The Essence of Jazz - A Composer's View
Essay from the year 2011 in the subject Musicology, , language: English, abstract: In this brief survey I do not want to go much into the thorny problems of the origins of jazz, or of whether it is European or African or both. Those questions have been exhaustively dealt with by scores of earlier commentators, without definite unassailable answers ever being produced. There seem to be as many views on this subject as there are jazz experts ready to expound on them. All that I will say is that to me, jazz does not sound either European or African, but seems to be American in its sonorities, its harmonic language, and its treatment of rhythm. In the same way that America assimilated cultural influences from both Europe and elsewhere to produce a distinctive style in its architecture, its language and its art, so it blended disparate musical elements to produce a quintessentially American music- i.e. what we now call Jazz.
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19th century 20th century added note chords American music arrangements basic types bass blues scale borrowed chromatic classical musician classically trained complex composed composer’s dance dissonant distinctive drumming early jazz elements ESSENCE OF JAZZ European classical music European or African examination example explicit feature flattened fusion harmonic progression harmonic structure Hindemith improvisation indispensable influence on jazz inspiration Jack Teagarden jazz ensemble Jazz harmony jazz musician jazz musician’s jazz or blues jazz performance jazz piece Jazz players jazzy keys e.g. kinds Latin American listened literacy major and minor melody minor scale modal Modern mood Mulligan normally notation onward origins of jazz Orleans pentatonic played polyphony popular music produce proficient pulse resembles rhythm section rhythmic saxophone serious skill sonorities sound spirit of jazz steady Stravinsky strong beat styles of jazz swing Swung 1/8th notes syncopated rhythms tempo tend term theme unvarying usually written symbol