Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

David Code

Second Advisor

Tom Knific

Third Advisor

Dr. Stanley Pelkey

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


The musical style that came to prominence in US in the 1940s, known as bebop, is a style that is remembered and discussed in terms of its harmonic characteristics and its notable soloists. This is the view that is taken in most scholarly writing on the music and also the view that is taught to most students of jazz today. However, there is arguably an equally if not more profound evolution in the rhythmic language of this music which is almost totally un-discussed. By digitally analyzing recordings, tracing musical and personal influence, and by examining related technological developments, it becomes clear that there are unrecognized progenitors of the bebop style and un-cited factors in its inception. In particular, Oklahoma City bassist Walter Page is largely responsible for the development of an updated model of musical pulse, which paved the way for the musical developments that would follow. This paper discusses the unidentified musicians and un-cited rhythmic devices vital to the bebop revolution, in order to present a more complete picture of the birth of this music.

Included in

Musicology Commons