The combinations of whole- and half-steps, line direction, and repetition can be used as the analysis criteria for jazz melody from any period or style. "Easy Time," a composition which is notated below in Example F, is eleven bars long and is based on a melodic motive of three different pitches: E, C, and Bb. The motive is circled each time it occurs. The whole-step between Bb and C extends to two whole steps (M3) between C and E. (Later versions of the motive alternate between C-E and C-Eb.) Although there are only five different pitches in all, the direction of the line combines a descending move from E to Bb and the short ascending whole-step from Bb to C in the circled motive as well as the skips from E, both down to G and up to G as the motive is expanded.
You can hear a recording
of "Easy Time" by the JOAN WILDMAN TRIO.
Repetition plays an important role in "Easy Time," both in the use of its motive and with its repeated single notes. The entrance of the repeated motive (circled) is always at a different place in the measure, thus emphasizing its different pitches. Also, the length of each motive varies from 2 to 2 1/2 beats and the line is developed, not by other added pitches, but by a longer duration of a repeated single pitch, C. This repetition (m. 4) first occurs for only 3 1/2 beats but later (m5-6) lasts for 7 1/2 beats. Development of the line through repetition of a single pitch is sparked by the off-beat to down-beat nature of the rhythm.
It is important to recognize the association of two or more musical elements in the shaping of tension or relaxation. For example, an accent motive can develop into an accent phrase without the help of any pitches at all, but when they are added (even in the case of one repeated note) the effect is all the more powerful. When several pitches are used, the relationship becomes even more urgent In addition to the correlation between rhythm, accents, and melody, however, the use of harmony is also important and will be discussed in Article 3.