The Guaraldi Sound: The Musical Devices that Characterize Vince Guaraldi's Improvisational and Compositional Idiom

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Vince Guaraldi (1928-1976) was a jazz pianist who achieved tremendous financial and commercial success in the 1960s with his popular recordings and his work for the Peanuts animated shorts. He cultivated a musical style that drew from several identifiable sources: boogie-woogie, bebop, Brazilian and Afro-Cuban jazz, and rock ‘n' roll. The result was a distinct approach to jazz which, although it may not have been as influential as that of some of his contemporaries, nevertheless constituted a unique and personal voice—what several commentators have referred to as the "Guaraldi sound." This dissertation considers the entire range of Guaraldi's recorded output … continued below

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x, 139 pages : music

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Huntley, Alec Villars December 2020.

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This dissertation is part of the collection entitled: UNT Theses and Dissertations and was provided by the UNT Libraries to the UNT Digital Library, a digital repository hosted by the UNT Libraries. It has been viewed 389 times, with 62 in the last month. More information about this dissertation can be viewed below.

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  • Huntley, Alec Villars

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Vince Guaraldi (1928-1976) was a jazz pianist who achieved tremendous financial and commercial success in the 1960s with his popular recordings and his work for the Peanuts animated shorts. He cultivated a musical style that drew from several identifiable sources: boogie-woogie, bebop, Brazilian and Afro-Cuban jazz, and rock ‘n' roll. The result was a distinct approach to jazz which, although it may not have been as influential as that of some of his contemporaries, nevertheless constituted a unique and personal voice—what several commentators have referred to as the "Guaraldi sound." This dissertation considers the entire range of Guaraldi's recorded output in order to define and catalog many elements that contributed to Guaraldi's musical style. Using an analytical framework drawn from the work of Leonard Meyer and Benjamin Givan, this study describes both Guaraldi's improvisational style—the licks, patterns, and phrases that he plays while soloing—and common elements of his compositions—the chord progressions, grooves, and other features that are particularly idiomatic. Also discussed are Guaraldi's status within the established jazz canon and the disparity between his widespread popularity and his lukewarm critical reputation. The discussion and analyses provide useful insights for fans of Guaraldi, fans of Peanuts music, jazz musicologists, and any seeking to emulate the Guaraldi sound.

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x, 139 pages : music

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Has Part : Recital: April 16, 2018, not yet digitized
Has Part : Recital: November 26, 2018, not yet digitized
Has Part : Recital: November 5, 2019, not yet digitized
Has Part : Lecture recital: October 26, 2020, not yet digitized

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  • December 2020

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  • Jan. 26, 2021, 12:14 a.m.

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  • Jan. 19, 2022, 5:53 a.m.

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Huntley, Alec Villars. The Guaraldi Sound: The Musical Devices that Characterize Vince Guaraldi's Improvisational and Compositional Idiom, dissertation, December 2020; Denton, Texas. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1752365/: accessed January 21, 2022), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; .

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