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A comprehensive analysis of jazz elements in Marlos Nobre's piano music through selected works

Nelson Neves, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


This project began its life as a doctoral thesis at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. My supervisor, Dr. Mark Clinton, during my preparation for one of my doctoral recitals, which was all about Brazilian music, provoked excellent ideas in me. As a result, after so many jazz elements found in Nobre's piano music, I decided to write about them. Marlos Nobre has reacted favorably to almost every musical stimulus this century has offered. Consequently, it is only natural to expect some of his works to illustrate the confluence of jazz and classical styles. As a springboard for his compositional stimulus, the role of improvisation has been unavoidably interconnected from the beginning of his career up till today. Marlos Nobre is constantly exploring and developing his aesthetic arsenal also through the infusion of many tendencies and currents of modern and avant-garde music, with jazz being one of these elements in his works. The purpose of this study will focus on jazz elements in Marlos Nobre's piano music through selected works such as Nazarethiana, Op. 2, Toccatina, Ponteio E. Final, Op.12, Homenagem A. Arthur Rubinstein, Op. 40, Sonata Breve, Op. 24, Sonatina, Op. 66, and Sonata Sobre Tema de Bartok, Op. 45. My analysis will attempt to reveal unique features of his compositional style; it will focus upon Nobre's pulsating rhythms and energetic percussive sounds, and the formal procedures he employs, especially with regard to jazz elements such as syncopations, polyrhythmic structures, rhythmic displacements, diatonic, pentatonic and modal scales, the blues harmony, blue-notes, call and response patterns, walking bass, bebop lines, and quartal harmony. While the influence of jazz on his piano works is often indirect and in some cases subliminal, but strangely obvious after a close study of it, makes it clear to me that his musical aesthetic cannot be fully understood without acknowledging the significant debt he owes to that style of music which we call jazz. This study should serve as a valuable source of information for performers and musicians alike who are interested in the synthesis of classical and jazz elements in Nobre's piano works. ^

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Recommended Citation

Neves, Nelson, "A comprehensive analysis of jazz elements in Marlos Nobre's piano music through selected works" (2007). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3284107.