Scientific-methodological search in the sphere of jazz vocal: a comparative analysis

The study of problems of the personality development by means of jazz education. The methodological and practical aspects of teaching jazz vocal. Generalization of scientific thought, a comparison of the author's methods of famous teachers-singers.

Рубрика Педагогика
Вид статья
Язык английский
Дата добавления 13.05.2018
Размер файла 18,2 K

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Shevchenko Anastasia Sergiivna

Postgraduate student, Department of art pedagogy and choreography Sumy state pedagogical university named after A. S. Makarenko

Formulation and justification of the relevance of the problem. In modern society the formation of musical tastes and preferences takes place long before the beginning of the systematic music lessons. Historically, primary music education is focused on traditional academic musical art, the perception of which should be preceded by special musical training. Jazz music is considered to be a mass entertainment music art, part of pop genre, often of a low professional level. In addition, it is believed that the identified concept is a part of youth subculture, which relies on commercial show-industry [9]. This trend in the formation of the original musical experience of the singers is characterized by spontaneity and uncontrollability of this information in the field of national musical education. Jazz vocal occurs in modern music professional education and outside the walls of music schools, which can be explained by the prevalence of this art form in the musical life and mass communication of modern Ukrainian society.

Analysis of recent research and publications. Pedagogical science has certain achievements in the study of problems of the personality development by means of jazz education. In modern conditions there are research works on the development of skills in jazz improvisation (H. Holosov, Yu. Markin, M. Serebrianyi, N. Srodnikh, A. Khromushin and others); development of skills of jazz music arrangements (H. Haranian, A. Pchelintsev); formation of performance skills of the future artists of pop ensembles (D. Babich); musical- aesthetic education by means of pop art (O. Popova, N. Popovych, K. Shpakovskaia); development of creative activity of students of musical faculties of the pedagogical universities on the basis of pop and jazz (O. Zharkova, O. Kurylchenko, Yu. Stepniak). Art study of pop and jazz are also very important. In particular, the historical aspect is expounded in the works of such authors as K. Behrendt, D. Collier, V. Conen, V. Mysovskyi, Ye. Ovchinnikov, Yu. Panasie, L. Pereverzev, V. Romanko, V. Symonenko, V. Feyertag and others; means of expression of jazz music are explored by I. Wasserberger, I. Horvat, L. Evans, Yu. Kozyrev, V. Olendarov, A. Rogachev, W. Sargent, Yu. Chuhunov and others; some problems of jazz music on various instruments are highlighted by I. Brill, M. Zamoroko, L. Evans, E. Kunin, V. Manilov, V. Molotkov, O. Stepurko and others. Analysis of research literature testifies to a thorough study of some issues of the jazz vocal art in general and pedagogy that enables us to establish proper theoretical and methodological foundations for further research in this area. Among the achievements in the researches in the field of jazz vocal almost unexplored remains the problem of availability of scientific and methodological support for jazz vocal. It is caused by a contradiction between the desire of singers to master jazz vocal and inability to meet their professional needs because of the lack of methodological base. The relevance of this problem led to the choice of the topic of the article.

The purpose of the article is to reveal the theoretical and practical aspects of teaching jazz vocal, which is concretized in the following tasks: to summarize scientific thought on its essence, to compare authors' methods of famous teachers- singers.

The main material of the study. In traditional scientific thought jazz is a kind of professional pop art, which B. Brylin and V. Symonenko characterize as: a complex system of syncopating, polyrhythms; the specific sound production and phrasing that is different from the academic; the widespread use of glissando techniques, vibration; unusual use of percussion instruments; increased emotional intensity of performance, which brings to ecstacy. Almost all jazz researchers support the opinion of its improvisational nature [1; 7].

According to V. J. Conen, jazz, as a style, emerged in the 20s of the XX century as a result of synthesis of various jazz forms of the late XIX century with the aesthetics of American easy genre pop. The greatest impact on this process had ragtime, blues and music for brass ensembles «jazz band». Ragtime added to the pop jazz extremely pointy and hard accents, staccatto and dissonantness of harmonic language; sadness motifs, which characterize early folk blues; music for brass ensembles «jazz band» promoted a relaxed, improvisational manner of performance as a specific feature of pop-jazz art [4].

