How Can the Jazz Singer Improvise Through Vocalecosystems?

Jeri Brown

Abstract


Knowledge of vocal improvised music, whether demonstrated by high or low obscure pitch sounds, the beating of the chest while making music sounds, vocal pitch matching or vocal animation with or without the use of technology, has paved the way for a steady stream of vocal artists through the years, each dedicated to vocal exploration. While jazz vocal improvisation appears on the surface to involve few or no rules, it is a form of communication between artist and listener, where the artist adheres to a set of rules or principles. Here the jazz improviser is treated as part of an ecosystem, a concept in the biological sciences that comprises a set of interacting organisms and environments in a particular place. Within the jazz vocal improvisational ecosystem there are various roles, approaches and activities. What follows is a description showing how the analogy with biological ecosystems can be applied to a ‘vocal ecology’ and how this viewpoint may also aid the improvising jazz vocalist in artistic expression.

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