Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Dave Brubeck (b. 1920) is best known as a jazz composer, pianist, and bandleader, but he has also composed dozens of works that reach beyond the realm of jazz. His Chromatic Fantasy Sonata represents a milestone in his compositional activity, artfully fusing elements from European art music and the American jazz idiom. The work's subtitle ("inspired by J. S. Bach") makes clear the influence of the Baroque master, but gives no hint of the thoroughgoing jazz influences Brubeck also included in the piece. The Chromatic Fantasy Sonata was originally commissioned in 1988 by the chamber group An die Musik (oboe, violin, viola, cello, and piano), but Brubeck has rewritten and rearranged portions of it for a variety of ensembles, including the Brodsky String Quartet, the Dave Brubeck Quartet, and the London Symphony Orchestra. The transcription of the work for solo piano, completed by John Salmon, was published in 2003. The analysis presented here is based on Salmon’s transcription. This composition was chosen as subject for because it best represents my scholarly interest in music that combines classical and jazz traditions. No extended analytical study of the sonata exists. The investigation of this unique work will shed considerable light on Brubeck’s eclectic style and clarify his assimilation of the often noted classical tendencies in his music. Following an account of the genesis of the work and a brief description of selected sketches from the Brubeck Archive at the University of the Pacific, this essay provides a detailed analysis of each of the Sonata's four movements and a concluding summary. Included are considerations of the work's form, harmonic language, thematic and motivic constructions, and allusions to the works and the name of Bach.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Smyth, David H.



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Music Commons