In the research literature jazz vocal has no terminological explanation, because it is considered by the scientists as a part of jazz art that has common stylistic characteristics. In our opinion, jazz vocal is a kind of singing art that involves the possession of a certain vocal style and performing technique, which is based on the use of all the colors and possibilities of voice, and the ability to improvise.

Until recently it was widely believed that there was no single school in jazz vocal performance, but today, in modern methods of foreign teachers-vocalists there are common views on a number of issues, in particular regarding the availability of jazz vocal school, voice training, sound production, attack of the sound and voice effects. For the native musicology remains relevant identification and study of effective techniques of vocal art. Jazz vocal school in the narrow sense focuses on the unique set of vocal- technical means to ensure high standards of performance. Let's call some of them that have been directly referenced in the upbringing of pop and jazz singers. Researchers R. Yusson and V. Yemelianov studied acoustic-physiological aspect of the question, its analysis and systematization of disparate data from the history of vocal pedagogical practice that had positive impact on teaching pop and jazz vocal methods [3; 9]. Native educator N. Drozhzhyna stresses that the microphone is an important element of the pop- jazz singer's work on the modern stage, which stands between the real acoustic sound and its presentation to the audience. In her work N. Drozhzhyna notes that during the use of sound reinforcement equipment the «ear for music» (auditory self-control) is formed both while studying in class when the necessary coordinations are still forming, and during the period of creative activity on the stage [2]. However, these works were mostly descriptive in nature, did not depart from the canons of academic schools and did not take into account the specifics of jazz vocals.

Musical art in the field of jazz vocal, ideally, is considered the art of acting, embodiment/disembodiment, which at its best is based on the vast experience of the development of this art form and testifies to a harmonious blend of tradition and innovation. Modern stylistic trends in jazz vocal art are considered taking into account the influence of scientific and technological progress and mass culture. Authors' methods of Western teachers-vocalists differ greatly from the art schools curricula for the education of young jazz singers in Ukraine, since the official division of children into two groups - classical vocalists and rhythmic singers.

With the emergence of sound enhancement equipment (particularly microphones) the principle of sound production has changed and now is used a «conversational» position, according to the method of leading American teacher Seth Riggs. These changes contributed to the fact that most Western singers don't have problems with neutral sound, which is mainly used in the educational process due to its simplicity. According to S. Riggs, the difference of vocal sound production from a normal conversational is the presence of certain harmonic tones (overtones) - specific voice timbres. Everyone has his own nature of timbre due to the unique structure of the vocal apparatus. The timbre can vary through the use of resonators (head, mixed and chest) that is actively implemented, as well as through retaliatory action of muscles, voice and articulation apparatus. All sound changes should be conscious and not accidental and involuntary [6]. So, in the native vocal pedagogy, it is believed that «vocal» should be mastered consciously. The researcher is convinced that in order to make learning process efficient and use voice resource with the acquisition of a certain skill for as long as possible, one must learn to breathe correctly, since the ability of correct the respiratory system affects the duration of the sound, tone and richness of timbre.

A significant place in jazz vocal performance take voice effects. In the authors' methods of Western teachers-vocalists the mechanism of each of them is thoroughly described, which is very important for their effective mastering. So, in her book «Complete vocal technique» the leading teacher-vocalist Catherine Sadolin discusses the following effects: distortion, rattle, growl, vocal breaks, air added to the voice, screams, hoarse attacks and creaks, vibrato, decoration technique as a rapid run of notes, that can be used both in pop-jazz and academic vocal [11]. The researcher intentionally does not consider the aesthetic aspect of the sound, and pays more attention to dynamics, force and expression of sound production effects. The recognition of the mentioned vocal effects helps to review the question of the number of voice registers. To the traditional school of singing (chest, mixed and head) she adds two registers: sub-register (very low, growl is used) and flute register (for vocal flageolets).

Very important is the method of development of rhythmic thinking «Scat drums” of Bob Stoloff - the professor of Berklee College of Music in Boston. The essence of the method lies in the fact that the student imitates by his voice the play of percussion instruments with the aim of mastering the rhythm of jazz music. In his exercises Bob Stoloff recommends to simulate large and small drum, hi-hat, cymbals and builds exercises on the principle of gradual complication of the material. Thus, the next group of exercises is aimed at mastering triplet ripple and wandering accents, i.e. characteristic rhythmic features of swing. After mastering the swing rhythm it is important to make the transition to the rhythmic patterns of Latin and funk [10].

