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Jazz & Popular Music. Essay

3735 words - 15 pages

As time goes by in music, style changes. Most societies are constantly learning to better themselves (with the acception of some cultures which purposefully stay at an ecomical plateau for the purpose of maintaining tradition and religion). Everyone would agree that music has changed since, say, the 19th century although not everyone would agree that that change is for the better. But with all these views and opinions aside, music is constantly in a state of change. I'm going to look at what causes these changes and specifically look at the evolution of the swing era. 96New Orleans, in the state of Louisiana, has been reknown for its contribution to Jazz. Many great Jazz musicians have been there in the past - Louis Armstrong, Freddie Keppard and Bill Johnson to name a few. It had a diverse cultural legacy of which music played a big part. Europeans brought over a lot of classical musicians as it was founded as a French Colony in 1718. It became part of America in 1803 during the Louisiana Purchase. In 1810, it was named the fifth largest U.S. city. 1861 marked the end of the American Civil War and in 1865, slavery was abolished against the will of the Con-federacy (Southern States). But during the war, the Union (Northern States) managed to take New Orleans and so black people therefore enjoyed freedom and had a headstart in the abolition of slavery. So New Orleans became a city where black people were free and the feeling was unique to the southern states. 161During the post-war reconstruction, troops were brought in. They brought their instruments with them and played military music during their work. When they left, they discarded their instruments on the streets for poor people, especially black people, to pick up and use. Out of this march music came a far more rhythmically advanced interpretation by the black community. There was a mounting enthusiasm for social dancing which, when mixed with the social atmophere of the time, fused to form what we call `rag-time`, meaning `ragged time`. It consisted of a strong pulse, inherited from marching music, but it added emphasis on the off-beats. Common ragtime music featured a piano, a banjo and a small wind section, probably a single trumpet, trombone and clarinet. Brass instruments became more popular and available during the reconstruction because of the marching bands. Ragtime is more popularly known for Scott Joplin's solo piano work. 151Musicians migrated to bigger towns to find work and planted themselves in clubs and dance halls 16"The large commercialized dance halls came to focus on morally restrained, often athletic social dancing and encouraged bands of arranged, big band music designed to stimulate it" (6) 27As musicians increased, band sizes increased. As clubs became more popular among the public, bands increased. There were more and more clubs every year and as the awareness of some popular bands and even single artists like Armstrong increased, the demand for the clubs increased....

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