Developmental Devices Used to Create Coherence and Unity in Multi-Movement Suites in a Modern Jazz Orchestra Setting
Solipsis is a six-movement composition for a seventeen-piece jazz orchestra. Each movement was composed to possess its own unique qualities and be able to stand alone. Yet one of the main objectives of this project was to create unity and coherence through the entire suite through the use of non-musical ideas like programmatic themes and conceptual ideas as well as applying various musical techniques such as melodic motifs, harmonic progressions and concepts, chord voicings and rhythm to develop musical ideas. As a way of creating a sense of unity between each of the pieces, each movement is inspired by themes and motifs inherent in the film Synecdoche, New York, and musical concepts such as nonfunctional harmony (modal harmony and atonal harmony) form the basis for much of the melodic and harmonic material contained in Solipsis. As preparation for the composition of Soilipsis I studied two three-movement suites from two of the more prominent jazz orchestra writers working today; One Question, Three Answers written by Jim McNeely, and Scenes from Childhood by Maria Schnieder. What follows is a detailed analysis of their works followed by a comprehensive breakdown of my own Solipsis.