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The Influence of Jazz Elements in Don Freund's "Sky Scrapings" for Alto Saxophone and Piano

Jason Wade Howles, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Jazz influence surfaces within traditional repertoire for the saxophone more often than other instruments. This is due to the saxophone’s close association with the jazz idiom. Of particular interest is the use of jazz elements in Don Freund’s Sky Scrapings for alto saxophone and piano. Often, while studying a jazz-influenced work, students and professors alike may not recognize the importance of these elements appropriately. Because of this, their performance loses a portion of the stylistic nuance the composer intended while writing the work. This lack of recognition and loss of stylistic nuance is commonly due to a lack of knowledge about common jazz elements seen in the areas of melody, harmony, rhythm, and texture. By providing saxophonists who are not familiar with elements of jazz influence with specific, documented examples of the influence of jazz in Sky Scrapings and evidence to support these claims, they will be better prepared to recognize and acknowledge the jazz elements present in this piece. In addition, they will be better prepared to identify, interpret, and implement jazz elements and influence in other works for saxophone. The document begins with a discussion of elements commonly used within the jazz idiom from the areas of melody, harmony, rhythm, and texture. Each area is discussed thoroughly with references to supporting documentation and musical examples from additional works within the canon of saxophone repertoire when appropriate. Following this is a biography of Freund with an emphasis placed on his experiences with the jazz idiom. Next is an overall synopsis of Sky Scrapings followed by specific examples of how the jazz elements discussed earlier in the document present themselves within the context of Sky Scrapings. The document concludes with a discussion of additional performance considerations for saxophonists wishing to highlight the influence of jazz elements while performing Sky Scrapings.

Subject Area


Recommended Citation

Howles, Jason Wade, "The Influence of Jazz Elements in Don Freund's "Sky Scrapings" for Alto Saxophone and Piano" (2017). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI10684632.