Jazz and its origins

Essay by eatme666nowCollege, UndergraduateA+, July 2004

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Jazz originated about 1910simoltaneoulsy in many southern and midwestern cities. Because its style was different from city to city, jazz must be defined in general forms. Jazz is lively, energetic music with pulsating rhythms and entertaining syncopations, usually played by a small instrumental ensemble (COMBO) or a larger group (A BIG BAND). Jazz tends to be polyphonic, since several instruments play independent lines, and it also includes a strong element of improvisation. Playing jazz requires teamwork, imagination, skill and endurance. RAGTIME music was an immediate precursor of jazz and an early type of jazz emerging in 1890s and characterized by a steady bass and syncopated, jazzy treble. Ragtime music originated in brothels, saloons, and dancehalls during 1890s. Most rags were written by black pianists. Scott Joplin was the "king of ragtime."

The probable place of jazz origin was New Orleans. Syncopation combined with a free treatment of melody marked the sound of NEW ORLEANS JAZZ.

The New Orleans jazz combo found a security that allowed the solo instruments the greatest sort of freedom of expression. New Orleans bands never played from written music. They felt when the chords must change and improvise the tune. When the brothels and gambling houses were closed in New Orleans, many places of employment for jazz musicians disappeared. They began to look elsewhere for work. Louis Armstrong made his way to Chicago. At this time he was already recognized by his peers as the best trumpeter alive. He formed his own band the Hot Five. Armstrong invented the practice of "scat singing" -singing nonsense syllables on jazz style. His band relied on "head arrangements" (remembering tune and harmony) and spontaneous improvisation in which each member of the group took his turn as a soloist with tune.

Jazz became the rage of the 1920s. It was...