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Jazz Music in America from 1900 to 1920 Essay Example

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Jazz Music in America from 1900 to 1920

The transatlantic slave trade can at least be partially understood to have contributed heavily to the influx of jazz instrumentation, style and culture from parts of West Africa. During this time, roughly half a million sub-Saharan Africans were taken to the Americas. These slaves were mainly from West Africa and the majority of them originated from the Congo River basin. With them, they brought strong musical traditions. As such, these rhythms had a counter metric structure; a unique aspect that reflected African speech patterns. In this way, Africans used a single-line melody with a call and response pattern within their music; this would later become evident with respect to the songs that developed on the plantations. According to music historians, slaves oftentimes celebrated and participated in their annual festivals such as harvest time by constructing musical instruments by utilizing available material to craft drums and various other percussion instruments. These were in turn utilised as a means of helping the performers to keep tempo with the music that was performed.Yet, traditional African music alone cannot be understood to have been the sole determinant of jazz music. Instead, in the early nineteenth century, black musicians learnt to play European musical instruments. Accordingly, they used these ‘new’ instruments in making parodies of European music into their own cakewalk dances. This cultural mimicry resulted in a counter mimicry that saw European- American minstrels blacken their faces and perform for audiences utilizing heavy doses of syncopation alongside European harmonies; allowing the audience to have a brief taste for what developments were taking place in the confluence between African and American/European musical styles.One of the most important socio-cultural elements of the development of jazz music has to do with the fact that African-Americans were largely shunned from society during the time in which this particular genre came to be developed. This unfortunate but unique occurrence culminated in a situation in which jazz music was virtually unconstrained and could develop in whatever way that artists of the times wanted it to. By means of contrast and comparison, other genres of music, throughout the course of history, were oftentimes constrained by prevailing theories of

Bibliography

Chinen, N 2013, 'Smooth sailing in a sea of evolution', New York Times, 7 July, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 8 May 2014.

Dostál, M 2012, 'Musically meaningful fitness and mutation for autonomous evolution of rhythm accompaniment', Soft Computing - A Fusion of Foundations, Methodologies & Applications, vol. 16, no. 12, pp. 2009–2026, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 8 May 2014.

Goodrum, MR 2011, 'God or gorilla: images of evolution in the jazz age', Annals of Science, vol. 68, no. 4, pp. 575–577, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 8 May 2014.

Hammond, G 2011, 'The evolution of jazz drumming', Teaching Music, vol. 19, no. 3, p. 64, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 8 May 2014.

Margasak, P 2010, 'Longtime jazz impresario captures Berlin's musical evolutions', Downbeat, vol. 77, no. 4, p. 19, Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 8 May 2014.

preview essay on Jazz Music in America from 1900 to 1920
  • Pages: 8 (2000 words)
  • Document Type: Research Paper
  • Subject: History
  • Level: Undergraduate
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