Duke Ellington Biography

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“Music is how I live, why I live and how I will be remembered.” These words were written in the autobiography of a man who meant these words when he said them (Bio.com). Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington, who is popularly known as Duke Ellington, is the man being talked about here (Encyclopedia). Duke had a warm childhood, a busy adulthood, and a legacy that will never be forgotten which included him composing the song “It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing” (Bio.com). Duke Ellington was born on April 29th, 1899 in Washington, D.C. He was born to two talented, loving parents and was raised in an African American, middle-class neighborhood (Bio.com). His mother’s name was Daisy Kennedy Ellington and his father’s name was James Edward …show more content…
Duke Ellington and his orchestra performed this particular song in 1943 and I was able to watch a video of this performance from that year (Bretodeau).
The video starts off with a man playing what looks like a violin. The first sound that the instrument emits makes the song seem like it is going to be slow and solemn. However, the man playing the instrument then quickly picks up his pace and the notes being played get higher and higher. This builds up anticipation that something exciting is about to happen.
Then suddenly, Duke starts playing the piano and the whole composition seems to change. The piano seems to be the most exaggerated instrument in this composition; perhaps this is because Duke wrote the composition himself knowing that he was going to be the one playing the piano. Likewise, Duke is also positioned at the front of the stage with his piano in the video, so this also makes you feel as if it is meant to be assumed that the piano plays a significant role in this composition. What Duke plays here at the beginning of the song seems to be a steady beat that plays throughout most of the song. This sound gives the whole song an enjoyable, light-hearted feel to it. This type of feeling is what Duke’s music seems to be known
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These instruments seem to be a part of the brass family, and there are also several musicians with stringed instruments. This makes you feel as if this large group of brass instrument musicians are all one big family playing in perfect harmony together. Another interesting thing that I noticed in this video is that each of these musicians seem to be using a plunger mute with their trumpet (Bretodeau). I have never seen this or heard of this until I was watching this music video and was wondering how they were making the sounds they were with their instruments. They are simply putting the plunger mute over their instruments in order to completely stop the noise coming out of the instrument for a short second. These sounds seem to make the song have a much faster beat to it. Because of this, the song is able to keep its exciting beat throughout the entire composition. This song makes me feel energetic and cheerful because of

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