A wide range of jazz techniques is presented in the manual «Scat-improvisation» of Oleh Stepurko, in which the author describes his own achievements in relation to vocal improvisation and the methods of its mastering; explores the vocal discoveries of the world famous stars of jazz vocal art with their own vocal schools, in particular, Ella Fitzgerald, Sarah Vaughn and Johnny Mitchell [8]. Jazz musicians have formed a number of specific recommendations regarding jazz music and, of course, we will focus on the art of improvisation. Improvisation must be performed by the singers in scat vocal technique. This technique is a specific method of vocal jazz improvisation in which the voice is used to simulate a musical instrument, and singing does not bear the lexical meaning. Scat is one of the distinctive features of the jazz vocal art. Analyzing and comparing the vocal improvisations of jazz performers, we have noticed that the melodic turns which are intertwined with harmonic schemes have the same structure. In jazz practice these moves are called «licks», because these moves musicians have borrowed from the masters of jazz music. At the time, «licks» were discovered by Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie. O. Stepurko in his work describes the most common licks: pentachord - when triad is completed with third passing tone; wave - chromatic filling of the terzo tone of the chord; rebound - effect of introductory tones; Parker's loop - this motive covers the chord tone as a noose; trap - the motive is compressed around the chord tones, gradually approaching it; track - the motive is based on major second, which on the sequence is reduced by half tones; zigzag - when at the non-chord sound melodic energy is accumulated and then is erupted by the sixteenth, keeping troline ripple; rise - the upward move in thirds; Parker's spiral - is most often found in the minor [8].

Conclusions and prospects for further researches of direction. The analysis of theoretical and methodological studies in the field of jazz vocals showed absence of the definitions of its essence. In our opinion, the field of vocal jazz is an art form of singing that involves the possession of a certain vocal style and performing technique, which is based on the use of all the colors and possibilities of voice, and the ability to improvise.

Comparison of the author's methods of famous teachers-singers suggests that Seth Riggs uses the principle of «conversational» position in order to find neutral sound using sound amplifying equipment. Catherine Sadolin considers voice effects that can be applied in different manners of performance, in addition, the researcher adds sub- and flute registers to extend the range of sound picturing elements. Methods of rhythmic thinking development of professor Bob

Stoloff “Scat drums” imply simulating by the voice the play of percussion instruments with the aim of mastering the rhythm of jazz music. In his exercises Bob Stoloff recommends to simulate large and small drum, hi-hat, cymbals and builds exercises on the principle of gradual complication of the material. Oleh Stepurko builds his concept of vocal improvisation development on the basis of a wide range of jazz techniques and the achievements of world stars of jazz vocal art. The comprehensive nature of jazz vocals teaching and a variety of approaches regarding the education of singers determine the need for further scientific and methodological research of the designated problem in various aspects.


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1. Bryl, Y. (1985). Prakticheskii kurs dzhazovoi improvizatsii. [Practical course of jazz improvisation]. Moscow.

2. Drozhzhyna, N. V. (2005). Funktsii mikrofonu u vokalnomu vykonavstvi na estradi. [The function of the microphone / vocal performance on the stage]. Kharkiv.

3. Emelianov, V. V. (1991). Fonopedycheskii metod formirovanyia zvyka [Phonopedian method of forming sound]. Novosybyrsk.

4. Konen, V. (1984). Rozhdenye dzhaza [The birth of jazz ] Moscow: Yskusstvo.

5. Morozov, V. P. (2002). Iskusstvo rezonansnoho peniia [The art of resonant singing] Moscow.

6. Rihhs S. (2000). Kak stat zvezdoi [How to become a star] Mooscow: Guitar College.

7. Symonenko, V. S. Melodii dzhaza. Antolohiia. [Melodies of jazz]. Kyiv: «Muzychna Ukraina».

8. Stepurko, O. M. (2006). Sket improvyzatsiia. [Skate improvisation]. Moscow.

9. Yusson, R. (1974). Pevcheskii holos [Singing voice] M,oscow.

10. Stoloff, B. (1972). Vocal improvisation (Techniques scat). [Vocal improvisation] Moscow.

11. Cathrine Sadolin (2000). Complete Vocal Technique. Denmark.

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