Confluent music is music in which there is a flowing together of musical elements normally associated with the classical tradition and those normally associated with the pop music tradition. This study concentrates on confluent works which illustrate the combination of jazz and classical music, with occasional references to works which combine rock and classical music.
There are two basic approaches to confluent composition. The first and most common approach seeks to isolate and extract specific elements of jazz and classical styles and then fuse these into a new style. This type of confluence results in an “integrated” confluent work. Some composers believe, however, that the contributory styles of jazz and classical music should be juxtaposed, with each style retaining its distinct identity. This approach to confluence results in an “adjacent” confluent work. There are two basic methods of achieving this adjacent confluent style. The first, the adjacent-vertical style, consists of the jazz style and classical style sounding simultaneously.
The second, the adjacent-horizontal style, consists of the two basic musical styles appearing alternately. Ten confluent works by eight classical composers are analyzed in some detail in an attempt to gain insight into the musical structures of the works. These are analyzed for their structural organization, their harmonic-tonal content, their rhythmic and melodic styles, and any timbral or textural elements which create confluence. Included are three works by Gunther Schuller, and one each by Rolf Liebermann, Meyer Kupferman, Leonard Bernstein, Morton Gould, Milton Babbitt, Larry Austin, and Werner Heider. Similarly, five works by five composers normally associated with the jazz world are analyzed in detail. Represented are Lalo Schifrin, Dave Brubeck, John Lewis, Don Ellis, and Andre Hodeir.