Dissertation Index



Author: Mosher, David R.

Title: Implicit Learning As A Means Of Tonal Jazz Pitch-Listening Skills Acquisition

Institution: University of Massachusetts Amherst

Begun: August 2016

Completed: November 2018

Abstract:

In this dissertation, I present a method for developing tonal jazz pitch-listening skills (PLS) which is rooted in scientific experimental findings from the fields of music cognition and perception. Converging experimental evidence supports the notion that humans develop listening skills through implicit learning via immersive, statistically rich exposure to real music from a particular musical idiom, such as tonal jazz. Therefore, I recommend that to acquire tonal jazz pitch-listening skills, learners should (1) immerse themselves in the real music of that idiom, (2) remediate their listening skills, where necessary, by listening to slowed-down versions with exaggerated features, and (3) organize their listening experiences with explicit theoretical labels for particular pitch structures, if they want to communicate about those pitch structures in speech or writing. In order to aid in the practical application of this process, I offer a four-semester learning sequence for the development of tonal jazz pitch-listening skills as well as a variety of formal assessment methods.

Keywords: jazz ear-training, music theory pedagogy, music cognition and perception, statistical learning, jazz aural skills, jazz theory, jazz studies, music theory, music pedagogy, jazz pedagogy

TOC:

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS v

ABSTRACT vi

LIST OF FIGURES xi

CHAPTER

1. THE FRAMING AND SCOPE OF THE TOPIC 1

1.1 Introduction 1
1.2 Statement of the Problem 1
1.3 Research Questions 2
1.4 Significance of the Study 2
1.5 Methodology 3
1.6 Principles Underlying My Recommendations 4
1.7 Organization of the Study 5
1.8 Limitations 5

2. SUMMARY OF MUSIC COGNITION AND PERCEPTION LITERATURE ON PITCH PROCESSING 7

2.1 Preliminaries 7

2.1.1 The Relevance of Pitch-Listening Skill Development to Jazz Musicians 7 2.1.2 Pitch: Definition and Scope of Engagement 8
2.1.3 The Rate of PLS Development 9
2.1.4 Tonality 10
2.1.5 The Problem of Function: Anatomy and Physiology of Pitch Entities 11
2.1.6 Implicit Learning Explained 13

2.2 A List of Some Important PLS 16
2.3 Expectations 17

2.3.1 Memory and Expectation 18
2.3.2 Creating a Set of Expectations 20
2.3.3 Melodic Structure Across Stylistic Boundaries 21
2.3.4 Melodic Expectations Across Stylistic Boundaries 23
2.3.5 Dynamically Unfolding Melodic Expectations 26
2.3.6 Musical Statistical Regularities 28
2.3.7 General Musical Expectations 29
2.3.8 Shared Canon, Shared Expectations, Room for Evolution 31
2.3.9 Style-Specific Expectations 32
2.3.10 Style-Specific Melodic Expectations 34

2.4 The Effects of Context on PLS 35
2.5 The Effects of Musical Training on PLS 37

2.5.1 Musicians and Nonmusicians 38
2.5.2 Playing an Instrument and PLS Development 38

2.6 Factors Influencing the Rate and Quality of PLS Development 40

2.6.1 Creating an Attitude of Addiction as a Means to PLS Development 40
2.6.2 Creating an Environment Conducive to Music Learning and PLS
Development 40
2.6.3 The Critical Period, Brain Plasticity and PLS Development 42
2.6.4 Individuated Instruction, The Zone of Proximal Development, and
Targeted Remediation 43
2.6.5 Explicit Learning Enhances Implicit Learning 45

2.6.5.1 The Role of Mental Representations in Pitch Processing 46
2.6.5.2 Gestalt Recognition 47
2.6.5.3 Chunking and Operations on Alphabets 47

2.6.6 Timbral Familiarity as An Aid to Pitch Perception 49
2.6.7 Hierarchical Memory Structure and Implicit Learning 50
2.6.8 Breaking the PLS Attachment to “Place” 52

2.7 Assessment of PLS 52
2.8 Empirical Findings Specific to Jazz 55

2.8.1 The Importance of Aural Presentation, Exemplary Aural Models, and Listener Imitation 55
2.8.2 Pitch Expectations in Jazz 55

2.8.2.1 Constraints on Pitch Expectations in Jazz 55
2.8.2.2 Jazz Melody: Jazz Patterns, Riffs, Licks, and Learnability 56
2.8.2.3 Jazz Harmony: Structure and Listener Expectations 57
2.8.2.4 Timbre and Stereotypical Instrumental Roles 62
2.8.2.5 Formal Arrangement and Pitch Expectations in Jazz 63

3. PITCH STRUCTURES IN THE TONAL JAZZ IDIOM 65

3.1 On Jazz Style(s) 65

3.1.1 Tonal Jazz as an Appropriate and Practically Relevant Level of Focus 65

3.2 Stereotypical Ensemble Roles May Guide Pitch Expectations 66

3.2.1 The Role of the Pianist 68
3.2.2 The Role of the Bassist 71
3.2.3 The Role of the Horn Player/Soloist 73

3.3 On Jazz Pitch Structures 74

3.3.1 On Dissonance and Jazz (Perception and Taste) 74
3.3.2 Jazz Melody 75

3.3.2.1 Jazz Scalar Material 77
3.3.2.2 Melodic Formulas 80

3.3.3 Jazz Harmony 82

3.3.3.1 Common V oicings of a Definitive Chord Progression in Jazz 85
3.3.3.2 Stereotypical Jazz Endings 88
3.3.3.3 Jazz Chord Progressions in One Tune Are Re-used in Others 91
3.3.3.4 Stereotypical Chord Progressions in Tonal Jazz 92
3.3.3.5 Jazz Harmonic Usage and the Notion of a Prevailing Key 94
3.3.3.6 Harmonic Substitution 95

3.3.4 Jazz Forms 99

3.3.4.1 Common Jazz Forms 99
3.3.4.2 The Blues Form and Common Variations On It 100
3.3.4.3 “Rhythm” Changes and Common Variations On It 103

3.3.5 Jazz Listening Immersion as a Way of Life 106

4. THE TONAL JAZZ PLS CURRICULUM 109

4.1 Overview of the Entire Course Sequence 109

4.1.1 Two Primary System Components 110
4.1.2 Parallel Tracks of the Learning Sequence 115
4.1.3 Work Flow 120

4.2 MCP Principles Modeled by the Curriculum 122
4.3 Jazz Pitch Practices Modeled by the System 125
4.4 Addressing Instrumental Roles within the Curriculum 130
4.5 The Four Semester Course Sequence: A Semester by Semester Breakdown 133
4.6 Implementing an Aural Topic: Preview, Focal Point, Review 168
4.7 Conclusions And Future Research 169

APPENDICES

A: A PATTERN FOR A SEMESTER 1 SYLLABUS 172

B: SAMPLE ASSIGNMENT AND MEANS OF ASSESSMENT—MEETING 16 BENCHMARKS 179

C: TUNE-BASED HARMONIC PARADIGMS 200

REFERENCES 212

Contact:

drmosher1@gmail.com

Date Listed: 05/15/2019


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