Jazz and Poetry

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There are many different types of music in the world, and each one is different because of certain characteristics that help to make that genre stand apart from all the others. One of these genres is Jazz. Jazz is a type of music that was created mainly by black Americans during the early twentieth century, and is a combination of American and African tribal music. There are many different characteristics that set Jazz apart from every other kind of music, but there are three main distinctions; the first is its particular combination of rhythm, melody and harmony, second is the subtle differences that make every Jazz player almost instantly recognizable and finally is the way that Jazz players interact and react with their surroundings, they do not simply play a designated set of notes.

The first characteristic that helps to make Jazz so different from other genres of music is the rhythm, melody and harmony. Not only do these apply to the music of the Jazz era though, these same rhythms can be found in some of the poetry of that time. One of the poems that demonstrates a particular rhyme is T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” In this Eliot does not stick to a common rhyme scheme like some of the more simple poems. He does use end-rhyme, but it does not alternate for every line, sometimes there are two or three lines that have no rhyme between two lines that do. It is because of this unorthodox rhyme scheme that his poem relates to the seemingly random rhythms of Jazz music. Another poem that shows harmony similar to that of Jazz is “The Tropics in New York” by Claude McKay. In this he uses a simple end-rhyme scheme, and alternates with each line. But the way he has written the poem it seems to flow endlessly, not causing the mind to drift or to become confused. These are only two out of the thousands of poems that display the first characteristic of Jazz music.

The next attribute of Jazz music is the subtle differences that musicians would...
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