Publication Date



Open access

Degree Type

Doctoral Essay

Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)


Studio Music and Jazz (Music)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Whitney Sidener

Second Committee Member

Gary Keller

Third Committee Member

Don Coffman

Fourth Committee Member

John Olah


Six Ira Sullivan performances were analyzed from studio and live recordings spanning the years 1962 to 1998. Sullivan plays different musical instruments on five of the six selections: trumpet, flute, tenor saxophone, alto saxophone (2 selections), and soprano saxophone. Musical facets considered include phrasing (length/placement), melodic contour, lyricism, harmonic phenomenon, and concept of sound. Common musical threads within Sullivan's improvisations were expected to be found throughout all performances. A call and response dynamic across myriad musical fundamentals such as melody, harmony, and rhythm was found to be present and seems to form a basis for much of Ira Sullivan's improvisations. This and other broad traits common to Sullivan's improvisations are presented herein through analysis.


Miami; Multi-instrumentalist; Jazz Improvisation