Quo Vadis: Exploring musical forms in jazz

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)


Music Studio and Jazz

First Committee Member

Gary Lindsay - Committee Chair


Quo Vadis is a three movement original composition for large jazz ensemble, synthesizer, and percussion. In each movement the musical form differs, illustrating alternative formal designs not commonly found in the jazz repertoire. This illustration reflects the author's observation that form is one of the least explored elements in jazz composition. A survey compiled for this study, in which prominent jazz composers such as Django Bates, Bob Brookmeyer, Bill Dobbins, Clare Fischer, Peter Herborn, David Liebman, Jim McNeely, Pat Metheny, Bob Mintzer, Chuck Owen, and Maria Schneider contribute their visions about form, generates an insight to the advancement of form in jazz and displays contemporary approaches to formal structure. The analysis of the author's original work and a discussion about the survey responses are intended to expand knowledge and application in regards to form. Consequently, a deeper understanding of formal principles will broaden the perspective of jazz composers in their use of form and possibly generate directions for its future applications.**This dissertation is a compound document (contains both a paper copy and a CD as part of the dissertation).



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