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Jazz Music - Essay Example

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Jazz originated in the 20th century in the communities of the African American in the South America. It is basically a mixture of African and European music as it is influenced by the traditions of both, African and European music. The “jazz age” as it is called is the main era when the jazz music flourished; the twentieth century (Kirchner). Initially, the word "jazz" was used as a slang word and was only used to refer to the music in the city of Chicago. The influx of slave trade in the year 1808 brought millions of Africans to the United States of America. The slaves bought with themselves their music traditions (Cooke, 7-9). There were grand dinners and festivals arranged which featured the African dances in the city of New Orleans. Similar gatherings occurred in New England and New York. The African music lacked the harmony present in the European music but the rhythms reflected the similarity of the two music genres (Cooke, 11-14). An increasing number of black musicians eventually learnt how to play various European instruments in the early 19th century, especially the violin. The black slaves who had come as a result of the slave trade had by now learned the harmonic style of European music and incorporated it into their own music styles (Cooke, 14-28). Many historians agree to it that jazz began just prior to the 20th century and its birthplace is the city of New Orleans. Prior to the World War I, the Creole band which was a band of New Orlean black musicians toured many parts of the country and therefore, jazz music was introduced to many cities like this. The Dixieland band group created the very first example of Ned Orleans style jazz by recording the music. The very first Blues number was the “Dallas Blues” recorded in the year 1912. There were many hit songs from different musicians in the 1900’s including Saint Louis Blues by W.C Handy and Indiana by Ballard MacDonald. The latter was the first recording by the Dixieland jazz band. Until the 1950’s, jazz was considered as music intended mostly for dancing (Tyle). Jazz is more than hundred years old but the actual circumstances of the birth of this music are rarely known because the recordings of the first jazz band were lost and therefore it is difficult to assume as to how it sounded, but it is possible to create an account of its emergence by gathering scraps of tit bits and information pieces. Jazz music was different. In the beginning, many musicians had worried about the impact of Jazz on the young generation, as such its interest in the classical music but this proved wrong. The improvisation in jazz music over the years has made it adaptable to all kinds of audiences and listeners (Morton). The roots of jazz are definitely rooted in Africa but paradoxically, the culture of America is firmly rooted in Europe. Jazz musicians used various musical instruments available in America but which were largely of European origin. Many of the Jazz musicians were familiar with the musical theories of European classical music. By the year 1930's, jazz began being heard in the Europe as well. Django Rheinhardt was a Belgian guitarist who became the first non-American jazz innovator. Many jazz musicians have found exciting opportunities for artistic growth and career development in Europe than in the United States because of more concern over the arts education in the Europe. The beginnings of a unique European style of jazz emerged in France with the Club de France in 1934. The main instruments that were played included the steel stringed guitar, violin, and double bass; the guitar and bass playing the role of the rhythm section (Bill) Though jazz can be performed by almost any number and combination of instruments, the main instruments include saxophone, clarinet flute, vibraphone, trumpet, piano, guitar, banjo, tuba, double bass, bass guitar, and trombone and drum kit. These also cover most of the instruments which are introduced when children are being taught jazz ...Show more


This short essay is introducing the brief jazz history with proper citations and important facts that have influenced the jazz music that we know today…
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Jazz Music Essay essay example
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