History Of Jazz Essay

1749 words - 7 pages

Whether it is in a motion picture soundtrack, the back round to a conversation or setting the mood on a romantic evening with your significant other music plays an integral part in the lives of every American. Many people's lives, especially younger people's, revolves around the world of music in some way. As with most things in the world in the twentieth century, music as we knew it and know it now has changed significantly. From the hymns and prayers of church and the early days jazz and blues music has evolved to many different things. We now have enough genres or styles of music to need binomial nomenclature but just enjoying the music we have today is not enough. It is important to know ...view middle of the document...

This style was also revolutionary because the artists were individuals not a band or a group. One person was singing and playing an instrument and while other instruments accompanied the main performer was the focus.The blues style of music lead to the start of another style if music not heard before in the world, jazz. Jazz combined elements of not only blues but also ragtime and marching band music. This new style combined elements of the blues music with more of a band feeling but was revolutionary because jazz musicians and bands strayed away from written music. "They break from Western musical traditions, where the composer wrote a piece of music on paper and the musicians then tried their best to play exactly what was in the score. In a Jazz piece, the song is often just a starting point or frame of reference for the musicians to improvise around" (Alexander, 1). This type of improve illustrates the experimental nature of American artists and their yearning to break away from tradition. Jazz was also monumental because it was one of the first genres of music where both blacks and whites helped shape it. Although mainly pioneered by black artists, some of the first recordings of jazz were done by white bands. Innovators such as Louis Armstrong, Buddy Bolden, and Duke Ellington ushered in many waves of jazz artists that forever changed the way music was played and distributed. Since jazz is mainly improved very little sheet music was ever made which made it impossible for people to hear jazz unless they went to see a show live or listened to it on the radio, but due to the limitations of the new recording technology jazz recordings sounded very little like the actual sound. Although New Orleans is considered the birth place of jazz where they used woodwinds, horns, and drums it quickly spread to other cities, most notably Chicago and New York where the piano was used to elevate the music.The free style improve of jazz mirrored the rich, extravagant life style that many Americans were living at the time. The open minded spirit of the twenties and the start of the thirties helped to advance jazz music to the style now known as big band or swing music. Swing music is basically made up from a jazz band with more pieces and music to dance to. This is a far cry from the moody and slow rhythms of jazz heard before this. Although the swing sensation was built on jazz and blues it had many things different then the previous styles. Where jazz and blues artists were predominately backs the predominant artists the big band movement was lead by many white composers. Another example of the difference between the genres was the fact that the artists returned to more of a form approach, where jazz and some blues were improvisations the Swing style was more structured and the pieces were written down. Band leaders such as Glenn Miller, Fletcher Henderson, and Benny Goodman brought about this new style of music to the mainstream through the dance halls and...

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