Listening To The Marsalis Brothers Essay

1139 words - 5 pages

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

Southern monophthongization
|
||
Compound noun phrases
|

Y’all usage
|

Non-standard grammar
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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 to a question with the intent to eventually answer. Though, he doesn’t seem to really be interested in immediately answering. He does so much storytelling, but eventually he answers the question. The question could have been answered very directly and didn’t necessarily require a story. However, I thought it was enjoyable to listen too.
Wynton certainly expresses African- American vernacular english. He expresses a lot of “theta” stopping. Many “th” words have been replaced with “d”, ie. dis, dat, dese, dos. He also uses vocabulary I would probably stereotypically associate with being African-American such as “booty”. There are also quite a few examples of the use of “there” or “it” being an unknown place. He does also express many qualities of the Southern United States. At one point he says “...it was like typical southern life for the American negro at that time.” This statement makes me think that Wynton is aware of his speech and what he is saying. It is almost as if Wynton is intentionally using African-American vernacular english.
Branford Marsalis has many side projects that do not always accompany the Jazz genre. For example, he has been involved with hip hop, pop, and funk musical projects. This led me to...

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