Date of Graduation

Spring 2012


Master of Music



Committee Chair

John Prescott


music, jazz, big band, symphony, instrumental

Subject Categories



The composition for this thesis, Suite for Jazz Band and Strings, written in a jazz big band genre, was created to reflect the structure of a traditional classical symphony in a more contemporary musical setting. Comprised of four movements connected by transition music, each movement is composed to simulate the form and function of its classical symphony counter-part. The focus of the composition was to effectively utilize historic musical compositional techniques and structures and fuse them with more contemporary musical concepts and practices. In terms of structure, the most influential classical symphonies studied in preparation for this thesis were Ludwig Van Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 in E-flat Major, op. 55, Johannes Brahms' Symphony No. 3 in F Major, op. 90, and Anton Dvořak's Symphony No. 9 in E Minor, op. 95. The influence of Beethoven's String Quartet in C-sharp Minor, op. 131 resulted in the transition music from one movement to another, thus creating a continuous piece of music. Harmonic considerations were taken from more contemporary sources. In part of the suite, an original melody was composed over the jazz chord progression to Clifford Brown's Joy Spring. Importance lies in the understanding of what forms are characteristic of a traditional classical symphony, what defines these characteristics, and how they are traditionally employed in classical symphonies. Given these parameters, one can begin to analyze Suite for Jazz Band and Strings.


© Michael Lee Schwartz

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