Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Williams, J. Kent. “Oscar Peterson and the Art of Paraphrase: The 1965 Recording of Stella by Starlight.” In Annual Review of Jazz Studies 9 1997-98, ed. Edward Berger, David Cayer, Henry Martin, and Dan Morgenstern, 25-43. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2000.

André Hodeir was perhaps the first writer to apply the term paraphrase to jazz. He used the term in 1956 to describe a type of improvised melody that lies between two extremes: the unaltered, original melody (called the “head” by jazz musicians) and the ostensibly new melody (called the “chorus phrase”) created by the jazz improviser over the harmonic framework of the original melody. In jazz pianist Oscar Peterson’s 1965 recording of Victor Young’s 1946 song Stella by Starlight, Peterson begins with a version of Young’s melody that stays close to the original, but departs from it sufficiently so as to warrant being designated as paraphrase. In the 1960s Peterson continued to begin performances of Stella by Starlight with this same paraphrased version of the song. It thus represents Peterson's “composed” version of the original melody.

Works: Peterson: Stella by Starlight (25-43).

Sources: Young: Stella by Starlight (25-43).

Index Classifications: 1900s, Jazz

Contributed by: Scott Grieb

Except where otherwise noted, this website is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
Creative Commons Attribution License