Jazz Theory Bibliography

This database of scholarship in jazz theory was created by merging bibliographies compiled by Henry Martin and J. Kent Williams. Initial merging and editing was done in Spring 2007 by Mark David Shoun and supported by a grant from the Music Research Institute of the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. The current implementation was migrated to Carleton University in October 2018 by Adam Milling, the developer at Carleton’s School for Studies in Art and Culture, from the version created by Matthew Libera, Performing Arts Technology Consultant, UNCG School of Music, Theatre and Dance. In the summer of 2022, the current editor, James McGowan, and research assistant Kessler Douglas have made a significant update to the bibliography in both sources and website functionality.

This database contains bibliographic entries for research texts which, based on the judgement of the editors, make some contribution to scholarship in the field of jazz music theory. Within this database can be found texts primarily discussing traditional music-theoretical realms such as harmony, melody, rhythm, and form, but also (and often in tandem) interaction, perception, culture, and history. Some texts herein attempt to apply jazz-derived music theory to Russian symphonies or jazz-based pop, while others attempt to use various elements from Western European Art Music theory to analyze and illuminate canonic jazz music. Defining the borders of what is and what is not “jazz music theory” is no easy task and in many cases requires subjective judgment calls. Jazz music theory is a varied world, and the components of this database reflect this breadth.

Finally, while the database does not intend to discriminate on the basis of language, geography, institutional affiliation, or other similar parameters, it has a focus primarily on anglophone North American music research departments, and the contents of the database reflects this fact. There are undoubtedly a number of relevant texts out there which have been overlooked or missed. The database is an ongoing project which is maintained and updated periodically. Please send suggestions for additions and corrections using the subject header “Jazz Theory Bibliography” to the editor, Dr. James McGowan jamesmcgowan@cunet.carleton.ca, Associate Professor of Music and Carleton University Chair in Teaching Innovation.

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