We know it when we listen to it. Our feet tap along, our hips may move from side to side, and our fingers snap in sync with an unmistakable beat. It's easy to know what feels like swing music, but what is it that makes a song swing? Improvisation is common in live swing performances, but depends on the song, band or the band-leader.
Jazz improvisation Although jazz is considered difficult to define, in part because it contains many subgenres, improvisation is one of its key elements. These work songs were commonly structured around a repetitive call-and-response pattern, but early blues was also improvisational.
Classical music performance is evaluated more by its fidelity to the musical scorewith less attention given to interpretation, ornamentation, and accompaniment.
In contrast, jazz is often characterized by the product of interaction and collaboration, placing less value on the contribution of the composer, if there is one, and performer. New Orleans jazz, performers took turns playing melodies and improvising countermelodies.
Soloists improvised within these arrangements. In the bebop era of the s, big bands gave way to small groups and minimal arrangements in which the melody was stated briefly at the beginning and most of the song was improvised. Modal jazz abandoned chord progressions to allow musicians to improvise even more.
In many forms of jazz, a soloist is supported by a rhythm section of one or more chordal instruments piano, guitardouble bass, and drums. The rhythm section plays chords and rhythms that outline the song structure and complement the soloist.
Tradition and race[ edit ] Since the emergence of bebop, forms of jazz that are commercially oriented or influenced by popular music have been criticized.
According to Bruce Johnson, there has always been a "tension between jazz as a commercial music and an art form".
An alternative view is that jazz can absorb and transform diverse musical styles. For others, jazz is a reminder of "an oppressive and racist society and restrictions on their artistic visions".
Papa Jack Lainewho ran the Reliance band in New Orleans in the s, was called "the father of white jazz". Others from Chicago such as Benny Goodman and Gene Krupa became leading members of swing during the s. These musicians helped change attitudes toward race in the U.
Betty Carter was known for her improvisational style and scatting. Female jazz performers and composers have contributed throughout jazz history. Women began playing instruments in jazz in the early s, drawing particular recognition on piano. Women were members of the big bands of Woody Herman and Gerald Wilson.
From the s onwards many women jazz instrumentalists became prominent, some sustaining lengthy careers. Over the decades, some of the most distinctive improvisers, composers and bandleaders in jazz have been women.
Kemble from a century later In the late 18th-century painting The Old PlantationAfrican-Americans dance to banjo and percussion. By the 18th century, slaves gathered socially at a special market, in an area which later became known as Congo Square, famous for its African dances.
Robert Palmer said of percussive slave music: As late asa traveler in North Carolina saw dancers dressed in costumes that included horned headdresses and cow tails and heard music provided by a sheepskin-covered "gumbo box", apparently a frame drum; triangles and jawbones furnished the auxiliary percussion.
There are quite a few [accounts] from the southeastern states and Louisiana dating from the period — Some of the earliest [Mississippi] Delta settlers came from the vicinity of New Orleans, where drumming was never actively discouraged for very long and homemade drums were used to accompany public dancing until the outbreak of the Civil War.
However, as Gerhard Kubik points out, whereas the spirituals are homophonicrural blues and early jazz "was largely based on concepts of heterophony. In turn, European-American minstrel show performers in blackface popularized the music internationally, combining syncopation with European harmonic accompaniment.
In the mids the white New Orleans composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk adapted slave rhythms and melodies from Cuba and other Caribbean islands into piano salon music.
African rhythmic retention[ edit ] See also: Traditional sub-Saharan African harmony The " Black Codes " outlawed drumming by slaves, which meant that African drumming traditions were not preserved in North America, unlike in Cuba, Haiti, and elsewhere in the Caribbean.
African-based rhythmic patterns were retained in the United States in large part through "body rhythms" such as stomping, clapping, and patting juba dancing. Tresillo is the most basic and most prevalent duple-pulse rhythmic cell in sub-Saharan African music traditions and the music of the African Diaspora.The mysterious origins of jazz The anniversary of the first jazz recording years ago also marks the beginning of debates that are still ongoing, writes Christian Blauvelt.
Share on Facebook. Female jazz performers and composers have contributed throughout jazz history. Although Betty Carter, Ella The New Harvard Dictionary of Music states that swing is: "An intangible rhythmic momentum in jazz Swing defies analysis; claims to its presence may inspire arguments." an exploration of the possibilities of modal jazz which Stylistic origins: Blues, ragtime, spirituals, folk, marches, classical, music of West Africa.
Swing music, or simply swing, is a form of popular music developed in the United States that dominated in the s and s. The name swing came from the 'swing feel' where the emphasis is on the off–beat or weaker pulse in the music.
The history begins with the original Swing era in s and 30s America, when Big Bands took over pop culture. Swing music has lived on ever since, influencing each new generation of music. Swing dance is a broad term to describe a variety of partner dances evolving from the s to the present day.
The blues, vocal and instrumental, was and is a vital component of jazz, which includes, roughly in order of appearance: ragtime; New Orleans or Dixieland jazz; swing; bop, or bebop; progressive, or cool, jazz; neo-bop, or hard-bop; third stream; mainstream modern; Latin-jazz; jazz-rock; and avant-garde or .
The Scholastic History of Jazz resource site is full of audio clips, history, and research starters on the subject of jazz. Join Grammy-Award winning trumpeter and Artistic Director of Jazz at Lincoln Center Wynton Marsalis on a tour of jazz — see the people, read about the events, and listen to the music.