Lecturer scores new approach to music

29 October 2007

In his inaugural lecture, Professor Michael Rossi argued that musicians can find a personal way to improvise and compose using the five non-scale (chromatic) tones by understanding the seven scale (diatonic) tones.

During his lecture, Rossi played recorded examples of diatonic-based improvisation, such as Louis Armstrong's Hotter than That and Lester Young's Lester Leaps In. Examples of multi-coloured based improvisation included Spanish Key by Miles Davis and Chronology by Ornette Coleman.

Rossi also noted that many musicians centre and begin scale patterns and phrases around the root of a given chord.

“By starting the melodic minor scale on its seventh note and not the root, a whole new world of sounds and colours begins to emerge,” he said.

The lecture on 17 October also included performances of original compositions by Rossi and musical collaborator Ulrich Suesse, and concluded with a rendition of Bill Prince arrangements by the UCT Big Band.

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