Essay on Listening to the Marsalis Brothers

Essay on Listening to the Marsalis Brothers

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Wynton and Branford Marsalis are jazz musicians as well as siblings. Wynton plays the trumpet and Branford is a saxophonist. Both brothers grew up in, arguably, the same environment despite the one year age difference (2014, Wynton Marsalis Enterprises). Yet, these brothers have a very distinctive difference in speech and their language and word choices. Two interviews by Fresh Air are analyzed to evaluate the linguistics of each brother.
I decided to go about this assignment by making a table (table 1.) and marking how many times I heard or noticed these nine different vocal changes, as well as certain miscellaneous anomalies. The table was primarily a visual aid to help me see some of the patterns I was hearing. I am well aware of the fact that not every occurrence these vocal characteristics0 are documented on this table.
Vocal characteristics
Wynton Marsalis
Branford Marsalis
Post syllabic “r”

Deletion/ Use of post syllabic “l”
Deletion- | Use-
Deletion- Use- |
Existential “there” and “it”

“theta” stopping
||||| |

Southern monophthongization
Compound noun phrases

Y’all usage

Non-standard grammar

Copula deletion

Vocal anomalies
round about storytelling, under pronunciation
very direct, grammatically aware, more “caucasian”, “wit him”
Name dropping?
(Table 1. In the left column are characteristics or other vocal anomalies expressed by each individual. On the top row indicates the individual.)
Wynton Marsalis was very difficult to analyze because his storytelling stills are so good. Wyton was enjoyable to listen to and fun, maybe even more contemporary. I also thought it was interesting that his favorite composer was Beethoven. Wynton sounds much more like he is responding t...

... middle of paper ...

...n of any individual, let alone, listen to two very different individuals and then compare them, I don’t think I was prepared to listen to it as linguistically as it could have been listened too. Also, Wynton and Branford both have very unique qualities I doubt that catching each and every unique nuance is even possible without serious experience in linguistics. Clearly, the two individuals are different, not only vocally but musically. So, despite being brothers, only a few years apart, playing in similar, or even the same band at times, growing up together

Works Cited

Gross, Terry
1994 Wynton Marsalis Interview, Fresh Air, courtesy of Dr. Clark.
Gross, Terry,
2002 Branford Marsalis Interview, Fresh Air, courtesy of Dr. Clark
Wynton Marsalis Enterprises
2014 The Marsalis Family- a Jazz Celebration

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