Jazz Timeline (1900-1955)
Roots of Jazz:
It had blend elements of several cultures. First, West African emphasis on improvisation, percussion and call-and –response techniques. Second, American brass band influence on instrumentation. Third, European harmonic and structural practice. Blues and Ragtime were immediate source.
Ragtime piano music is generally in duple meter and is performed at a moderate march tempo. The pianist’s right hand plays a highly syncopated melody, while the left hand steadily maintains the beat with and “oom-pah” accompaniment. A ragtime piece usually consists of several melodies that are similar in character. The forms of ragtime are derived from European marches and dances, its rhythms are rooted in African American folk music. Early jazz musicians often used ragtime melodies as a springboard for their improvisations. The syncopations, steady beat, and piano style of ragtime were and important legacy for jazz
Blues refers both to a form of vocal and instrumental music and to a style of performance. Blues grew out of African American folk music, such as work songs, spirituals, and the field hollers of slaves. The original “country blues,” performed with guitar accompaniment, was not standardized in form or style. Vocal blues is intensely personal, often containing sexual references and dealing with the pain of betrayal, desertion, and unrequited love. The lyrics consist of several 3-line stanzas, each in the same poetic and musical form. The first line is sung and then repeated to roughly the same melodic phrase; the third line has a different melodic phrase and text. A blues stanza is set to a harmonic framework that is 12 bars in length. This harmonic pattern, known as 12-bar blues, involves only three basic chords: tonic, subdominant, and dominant. Each stanza of the text is sung to the same series of chords, although other chords may be...
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