Historical Development of the Art Form in a Specific Cultural Context

Document Type:Essay

Subject Area:Music

Document 1

I actually consider myself to be a worldly person, since my music interests include numerous music genres, ranging from the classics, jazz, to modern music genres such as alternative, electronic, EDM, and many more. Despite my varied interests in music, I have often paid particular attention to Jazz music. Jazz music occupies a particularly important role in my life. I consider it to have a soothing and uplifting effect. Its impact, coupled with its historical significance, is the main reason I was recently surprised when one of my friends expressed a misconstrued account of the history of jazz music. Generalizations, Principles, and Theories. This particular experience was extremely enlightening. I came to understand that when it comes to Jazz music, there are limited historical accounts from the time in which Jazz was introduced to the American music industry.

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As a result, people tend to accept common myths associated with the invention of jazz. In fact, most myths regarding the origin of Jazz music are a direct result of unreliable informants, who chose to excessively exaggerate the reality. However, I recalled that the elements that make up jazz music have developed over time, as a result of different factors acting on Jazz music. While Jelly Roy Morton’s music included all elements associated with jazz music, there were other musicians during the time, whose music contained similar elements. Essentially, he was only a part of the musical culture that was slowly establishing itself as Jazz music. Reflections. Whenever I think of inventing something, I often associate this with creating something that was originally absent.

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Essentially, while its predecessors, such as bebop music, tends to be rigidly structured, Jazz music allows the artist to create music in an unstructured manner and improvise as he goes. At the same time, Jazz music is also associated with swinging. Since Morton was not the creator of all these elements, then he cannot be considered to be the inventor of Jazz music. He was simply a significant part of a musical culture that went on to result in the creation of Jazz music. Testing and Application. Jazz music does indeed contain a lot of horns. For instance, the saxophones, trumpets and trambones are mostly used to play the melodies. The same case is true for improvised jazz. However, I also realized that jazz music also contains a myriad of other instruments, such as drums, piano and the bass, which are admittedly absent from European marching bands.

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Generalizations, Principles and Theories. All these materials, and processes and communication between the different soloists demonstrate a clear distinction between Jazz music and European marching bands. Testing and Application. There is no doubt that Jazz music was indeed influenced by European music styles. However, this influence is very limited. This is because as time passed, Jazz music, like other music genres such as Ragtime, started to acquire a more significant and stronger African influence. In fact, a good example of this effect is the sound made a saxophone playing a Jazz composition. An untrained ear might think the sound coming from a saxophone is the same, regardless of the individual playing it. However, this is not often the case, particularly in Jazz music.

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Each artists tends to create and execute his art form in a distinctive manner. This way, Jazz artists have managed to make notable contributions to Jazz music. In the same manner, Morton also left his mark on Jazz music, evident in his creation and executions, which is characterized by adding walking basses and between-the-beat accents. Impact of Culture on the Art Form Description of Concrete Experience. As my thoughts continued to wander, I also started to think of how Jazz music had become a dominant musical style in America. I am well aware of the fact that Jazz music has had a profound effect on America. However, my obsession with this particular genre also led to me learn that despite its increased popularity during the “Jazz Age”, Jazz was not always loved or welcomed by all Americans.

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At the time, the American culture was characterized by racial segregation. Taking over Jazz music and denying its African roots was simply a manifestation of this cultural norm. This prompted Africa-Americans to return to their roots and start to produce “traditional” jazz music. Another notable change was seen during the mid-twentieth century, when Jazz Music was modified to Bebop, a fast-paced form of Jazz. At this time, the American culture presented White Americans as the most ideal individuals, which led most young African-Americans to try and emulate the values and other defining qualities associated with being White. I already knew that the American culture influenced the development of jazz music. But what if there was an opposite and equal effect? Is it possible that Jazz music left a lasting impression on the American culture? Reflections.

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As soon as these questions popped into my mind, I started to think of the ways in which Jazz music might have influenced America’s way of life. Being a predominantly African art form, I started to focus on aspects of racism. I kept thinking of the fear that White people might have felt when they started to see an art associated with African-Americans rise so quickly to prominence. Jazz music has also become the content and inspiration for some of the greatest American films, literary works, paintings and photographs. Most notably, American culture started to embrace baggy pants for men, shorter dresses, skirts, and hair for women. These fashion changes were all a direct influence of Jazz music. Testing and Application.

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