Dissertation Index

Author: Pellegrin, Richard S.

Title: On Jazz Analysis: Schenker, Salzer, and Salience

Institution: University of Washington

Begun: May 2010

Completed: June 2013


This dissertation explores the significance of the Salzerian analytical tradition with respect to both the Western classical and jazz idioms. The first half investigates issues of salience and subjectivity in both intuitionist and formalist approaches to reductive analysis of classical repertoire. I argue that intuitionist analysis in the Salzerian tradition of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century repertoire is both valid and necessary, despite its resistance to systematization and other criticisms that have been raised.

The second half of the study applies these lines of inquiry to jazz. As in the classical idiom, a strict Schenkerian approach to jazz works best when applied to a certain segment of the canon. A less strict approach, and one according increased weight to salience (after Lerdahl), is required to adequately address repertoire falling outside of this limited scope. The value of jazz analysis in the Salzerian tradition is evidenced in part by a transcription and analysis of a complete performance of “Green Chimneys” by the Thelonious Monk Quartet, that which appears on Columbia Records’ 1996 reissue of Straight, No Chaser (1967). This analysis reveals sophisticated large-scale organization, including motivic parallelism operating on all structural levels—that of a complete single-chorus improvisation, a complete multi-chorus improvisation, the solo section taken as a whole, and the composition itself, as well as various lower levels.

Keywords: Jazz, Schenker, Schenkerian, Salzer, Salzerian, Salience, Salient, Larson, Lerdahl, Prolongation


Chapter 1: Schenker, Salience, and Subjectivity

Schenker and Salience
Schenker and GTTM
Formalism and Intuitionism
Salience and Subjectivity
Some Responses to Work of Charles Smith
The Beach/Neumeyer and Beach/Smith Exchanges

Chapter 2: Analysis of the Post-Schenkerian Repertoire

The Issue of Reduction
Straus and Prolongation
The Problem of Dilution
Lerdahl’s Tonal Pitch Space

Chapter 3: Salience and Jazz Analysis

Schenkerian versus Salzerian Analysis of Jazz
An Analysis of a Performance of “Green Chimneys” by the Thelonious Monk Quartet


Richard Pellegrin
Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Theory
University of Missouri School of Music
Fine Arts Annex 016
(573) 884-4683

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