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What Does Donna Lee Mean?: An Analysis of the Construction of Meaning in Music.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Arts, Department of Musicology.
2004 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]


This essay examines the construction of the meaning of bassist Jaco Pastorius' solo on Charlie Parker's composition Donna Lee (Pastorius 1976) according to musicologist Jean-Jacques Nattiez' semiological tripartition theory. After the application of Nattiez' approach, the following conclusions can be established:

1. At the time of its conception, 1976, Donna Lee represented both a big step forward in the developments of the instrumental possibilities of the electric bass. In its refusal to submit to exclusively rhythmic tasks it gradually became an increasingly soloistic voice. This arrived to the point where it actually was conceivable for a bass player to take upon a three chorus long solo on a classic jazz standard.

2. Despite this innovative spirit which drives Pastorius artistic output, his Donna Lee pays hommage to the jazz tradition and to the group of stylistic constraints that today characterize what is known as bebop.

3. The final meaning of Donna Lee and of any other musical text goes beyond its historical vicissitudes and its immanent structures. Meaning is not imposed by the exterior but is constructed by the individual mind in a perception that is creative and over-productive in a circular dialog with the environment.The essay will also make reference to the theories of musical semioticians and cognitive psychologists such as James Gibson, Robert Hatten, Ruben Lopez Cano, José Antonio Marina, among others.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. , 36 p.
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-153734OAI: diva2:417889
Humanities, Theology
Available from: 2011-05-18 Created: 2011-05-18 Last updated: 2011-05-18Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

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