Developmental devices used to create coherence and unity in multi-movement suites in a modern jazz orchestra setting : an exegesis submitted to Massey University and Victoria University of Wellington in partial fulfilment of the degree of Master of Musical Arts in Composition, New Zealand School of Music
Solipsis is a six-movement composition for a seventeen-piece jazz orchestra. Each movement was
composed to possess its own unique qualities and be able to stand alone. Yet one of the main
objectives of this project was to create unity and coherence through the entire suite through the use of
non-musical ideas like programmatic themes and conceptual ideas as well as applying various musical
techniques such as melodic motifs, harmonic progressions and concepts, chord voicings and rhythm to
develop musical ideas.
As a way of creating a sense of unity between each of the pieces, each movement is inspired by
themes and motifs inherent in the film Synecdoche, New York, and musical concepts such as nonfunctional
harmony (modal harmony and atonal harmony) form the basis for much of the melodic and
harmonic material contained in Solipsis.
As preparation for the composition of Soilipsis I studied two three-movement suites from two of the
more prominent jazz orchestra writers working today; One Question, Three Answers written by Jim
McNeely, and Scenes from Childhood by Maria Schnieder. What follows is a detailed analysis of their
works followed by a comprehensive breakdown of my own Solipsis.