An Analytical Approach to Vibraphone Performance through Transcription and Analysis of Gary Burton's Solo on Blue Monk

Author: Brooks, Charles Bryant


Educational level: Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)

Discipline: Music

University: Louisiana State University

Abstract: The purpose of this study is to gain a insight into the realm of solo jazz vibraphone performance through the transcription and analysis of gary burton's improvised solo on "Blue Monk" by Thelonious Monk, recorded on the Album Face to Face with pianist Makoto Ozone.gary burton is the inventor of the "burton grip," a four-mallet grip used for vibraphone performance. His individual approach to playing the vibraphone and highly developed technique seem unattainable for many students of percussion. Nonetheless,many vibraphonists, including Burton, have published method books about his grip and its application. In order to emulate his style diligent study and practice are required. His grip revolutionized the world of keyboard percussion performance and is now part of the standard curriculum in many university percussion studios. This study will aid the percussion student in the discovery and development of the necessary tools required to develop an approach to vibraphone performance through the analysis of Burton's musical style and technique. Chapter 1 outlines the history of jazz vibraphone performance in the United States, beginning with the earliest recordings and progressing through various stages of jazz history to the present. This chapter also contains a brief biography of gary burton and the impact of his mallet grip on the percussion world. Chapter 2 begins with an introduction explaining the selection of Burton's recording of "Blue Monk." It then proceeds with a musical analysis of Burton's improvised solo, elaborating on his development of rhythm and melody. Chapter 3 is a technical analysis with musical examples from his improvised solo, discussing origins of the techniques used and how the burton grip applies.

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Keywords: four mallet technique, burton grip, blues, jazz, vibraphone, gary burton


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