The Elements Of Jazz

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As one of the most quintessentially American musical genres, jazz reflects the vast diversity of the United States’s active cultural and ethnic traditions. Though jazz did not distinguish itself as a distinct form until the late 19th century, it draws from other tributary sources, namely ragtime and blues. Indeed, an essential characteristic of jazz is its ability to constantly evolve and incorporate elements of antecedent and contemporary music that lend it vitality and richness. Defined by intense displays of personal expression and interpretation, jazz was a “creative force” with “widespread appeal to non-black musicians and audiences” and ultimately became a means of testing sociocultural hierarchies. Coming from a similar Southern background, …show more content…
The most common version of the blues has three chords in a twelve-bar form, a distinctive chord progression. Compared with the then-widespread European or Western styles of music, blues musicians began to vary the length of a song form, violating the traditional view that “a song must have a predetermined length.” This innovative style was increasingly incorporated in early jazz music, and eventually became coined as improvisation. In fact, blues musicians often focused on personal expression, without being limited by the need for precision and methodical technique. A multitude of potential variations in the notes allowed musicians to popularize the blues. In time, blues gained rapid popularity as a form of “mass entertainment,” selling millions of records every year by the 1920’s. One of the foremost pioneers in the blues was Gertrude “Ma” Rainey, an African-American vocalist known for her “clear intonation” and “declarative manner[isms] collaborated with influential jazz trumpeter, Louis Armstrong. Most notably, ragtime and blues share a common historical and folkloric context, the result of continued cultural interactions and exchanges in the African-American community. Further, both of these genres became popularized rapidly …show more content…
The distinctive characteristics and history of the United States shaped the musical atmosphere of the late 19th century and early 20th century and encouraged a close exchange of expressive ideas, styles, and structures. While ragtime and blues were both deeply rooted in the West African traditions brought to the United States by slaves, they were unmistakable genres and made separate contributions to the development of jazz, syncopation and improvisation among them. Jazz’s composition and style

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