Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Music Honours


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)


Faculty of Education & Arts


This dissertation intends to deconstruct and analyse specific structural techniques employed by members of Miles Davis' second great quintet, which consisted of Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, and Tony Williams. The motivation behind the selection of structural techniques as the basis of this dissertation lies in its ability to clearly articulate a large aspect of the group's amazing flexibility as an ensemble. The specific areas of analysis are: tempo feel changes, tempo fluctuations, and texture changes. The recordings in focus are 'Autumn Leaves' from the album 'Miles In Berlin', and three selections from the influential live recording of two nights from the Plugged Nickel jazz club in Chicago in December of 1965. An analysis of 'Autumn Leaves' will look at tempo fluctuations and texture changes. This will be presented in graphic format, and specific musical excerpts will be included to highlight how the ensemble achieves these changes and create interest. From the Plugged Nickel recordings, an analysis of two ballads, 'Stella By Starlight' and 'I Fall In Love Too Easily' will look at the group's treatment of tempo feel changes. Additionally, analysis will be conducted of tempo fluctuations that occur during Shorter and Hancock's solos on 'No Blues' from the second night of recording. Again, these tempo alterations will be presented in a graphic format, and excerpts will be provided to demonstrate specific techniques used by the band in achieving these changes in feel or speed. A discussion of the possible influences on the group around this time - musically and socially- will be included as a way of contextualising the musical approaches of the group. Further, a discussion will be included focusing on two pieces from the author's graduating recital, discussing the level of success in applying techniques similar to those that Davis' quintet applies on the recordings in focus.