The era of the Roaring Twenties, which was the period between World War I and the Wall Street crash of 1929 held many societal changes. Many of these changes were greatly influenced by jazz music. During this time, the country was coming out of World War I and the attitude of most people was dark and dismal. Dance and music clubs became tremendously popular in an effort to improve the quality of life for many people.
After experiencing the death and destruction caused by World War I, young men and women were ready for a change. They wanted to forget about misery of wartime and instead, focus on enjoying themselves as much as possible. The youth of this time wanted to rebel against the restrictive pre-war attitudes of their parents and society. In an effort to challenge tradition, they exhibited what was considered, at the time, outrageous behavior. Jazz music served as a catalyst for the freedom that they craved.
The decade between 1920 and 1930 was a period of prosperity for the United States. During this time the nation’s wealth nearly doubled (Burns). The rural population also decreased as people moved into urban areas as the country became more industrialized. The cities were where the jobs were located as well as the promise of a more exciting lifestyle. This urbanization allowed people exposure to other cultures, including their music.
A large number of African Americans were included in this urban migration. They were moving from the rural south to northern cities and bringing with them a type of music that was different from anything the white northern youth had ever heard before. It was not the music of their parents and they embraced it. This music strayed away from classic forms, rejecting the chromatic scale and instead choosing discordant sounds (Samuel). The cities offered numerous opportunities to experience jazz. They were full of nightclubs and roadhouses which specialized in jazz music and stimulated artistic development, racial pride, and a sense of community (The American Republic).
Advancements in technology also facilitated the spread of jazz music into mainstream society. Modern appliances allowed for people to have more free time. They filled this free time with entertainment. More disposable income also allowed for the purchase of phonograph records which brought jazz to areas where no bands performed. The radio was also important to the dissemination of jazz. Unlike many clubs, which were still segregated, radio was not. While many African American station owners struggled to survive in a white society they eventually managed to bring jazz music into the homes of both white and black households (Burns).
Jazz music gave rise to several subcultures during the 1920’s. One of the most well-known being the flapper. The flapper represented the changing role of women in the post war society. Women during this time wanted greater independence. They entered the workforce in an attempt...