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Jazz, Blues and Ragtime

A unit which may be used to teach Nat 3/4/5 up to 3rd year BGE (Broad General Education) in Scottish Schools.
by

Ellen Smith

on 26 October 2015

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Transcript of Jazz, Blues and Ragtime

American Unit - S2
I've got the Blues...
The Blues originated in America around when people were being taken slaves.

During the 18th and 19th century, thousands of people were shipped across to America from Africa. The conditions were dire and as a result, many Africans were lost before even reaching American shores.

Those who had endured the hardship were then sold at auctions, chained up and forced to work in the cotton fields.
Let's go back to basics:
The Blues in their most basic form originated from an
Improvised
song which told of the hardship of slave life.

As it developed, the song became a
set pattern
of
three
lines (one line sung twice with a final line meant to represent a resignation or wish)

A
solid rhythm
was a key element to Blues Music, and much of it was
syncopated
.

It was common on the plantations for a 'leader' to
call
out the first line and for the rest of the slaves to respond by singing the same line back. This was known as "
Call and Response
"




12 Bar Blues:
3, 2, 1...GO!
Coming round is a scrunched up piece of paper - if you catch it, write down one thing you know about
Jazz
, then pass it on!
Snowballin'!
Listen to this next excerpt:
As well as the Call and Response element of the Blues, there was also a distinctive chord pattern in the music:

C / / / C / / / C / / / C / / /

F / / / F / / / C / / / C / / /

G / / / F / / / C / / / C / / /


This progression of chords can be applied to any key, so as to suit different voice types and instruments.
Quick Recap:
Key words so far:


Improvised
- The performer makes up music during the actual performance, they don’t have the melody written down to help, although there may be suggested chords as a guide
Call and Response
- Where an appointed leader sings or '
calls'
out a phrase and the rest
'respond'
by singing the phrase back.
12 Bar Blues
: a distinctive chord pattern lasting 12 bars developed by the slaves of America during their time of oppression.
The growth of Blues:
Although slavery was finally abolished in America as a result of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865, the music which had developed throughout the long years of slavery and had been passed down through the generations remained strong.

They eventually moved from voices to other instruments such as
trumpet
,
saxophone
and
clarinet
, which were accompanied by
piano
,
double bass
and
drums kit
.
Walking bass:
Another distinctive element of not only Blues music but all Jazz is the Walking bass.

It was developed from the original 12 Bar blues pattern, the notes of the chord were broken up and played one after the other to give the music a solid and
steady rhythm
.

Listen while it's played:
Syncopation
- Strongly accented notes playing off or against the beat. Syncopation occurs in all kinds of music
Less Talk, More Glock!
Now it's your turn. Grab your first or second instrument and collect your music, we're gonna play the Blues...
Here's something a little extra:
As Blues music continued to develop, a significant structure was apparent.

The 12 bar blues and the walking bass were still the main elements of Blues Music, as well as syncopated melodies.

This main melody in Blues music, and in Jazz in general is known as
The Head
.

After the head is played (usually twice through) the bass piano and drums (the
backline
or rhythm
section
) play the 12 bar blues while a soloist
improvises
over the repeated chord pattern.
Bring it all back now:
Today's Aims
- To explore the
history
and
origins
of the
Blues music

- To explore different
elements
of
Blues music

- To continue with
Solo Performing
Today we have:

Gained an understanding of
Blues
Music and it's origins

Have an understanding of the concepts,
Call and response, 12 bar blues, walking bass, syncopation
and
improvisation

Can confidently play
The Head
of
Freddie Freeloader
and add
improvisations
.
Freddie Freeloader
What do you notice?
Highlight one thing you notice about it?
For Next Week:
Search "
Blues Scale
" on the NQ Music page

Look at the notes and learn them on your chosen instrument.

