The Contemporary Jazz Composer: The Importance of the Conception of the Source Material in the Compositional Process
Masters’ degree in music report - Advisor: Ph. D. Ricardo Futre Pinheiro

This study is focused on the compositional process of current jazz composers, more specifically on the starting idea and the conception of the basic material for a new composition, or as Ed Neumeister named it when describing his compositional process, “the source material”. The aim of the exploratory study is to attempt to find an initial approach to a comprehensive way of understanding how jazz composers deal with the creative process in the first stage of composition. For this purpose, qualitative research was performed by interviewing 6 Portuguese jazz composers with distinguished careers. Taking the above into account, the ultimate objective of this project was to try to develop a variety of compositional methods that can help to deal with the creative aspects of the starting point of a new composition. The results allowed to design a map that can be applied as a composer’s guideline to approach the compositional process, at the same time as for the analysis of the creative process of the first stage of composing music. Finally, the above-mentioned map was used to analyze one original piece regarding the compositional process during the conception of the source material.

Keywords: Compositional Process, Contemporary Jazz Composition, Creativity, Improvisation

Contemporary Jazz: Understanding Jazz Composers’ Current Reality
Published by CESEM 2022 – Composing Music Today - ISSN 2795-4803

This paper focuses on the observation of current reality of contemporary jazz where composition and written music are taking on great importance. It consists in an empirical study which aims to elaborate a general view of the main factors that influence the work of current jazz composers. This perspective on today’s jazz allows to consolidate a starting point for more specific and in-depth research. The objective is to understand which are the issues that contemporary jazz composers face today; the compositional techniques; the implications of improvisation and performance in the composition and the aesthetics boundaries of jazz as a musical genre with American origins but adopted by cultures from all around the world. The results may be a subject of interest to educators, students, musicians, composers and researchers that work in the field.

Keywords: Contemporary Jazz, Composition, Improvisation, Performance, Jazz Composers, Jazz Aesthetics, Compositional Process, Jazz Composition Techniques