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“Singing Was My Life”

“Singing Was My Life”

(p.11) Chapter 2 “Singing Was My Life”
Creating the Jazz Solo
Vic Hobson
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter describes Armstrong’s boyhood spent singing in a street quartet. One of the songs that he sang was “Swanee River”: a song that was a staple with barbershop singers. This chapter discusses the differences between barbershop arranging, as described by Sigmund Spaeth, and conventional quartet arranging using “Swanee River” as the principle example. This chapter also discusses the relationship between barbershop cadences – or “cracking up a chord” in the vernacular – and “blue notes.”

Keywords:   “Swanee River”, Sigmund Spaeth, barbershop cadences, Cracking up a chord, Blue notes

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