Bonus: Choose a jazz musician and listen to one of
their pieces - take note of your choice.
I will check your work!!!
Listen out for both
Walking Bass
and the
12 Bar Blues
in this next expert.
Let's recap:
So far we have looked at:

The
Slave trade
of the
18th
and
19th century
in
America
.
The
origin
of
Blues
Music as a result of this.
We have also covered the following concepts:
Call and response
Walking Bass
Syncopation
12 Bar Blues
The Head
Improvisation
We have also looked at:
The Head
of Miles Davis'
Freddie Freeloader

Improvising
using a set rhythm and the
tonic
of the chords.
Todays Aims:
We are going to apply our knowledge of Blues Concepts to exploring more of
Jazz
music.

We shall explore the
evolution
of
Swing
and look at its importance during
WWII
.

Look at the music of
Glenn Miller
.


It's all change....
With the
liberation
of the slaves in
1865
as a result of the
Thirteenth

Amendment
, many of the
freed
African Americans
migrated
from all over to the larger cities, most notably to
New Orleans
.

Each influx of migrants brought with them
different cultures
and of course different
musical styles
, such as
Blues
,
Dixieland
and
Ragtime
- in essence,
Jazz Music

With such a melee of styles,
Jazz
music
grew
dramatically in popularity and quickly
shed
it's
image
of being the music of the
slaves only
.




It don't mean a thing....
...if it ain't got that swing!
Inevitably this
increase
in the
popularity
of jazz music brought with it an
increase
in the amount of
musicians
.

Bands
expanded
in size from
6-7 players
to much bigger ensembles, with as much as
30 musicians
.

As a result of so many musicians playing together, the
music
tended to be
written out
rather than
improvised
or
learned by ear
.

These bands came to be known as
Swing bands
or
Big Bands
, and proved
popular
among all races.


Glenn Miller
The Andrews Sisters
Scat Singing
Post War Years
In The Mood - Glenn Miller Orchestra
Glenn Miller : 1904 - 1944
Born 1st March 1904, Alton Glenn Miller was an American Big Band leader, arranger and Trombonist

His arrangements of well known classics such as
Little Brown Jug
and
In the Mood
rocketed him to fame in the States and beyond.

Having such a distinctive sound also brought him fame on the silver screen. Have a listen to this next clip form the 1941 hit
Sun Valley Serenade.




At 38, he was too old to join the infantry but, intent on doing his bit for the Second World War, he convinced the US army to accept him as an Army Musician.

During his time in the Army, he took charge of an army band and arranged pieces for them to perform as entertainment for the troops.

His music proved a real morale booster for soldiers during the war, and he continued in this way until December 1944, when a plane he was traveling in disappeared en route to England.
Chattanooga Choo Choo - Glenn Miller
The War Years:
Another group famed for their work in entertaining the troops throughout the Second World War were The Andrews Sisters.

Have a listen to this next excerpt of their hit
Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company B
, and see if you can spot the unusual vocal technique:
A
prominent
feature of
Jazz
singing,
Scat

Singing
is the term given to
improvised nonsense words
which are sung by the soloist.

Very often the singers are attempting to
imitate
the
sounds
of different
instruments
. These
Scat solos
are very often
syncopated
.
Big bands continued to be popular after the war, and singers or "crooners" such as
Frank Sinatra
and
Dean Martin
found fame in being accompanied by such bands.
Let's Recap:
Ella Fitzgerald -
How High The Moon
Many of the slaves emigrated to cities such as
New Orleans
after their liberation
Jazz bands expanded in size from
6-7 players
to bigger ensembles with
20-30 players
.
These bands, known as
Big Bands
or
Swing Bands
were popular during the war
Jazz Singers would
imitate instruments
by using
nonsense
words -
Scat Singing
Any Questions?
For Next Week:
Can you name the concept?
Let's Recap:
Last week we
:
Looked at the
evolution
of
Jazz
music
Looked at
Swing Bands
during the
War
Learned about
Glenn Miller
and The
Andrews Sisters
We also listened to examples of the following concepts
Swing
Scat
Syncopation
Today's Aims:
To explore at the origins of
Ragtime
To look at the composer
Scott Joplin
To look at the
Blues Scale

We will know we have achieved this when:
Today we are going:
We can identify the concepts
Ragtime
and
Vamp
Can apply our knowledge of the
Blues Scale
to a
composition task
.
Maple Leaf Rag:
Ragtime:
The clip we just watched contained an excellent example of
Ragtime

Ragtime
, like much of the music in this topic, was another product of the
slave trade
.

