Effect of Music on Performance of a Task

    Hypothesis three was effectively the test to see which of the two music styles produced the best performance. Table three shows that slow music improved performance by a mean average of one point per participant. This revealed that slow music improved performance on the test more than the other two music styles.

  1. Analyse and evaluate how effectively Ridley Scott creates another world in the opening sequences ...

    Once Deckard and Gaff are in the spinner the is diegetic sound of the engine of the spinner and also the rain hitting hard against the window. However as the spinner begins to rise there is the introduction of non-diegetic music that makes the process of the spinner taking off

  2. French Flute Music between 1935 and 1955: Varèse, Messiaen and Jolivet

    Dynamic change was an important structural element in Var�se's music as opposed to its mere use as decoration. Throughout Density 21.5 there are few occasions where the dynamic stays stable and this could be due to the variations in sonority that he was trying to achieve from a single instrument.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work