The Swing Thing Analysis

1460 Words 6 Pages
The BBC film documentary The Swing Thing, discusses the history of the Swing era and its process of inspiration among the music industry, American culture, and the revolution of the youth culture; along with stories of how this style of jazz became the first and most globally popular form of music in history. The film also depicts the overall development Swing had towards dance and the elements of music, such as creating a compelling rhythmic feel to the melody, for instance, “The riffs starts you can see the audience is lighting up, and by the end of it their standing dancing and it’s the physical effect that it has on people. That’s why swing music is great,” (00:00:32-00:00:42). Furthermore, the documentary explains the accordance Swing …show more content…
In the early 1920’s, before Swing was created much of the music had been divided into two completely different styles, due to the fact of segregation being present in the U.S.; the White culture developed from European dances and music, such as, “Fox-Trots and Polkas,” (00:03:59-00:04:02). In addition, the Black culture focused more on their form, “From Africa and the jazz from New Orleans,” (00:04:02-00:04:05). However, a few years after WWI Paul Whiteman who was the king of White dance bands, created an organized band known as Smooth Big Band— which consisted of jazz elements and classical music. According to the documentary, Paul Whiteman was the reason for how Swing started in 1924 when he instructed George Gershwin to write “Rhapsody in Blue”, “The first pieces of symphonic jazz… A style of music that would influence classical composers,” (00:05:52-00:06:21). Moreover, the film explained the great importance Louis Armstrong’s inspiration had towards the development of Swing music, such as, the way he utilized improvisation and the feel of swing in his music. Armstrong’s style reflected a mixture of melodies—New Orleans Jazz, played a role in …show more content…
Goodman was able to make Swing go mainstream as well as bring changes towards racial prejudices, being that he was the first to play alongside African-American musicians. In the film, it was explained that Benny Goodman’s music became very popular with the youth (teenagers) in addition to his music being too perplexed for the adult crowd/audience. In 1935, Goodman set out on a road tour with his all White Big Band; although the tour started out badly it finally ended up turning into a major success when they played in Los Angeles, California at the Palomar Ball Room, “An estimated of 10,000 people showed up to hear the Goodman Band. Apparently his nationwide radio show had been airing in California, people had been listening,” (00:48:50-00:49:01). Swing became such an influential aspect towards the younger generation that it was adopted as a part of the youth’s lifestyle. The dances associated with Swing portrayed the music as dangerous because of where the form originated from and made young adults act in immoral ways that it causes harm to themselves. For example, the video shows a clip of a psychiatrist explaining how toxic Swing can be towards people, “Swing music acts as a narcotic and makes them forget reality, it is like taking a drug,”

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