It was most
popular between 1897
and
1918
, and is most commonly played on a
piano
.

This was mainly down to the fact that many of the
bars
in which the music was played were
too small
for a band.
Ragtime
Ragtime is easily recognisable for it's
bouncy
nature, and much of it is
Syncopated
.

The
melody
in the
right hand
usually contained lot's of
leaps
and was a big
contrast
to the smooth music of the
white people
.

Ragtime
was usually accompanied in the
left hand
by a
Vamp
- A rhythmic accompaniment with a bass note played on the beat and a chord off the beat.
Listen
and follow this excerpt and
look
out for the
leaps
and
vamp
.
Scott Joplin (1867 - 1914):
The King of Ragtime
Born in Texas in 1867,
African American
Scott Joplin is one the
most famous
composers of
Ragtime
music.

During his career he wrote
44 ragtime pieces
,
1 Ragtime Ballet
and
2 Ragtime

operas
.

Some of his most famous pieces include
The Entertainer
and
Maple Leaf Rag
.
Treemonisha
- Finale
Side note: The Pianola
The
pianola
was a popular addition to any household during the
late 19th
and
early 20th century.

The
Pianola
was in effect a
piano
which
'played itself',
all you had to do was
insert
a
piano roll
and pedal with your
feet
to
power
it.

Any roll
could be inserted into the pianola so that people could listen to their
favourite songs
, in the same way that we can listen to a CD or an iPod.


The Andrews Sister -
Don't Sit Under the Apple

Tree
on the
Pianola
FREEZE! Its a Pop Quiz:
Using the coloured section of your homework diaries, determine whether each excerpt is Ragtime or not:
Green
- Yes
Red
- No
Let's Recap:
Today we have:
Explored the origins of
Ragtime
and listened to some examples
Gained some basic knowledge of the Ragtime composer
Scott Joplin
Applied our knowledge of the
Blues Scale
to a
composition task
.
As a
bonus
, look out for the
chromatic
notes.
In the American unit, we're mainly focusing on Jazz.

Throughout the unit, we will be looking at the following:

- Jazz
- Blue
- Swing
- Ragtime
- Scat Singing

We will also be looking at some of the features (concepts) which are common to these styles.

Unit Overview:
What else?
As well as developing our
listening
and
performing
skills, we will also be focusing on other areas of learning:

- We will be working to
invent/improvise
a piece of music
in a
Jazz Style
- We will also be working
cooperatively
to research a
specific topic.
Your findings will then be presented to the class, either by
PowerPoint
,
Podcast
or
Poster
Any Questions?
Today's Aims
- To briefly discuss
Jazz

- To highlight some of the
main instruments
used

- To continue with
Solo Performing
Jazz - what we know:
Using the space below, we're going to collate what we know about Jazz so far:
Have a listen:
Today's Task:
Now that we've learned how Jazz sounds, let's try playing it:
Your task for the next few lessons is to develop your improvisation skills.

The cheat sheet which you have copied down in your jotters will help you.

The aim is to have a completed performance of our own improvisation alongside a swing backing track.

Remember: Be Creative, Be Adventurous, Be Free!
Listen Up:
For this task, you are to remain in your groups:
Each group will have a bundle of concepts which we have covered (and some which we haven't).

Your task is to listen to each excerpt and select two concepts out of your bundle which you can hear in each excerpt.

There are four pieces of music, and you will hear an excerpt of each TWICE.
Let's do one together:
Full transcript