Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Analysis of Motivic Development within a Drum Solo: John Bonham in “Moby Dick”
by Diamantides-Belgum, Nicholas, M.M., California State University, Long Beach, 2019, 29; 13862642
Abstract (Summary)

Drum solos have been an integral part of a drummer’s duties as a musician since the rise of jazz’s popularity. However, absence of distinct pitch limits drummers to technical, rudimentary playing. Rather than utilizing key areas, scalar passages, and note-heavy runs, drummers tend to rely on speed and technical ability as a means of soloing. However, a keen musician behind the drumset can take technical ability and apply it to a musical context in order to create a solo that acts more as a narrative. One example of a musically able drummer would be John Bonham, late drummer for hard rock band Led Zeppelin. In John Bonham's recorded drum solo from "Moby Dick," he uses a mix of rudiments, extended techniques, and a motivic development, which are all expanded upon during live performances, in order to create a soloistic narrative.

In this paper, I will analyze the techniques used by John Bonham in the recorded version of “Moby Dick,” from Led Zeppelin’s second album in 1969. The analysis will uncover various musical attributes that point to a sense of musicality: phrasing, accent placement, extended techniques, form, etc. I will also analyze Bonham’s “Moby Dick” solo live from the film The Song Remains the Same, filmed in Madison Square Garden in 1973, four years after the release of the album.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Atkatz, Ted
Commitee: Lindau, Elizabeth, Briggs, Ray
School: California State University, Long Beach
Department: Bob Cole Conservatory of Music
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 81/4(E), Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Performing Arts
Keywords: Bonham, Drum, Moby Dick
Publication Number: 13862642
ISBN: 9781687990457
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