Name: Leonie Freudenberger
Main Subject: Jazz Saxophone
Research Coach: Karst de Jong
Title of Research: Approaching jazz composition through the music of Billy Strayhorn
What are the most important elements of Billy Strayhorn's compositions?
How can I incorporate his compositional approach in my own writing?
Billy Strayhorn (1915–1976) was a jazz pianist, composer, arranger, orchestrator and lyricist whose works have influenced the genre of jazz music until today.
The research contains two phases: First, the analysis of his compositions.
Second, the attempt to compose originals using the detected stylistic, harmonic, melodic and conceptional tools.
Considering the enormous oeuvre that Strayhorn produced, it is inevitable to make a selection of songs to analyze. My criteria for this selection are the following:
Which songs have become part of the standard repertoire in jazz, performed by various artists throughout the 20th (and 21st) century?
Where can I find aural trademarks, which I recognize both as a listener and as a player and which contribute to my personal perception of the “Strayhorn sound”?
Can the compositions be reduced to a lead sheet and performed by a small jazz combo without losing their essence?
My final intention is not only to compose using Strayhorn-typical elements and tools, but also to write music for myself as a performer and for my group to play it.
On longer terms, I hope that I can abstract this method further on and profit from it beyond the results of this research.
Leonie Freudenberger, born 1988 in Baden-Baden (D), has played the alto saxophone since her childhood. She started her professional jazz education at the University of Music in Mannheim in 2008 and came to Den Haag in 2011, where she finished her Bachelor's degree. Apart from her Master studies, she writes music and performs with her own group and takes part in various projects, playing alto and baritone saxophone.