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Gender and Success: Big band and Dance Pop, Inception to Present Day - Essay Example

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Gender and Success: Big band and Dance Pop, Inception to Present Day

Vocal groups such as The Boswell Sisters were able to make a decent living performing their signature arrangements in front of their big band style backup band. But while the ladies arrangement work was going mostly unnoticed, little did they know that all the while they sang in the spot light but arranged in obscurity, that they would be instrumental in laying the groundwork for an emerging genre of music that would become known as “swing” (Anyswinggoes.com, 2006). Men, on the other hand, had no limit to the accomplishments they could earn on the Big Band circuit. Big Band work was steady, and the demand for evening entertainment and danceable tunes was exceeding the supply of genuinely talented available performers by a fair margin. If you were reasonably talented and sufficiently motivated, there was almost no limit to the level of fame you could achieve as a man in the genre of Big Band. Most bandleaders doubled as the primary vocalist, and one by one they paraded and preened around the stages of America like peacocks; showing their feathers for all to see while making as much noise as possible in order to attract attention. While many bandleader / vocalists also composed arrangements for the band as well, relatively quiet work could also be found in the fields of arranging and musicianship if you did not have any goals of becoming the bandleader / primary vocalist, and you didn’t mind travel (Swingmusic.net). In the modern genres of Big Band and Jazz revival, female artists such as Amy Winehouse and Adele distinguish themselves thoroughly with larger than life personas and strong, distinctive voices that are as much of a trademark of their sound as the arrangements they sing to. The ladyfolk are no longer relegated to standing in front, while looking and sounding appealing, though they do that adroitly as well. The new breed of female Big Band and Jazz vocalists stamp their every song with the sheer force of their will and personality, not unlike the male bandleaders of old. Musicians still tend to be male, and so do arrangers at times, but the female voices of Big Band and Jazz are overpowering convention and gender roles, taking the lion’s share of writing and arranging credit for any personally written compositions. The gentlemen seem to be fading into the background of Big Band and Jazz as the ladies step forward towards the spotlight. Male bandleader / vocalists are about as common as their female counterparts nowadays, and more and more male jazz vocalists are leaning towards a more stripped down, intimate small club feel with minimal orchestration and musicians required, with most turning their backs on the bombastic production of the Big Band genre in all of its glory. The genre of Dance Pop seems nearly inverted in comparison to Big Band, regarding traditional gender roles and conventional gender portrayal. In the evolution of American music, jazz morphs into what will one day become ‘rock & roll’ around the 1950s, with white musicians such as Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly covering songs that were conventionally thought of as ‘black songs’ coming from a Jazz and R&B background, but in a new rock style that was previously unheard. Come the 60s, there was an ...Show more

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[YOUR FULL NAME HERE] [YOUR PROF NAME HERE] [YOUR CLASS NAME HERE] 13 December 2011 Gender and Success: Big Band and Dance Pop, Inception to Present Day The role and portrayal of gender in American music has taken many forms and fashions. From the traditional to the outlandish, the acknowledged to the avant-garde, nowhere is this better illustrated than in the contrast of the genres of Big Band and Dance Pop…
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Gender and Success: Big band and Dance Pop, Inception to Present Day essay example
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