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Duke Ellington

  • Date Submitted: 04/03/2012 01:16 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 70.9 
  • Words: 438
  • Essay Grade: no grades
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After listening to many great composers this semester, I chose Duke Ellington as one of my favorites. My favorite composition by him is “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing).” The lyrics of this song are by Irving Mills and are sung by Ivie Anderson. I liked this piece of music for a couple of reasons. First, the tempo was upbeat and entertaining. Secondly, because the song used a jazz technique called scat.
The piece of music “It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” is said to have received its title from Duke Ellington’s former trumpeter Bubber Miley, who was dying of Tuberculosis. The song forewent the swing era by three years and became famous quickly. This song was also the first to use the word “swing” in its title; it introduced the word into common everyday terms of use.  
The form of the song is A-A-B-A. The piece exhibits tonality that is mainly minor during the end and at the bridge of the song. The movement of the song is a series if chords moving up and stepping down. The song also has many repeated notes in it. Instruments used in playing this piece are trombone, trumpet, piano, tenor and soprano saxophone, cello, and a drum set.
The work is vocal, however the text does not really mean anything of importance. The main point of the song is that if the singer does not have a certain “swing” or groove to his or her music then the song will be insignificant and boring. The song is meant to be fun and upbeat and in my opinion I think that it is just trying to provide a catchy beat for people to get up and dance to. The song also uses a style of music called scat. Scat is an improvised jazz way of singing. The singer says a series of words that have no meaning, but instead are mean to temporarily take the place of or sound like an instrument.
Out of all of Duke Ellington’s composition this one was my favorite for several reasons. First, because the tempo and rhythm of the song was fast and upbeat, the listener cannot help...

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