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

Edward Kennedy ("Duke") Ellington.

Extracts from this document...


Edward Kennedy ("Duke") Ellington was born on the 29th April 1899 in Washington DC, and is famous as a composer, bandleader, and pianist who was recognized in his lifetime as one of the greatest jazz composers and performers. Nicknamed "Duke" by a boyhood friend who admired his regal air, the name stuck and became indelibly associated with the finest creations in big band and vocal jazz. A genius for instrumental combinations, improvisation, and jazz arranging brought the world the unique "Ellington" sound that found consummate expression in works like "Mood Indigo," "Sophisticated Lady," and the symphonic suites Black, Brown, and Beige (which he subtitled "a Tone Parallel to the History of the Negro in America") and Harlem ("a Tone Parallel to Harlem"). Beginning keyboard studies at the age of seven, Ellington's earliest influences were the ragtime pianists. ...read more.


Among Ellington's many honours and awards were honorary doctorates from Howard and Yale Universities, membership in the American Institute of Arts and Letters, election as the first jazz musician member of the Royal Music Academy in Stockholm, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom Duke was from a middle class family, with his dad working as a butler Duke was set very high standards of dress and speech. Music was one of the genteel accomplishments, so Duke was sent to take piano lessons from the aptly named Mrs Clinkscales. Duke showed no promise and soon gave up. From the age of 12 Duke began sneaking into burlesque theatres and poolrooms. It was in these places that Duke first heard Ragtime, the music that was the rage of the time. ...read more.


At 19 Duke married Edna Thompson. One year later their son Mercer was born. The marriage did not last, some people say it is because of Dukes early success and his demanding lifestyle. Later in life Duke married another woman. As well as his famous music career Duke starred in some films and theatrical musicals with a high jazz content like 'Anatomy of a murder and 'Paris blues'. Midway through his life of fame he wrote an autobiography called 'music is my mistress'. Duke wrote the music to musical comedies 'Beggars opera' and 'Pousse cafe'. One of Dukes most important concerts was at carnegie hall. Dukes success was probably due to the facts he was a perfectionist and he brought jazz into the white community. He is now regarded as the most important writer in jazz. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE 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 GCSE Music essays

  1. Ludwig van Beethoven, his life story and music from the Bonn peroid.

    - because of a quarrel before his departure from there - he did not write until he had been in Vienna for almost a year. He had dedicated to her the first of his works to be published in Vienna (composed in part in Bonn), his variations for violin and

  2. Evolution of opera

    In Xerxes (written in 1738), Handel had to abandon the stiff opera serie style in response to the success of the Beggar's Opera in 1728 and the collapse of his opera company the Royal Academy of Music as well as its rival the Opera of the Nobility in 1737.

  1. Hydens Trumpet Concerto and Aranjez Analysis

    This makes the melody very smooth. Harmony in Aranjuez is very important as the theme is built on mainly block chords. The first two bars that act as an introduction to the theme are built as block chords on the concert F major chord.

  2. The history of Music

    Since then, it has undergone a national revival with performers such as Ricky Scaggs, Garth Brooks, the Judds, Tanya Tucker, and Reba McEntire achieving great popularity. Many of her songs, such as 'Sweet Dreams' consisted of lightly played piano, soft strings, drums played softly with brushes and backing vocals.

  1. The Blues - socio-political context & influence on culture

    After his release, he went back to the New York folk circuit and worked with Woody Guthrie (who lived with him), Pete Seegar, and Burl Ives among others, who would have regular jam sessions and slots on local radio. He made some recordings for RCA and Folkways records, before leaving New York for Hollywood.

  2. How does the music in Mozart's 'Die Zauberflöte portray good and evil?

    The Magic Flute is similar to a folk legend in that good must always overcome evil, and although we guess at who is good and who is bad, due to the way that the first act is written we are misled by the Queen of the Night and the audience's

  1. Beethoven & the Symphonic Genre

    Previously, symphonies were almost large chamber pieces, written mainly for strings, with woodwind accompaniment. Beethoven realized the possibilities of writing more for winds and brass and less for strings. Compared to Haydn's last symphonies, Beethoven's first symphony has a tighter motivic organization and a coarseness of sound and gesture that stands out from Haydn.

  2. Identify ONE teaching and learning issue, with a curriculum focus, which has been of ...

    As CEM points out, accuracy in writing is useful in any exam in which writing takes place, but again, nothing specifically relates to musicality. The 2 minute Perceptual Speed and Accuracy test "asks pupils to look for matches between a sequence of symbols, and a number of possible choices"3.

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