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A brief history of Jazz

Listening examples and exploring the jazz timeline

Heather Holmes

on 31 October 2013

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Transcript of A brief history of Jazz

A brief history of
1910 - 1917
1920s - 1930s
1940s - 1960s
1900 - 1915
New Orleans Jazz
1910-1917: Black musicians had limited access to instruments. Musicians in New Orleans developed a polyphonic style where each instrument had a clearly defined role.
Trumpet played the melody (tune)
Clarinet embellished the tune in a higher register
Trombone emphasized the bass and played a low counterpoint
Bass, banjo, piano, and drums provided harmony and structure.
In the 1920s, Louis Armstrong took the New Orleans style and expanded it. This new style was arranged for many musicians and was written down, except for improvised solo breaks. By the 1930s white musicians were also playing jazz and this the era of big band swing music. Swing is dance music and became very popular in dance halls well into WWII in the 1940s.
Bebop grew from the swing music of the 1930s. It is recognized for having fast tempos, asymmetrical rhythms and intricate melodies. It is much more complex than the swing music that came before it, and it is music to be listened to rather than danced to. Popular from the 1940s to the 1960s.
Jazz Today
There are many other styles of jazz not covered here:
cool jazz, free jazz, and latin jazz, just to name a few.
That is before looking at mixes such as fusion and jazz rock... This is a music still very much alive today!
Can be hard to define because there are so many styles
Is built around improvisation
Constantly evolving: strong focus on improvisation means one jazz tune will never sound exactly the same twice.
Usually features syncopated rhythms
Early Roots: Ragtime
Ragtime is lively music most often written for the piano. It is through-composed, that is, is written to be played the same way every time. Around 1900 this was America's most popular dance and entertainment music.

1905-1915: Highly trained black musicians could not find jobs playing classical music so they turned to performing ragtime in bars and clubs. Musicians began embellishing the tune and later this turned into improvisation of new melodies.

Examples: Scott Joplin, the "King of Ragtime" wrote the Maple Leaf Rag (1899) and The Entertainer (1902).
What is JAZZ?
A constantly evolving music
with roots in ragtime and blues.

How do we describe jazz?
...or any music we listen to?
We use the
of music to describe what we hear:
The sounds of jazz
1. At your table, work in groups of 3 or 4
2. Each group needs one piece of A3 paper
3. Divide your paper something
like this
4. Label the three outside sections:
Maple Leaf Rag
Take the A Train
A Night in Tunisia
5. As we listen to each example, fill in the section with words to describe what you hear. Use words from as many elements of music as you can.
With your group...
What words or elements of music are
the same
from song to song?

Write them in the center part of your paper.

What words or elements are

Color or circle them.
Jazz timeline
Lesson Objectives:
What words can we use to describe the music we listen to?
Do Now:
In your notebook, write down at least five words you think of when you think about
Jazz and the Elements of Music
A "Big Band" would normally include:
Rhythm section: drums, bass, piano
Brass section: trombones and trumpets
Woodwinds section: saxophones (alto, tenor and baritone) and clarinet
Duke Ellington: It Don't Mean a
Thing if it Ain't got that Swing
Bebop features smaller bands than swing, usually including:
Jazz Dance
Is still alive and well too:
Want to know more?
Videos: Jazz at Lincoln Center

Article: Encyclopedia Britannica
(links will open in the background if you are in full screen)
Cornell Notes:
Today's Date
Make notes about the following slides using the Cornell format.
Your main notes with important information goes in this section of the page.
Divide your page into sections like these yellow lines
Key Words
Main Ideas
To make referencing your notes later easier, put key terms or questions from your notes into this side bar.
After you have read all the slides, review each page of notes and make a summary here. What is the important message of each page? Or, write a reflective note. You could mention something you like, music you want to listen to more of, or something you found interesting.
Cornell Notes Example
Early Jazz
was dance music played on piano
: played the same way every time
Popular in 1900-1915. Played by black musicians
In New Orleans, musicians started to
Trumpet plays melody, trombone bass, clarinet adds embellishment

New Orleans

Ragtime tunes started being embellished and changed, eventually this led to full improvisation in New Orleans jazz.
Scott Joplin: The Maple Leaf Rag
Scott Joplin: The Entertainer
W.C. Handy: Careless Love
Dizzy Gillespie: A Night in Tunisia
Charlie Parker & Dizzy Gillespie:
Hot House
Duke Ellington: Take the A Train
Full transcript