Billie and Ella

Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald were friends and influential singers of the Swing Era. Each singer possessed a unique musical style that continues to be emulated by today’s jazz singers. Listen to Billie Holiday’s Back in Your Own Back Yard and Ella Fitzgerald’s Flying Home. [Back In Your Own Back Yard (Gridley, Chapter 5, Page 83: Jazz Classics for Concise Guide to Jazz CD 1 track 11; Flying Home: Chapter 5, Page 86: Jazz Classics for Concise Guide to Jazz CD 1 track 12]. Respond to each prompt. Then, offer commentary regarding the similarities and differences between the examples.

  Back In Your Own Back Yard (Billie Holiday) Flying Home (Ella Fitzgerald) Similarities and Differences
Tempo (slow, medium, fast, dance-like?)      
Swing feel (Do you sense a weak, medium, or strong rhythmic pulse?  Which song has a stronger pulse?)      
Syncopation (Is there evidence of syncopation or tugging and pulling against the musical pulse?)      
Lyrics (What story, if any, is told by lyrics each artist sings?)      
Voice quality (Use adjectives to describe the different timbre of each singer’s voice.)      
Accompaniment (Which song uses a big band for accompaniment? A small group?  What featured instruments do you hear?)      
What elements of improvisation are evident in the musical accompaniment provided in each example?      
Other (What else comes to mind as you listen to this music?)      
Can you think of a modern artist or song that may have been influenced by each vocalist or each style? What similarities are apparent?      

 

 

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