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Erlandsson, Fredrik (ÅA): "Outside" as a conceptual and structural phenomenon in jazz improvisation

In my research I study the concept outside as a conceptual and structural phenomenon in jazz improvisation.

Jazz musicians often talk about the changes, referring to the chord sequences of a tune that are supplying the harmonic framework for improvisations. A musician will, according to style, personal preference etc., follow these harmonic boundaries, improvising inside the changes or break the boundaries, improvising outside the changes. Most of the writings on the theoretical aspects of jazz have studied inside playing, explaining harmonic relationships, setting up stylistic rules etc. Outside seems to be exclusively a musicians' term, with no set or standardized definition.

In the four articles that will form my doctoral thesis, I will not present a final definition of the term outside. Instead, I will through discourse analysis, music analysis and jazz theory study how the term outside is constructed among jazz musicians, jazz pedagogues and jazz critics.

The material used for the research are texts by musicians, pedagogues and academics, found in instructional books, on web forums and in academic publications. I also study transcriptions of improvised solos by trumpet players that in the sources are said to play in an outside idiom.