History Of Jazz And Classical Music.

1594 words - 6 pages

History of Jazz and Classical MusicUpon entering a modern record store, one is confronted with awide variety of choices in recorded music. These choices not onlyinclude a multitude of artists, but also a wide diversity of musiccategories. These categories run the gamut from easy listening dancemusic to more complex art music. On the complex side of the scale arethe categories known as Jazz and Classical music. Some of the mostaccomplished musicians of our time have devoted themselves to alifelong study of Jazz or Classical music, and a few exceptionalmusicians have actually mastered both. A comparison of classical andJazz music will yield some interesting results and could also lead toan appreciation of the abilities needed to perform or compose thesekinds of music.Let's begin with a look at the histories of the two. The musiccalled classical, found in stores and performed regularly bysymphonies around the world, spans a length of time from 1600 up tothe present. This time frame includes the Renaissance, Baroque,Classical, Romantic and Contemporary periods. The classical period ofmusic actually spans a time from of 1750 to 1800; thus, the termClassical is a misnomer and could more correctly be changed to WesternArt Music or European Art Music. European because most of the majorcomposers up till the 20th century were European. Vivaldi was Italian,Bach was German, Mozart and Beethoven were Austrian; they are some ofthe more prominent composers. Not until the twentieth century withGershwin and a few others do we find American composers writing thiskind of art music. For the sake of convention, we can refer to WesternArt Music as Classical music.Jazz is a distinctively American form of music, and it's historyoccupies a much smaller span of time. Its origins are found in theearly 1900s as some dance band leaders in the southern U.S. beganplaying music that combined ragtime and blues. Early exponents of thisdance music were Jelly Roll Martin (a blues player) and Scott Joplin(ragtime). The terms "Jazz" and "Jazz Band" first surfaced in the year1900. Some say this occurred in New Orleans, although similar musicwas played at the same time in other places. The most prominentexponents of this early music, called Dixieland Jazz, included LouisArmstrong and Sidney Bechet. After World War I, Jazz music had evolvedand was aided by the development of the recording industry. Thesmall dance band ensemble grew into the larger orchestra known as the"Big Band". The music of the Big Bands became known as "Swing." Two ofthe more famous Swing band leaders were Tommy Dorsey and Harry James.In the late 40s and through the 50s, a different kind of Jazz becamepopular. This music, played by a very small ensemble, was much moresophisticated and complex . Its rich harmonic changes and melodiccounterpoint were not conducive to dance. It became known as "Bop,"with Charlie Parker and Dizzie Gillespie being the early proponents.In the last twenty years there has been a combination...

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