Ethnomusicology 50b

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  • Topic: Jazz, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker
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  • Published : April 22, 2013
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Jazz in American Culture: Bop and Cool Jazz
Jazz music has developed into a complex and extraordinary phenomenon since its advent in the early twentieth century. This unique and sociocultural music movement developed many variations, each bringing to light talented musicians characterized by a particular technique or style of play. The audiences for each individual style of music were constantly evolving with their respective cultures, finding themselves gradually integrating this more foreign form of music into their everyday lives. These musicians became highly popularized, gaining success and inspiration as the jazz movement progressed. Two particular styles include bop and cool jazz, each of which differ in their musicality and execution, progressing with the cultural spirits and musicians of the time. Although both bop and cool jazz originated separately, they have acquired certain reoccurring themes within their compositions indicating that prior artistic influence played a factor in their development.

Although bop and cool jazz popularized in a similar time frame, their individual demographics and cultural associations differed drastically. Jazz music began its rise to popularity in the 1940s through a style known as bebop, or bop, following the wildly popular dance genre known as swing (Meadows 244). Within this postwar period we saw a high concentration of immigrants, primarily African Americans, seeking opportunity and discovering their individual identities (Meadows 243). This shift in culture brought to life a transition from popular swing music, opting instead for increasingly complex and rich forms of music with unprecedented layering of melodies and harmonies, creating sounds unheard of from any of its predecessors (Deveaux & Giddins 12). Music became more daring and musically adventurous, straying away from conventional norms with bands consisting primarily of black musicians located in New York (Deveaux & Giddins 11). Bop...
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