Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Music (Honours)


Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA)


Faculty of Education and Arts

First Supervisor



This dissertation examines significant aspects of rhythm in the music and improvisations by the trio of the seminal bassist Avishai Cohen through transcription and analysis of a selection of his recorded works. Repertoire examined has been selected from Cohen’s Gently Disturbed and Seven Seas releases to demonstrate some important devices commonly used by the group. This study is fuelled by interest in the trio’s use of rhythmic devices to create free-flowing and consistently interesting music despite rhythmic complexity inherent to the compositions. In the context of modern jazz, the group’s rhythmic approach is more complex and unique than its treatment of harmony, and this contrast is discussed briefly to demonstrate their emphasis on rhythm. The concept of ‘parallel meters’ is defined as the juxtaposition of two or more meters of the same temporal length with the same basic subdivision for deliberate exploitation by the soloists and accompanists. Specifically, this concept is only applicable to rhythmic structures established by the composition, preventing confusion with typical cross-rhythms. Prevalent rhythmic devices in the improvisations of the trio have been identified through analysis of transcribed solos and the structures of their corresponding solo forms. The identified devices include the exploitation of parallel meter structures for rhythmic diversity and interactive dialogue, 4/4 phrasing in 6/4, rubato-like phrasing, exploitation of long and short meters, frequent syncopation, use of crossrhythms and short additive-meter phrases, rhythmic development of motifs, rhythmically repeated notes, expansion and contraction, and trading-based solo sections. From this list, devices that are specifically idiosyncratic of the trio’s approach to rhythm have been identified and discussed.

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