Music of the 1930's, a positive influence through the depression

Essay by ricky diedrich April 1997

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Many people probably wouldn't have made it through the 1930's

without music. The people who listened to the music said it was their

way of life (Microsoft music). Music helped people forget about all the bad

and horrible things going on around them, it let them escape their day to

day troubles if just for a little while.

The kind of music most people listened to was the high beat

"Swing". Swing was said to have been born in 1938 when Jelly Roll

Morton's Red Hot Peppers recorded "George Swing" (Microsoft music).

Others say it started on a cold night when Bennie Moten's band got an

entire Kansas City ballroom jumping (World Book 159). Still others say it all

started in 1932 when the great Duke Ellington recorded the album "The

Anthem of Idiom", "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That


From the definition of the Webster Dictionary, swing involves a

departure from the written score by maintaining the underlying beat, but

playing the melody between and around the beat in a fashion other than

it is written (Pg.

2121). More commonly, swing refers to what we call "big

band" jazz of the 1930's- music performed by groups which generally

featured several of each instrument and playing a steady but still wild

beat that was great for dancing.

Swing was a big band music with some exceptions like Benny

Goodman's small bands. The great swing band included those of Louis

Russell, Earl Hines, Jimmy Lancford, Andy Kirk, Harlen Leonard,

Claude Hopkins, Chick Webb, Don Redmen, Benny Carter, Bunny

Bengan, Charlie Barnet, Harry James, Woody Herman, Lionel Hampton,

and the great Count Basie.

Count Basie started out his young career as a jazz musician playing

to silent movies. Then in 1928 he joined Walter Page's Blue Devils,