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Miles Davis So What transcription and analysis
The first 200 words of this essay...
Miles Davis' So What
transcription and analysis by Bart Marantz
Miles Davis' original tune So What was first recorded in 1959 on his album Kind of Blue (Columbia CS-8163) with the famed "'56 Quintet". For purposes of comparison, this 1959 debut studio recording and a subsequent 1961 live performance recording of the same tune will be transcribed and analyzed.
Solo I (CS-8163)
The conservative tempo of = 138 lends itself well to the cool icy-blue sound of Miles Davis' playing and to the smooth simplicity of statement he observes in this rendition of So What.
(The music is available for viewing at the end of the article)
Measures 1-10, including the pick-up beat, firmly establish the tone E, which appears one or more times in every measure except measure 6. Even later in measure 14, where he ventures into polytonality by ascending to the eleventh, he still ends the phrase in measure 15 on the tonic. Despite the danger of too much tonic repetition, Miles manages to camouflage and integrate it into a masterful melodic line.
In the first five measures of the B section, beginning at
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