preview

The Jazz Age

Better Essays
The Jazz music of the Big Band Era was the peak of over thirty years of musical development. Jazz was so innovative and different that it could literally sweep the world, changing the musical styles of nearly every country. Big band Jazz that makes the feet tap and the heart race with excitement that it is recognized with nearly every type of music.
The musical and cultural revolution that brought about Jazz was a direct result of African-Americans pursuing careers in the arts following the United States civil war. As slaves African-Americans has learned few European cultural traditions. With more freedom to pursue careers in the arts and bringing African artistic traditions to their work, African-Americans changed music and dance, not only in the U.S., but all over the world. For after the war, African American dancers and musicians created work that was not similar by hundreds of years of musical and dance traditions brought from the peasant villages of Europe.
The music of Europe had a more base structure. European music through the nineteenth century was melodically based, with a square or waltz rhythmic structure. Differently, much African music has an organization which is based around rhythm and accent, rhythms and accents that may actually shift and move in relation to each other as the music progresses. The big change that took place in music rhythmically was the shift away from the rhythmic structure. African musical tradition tends to count towards the accented beat so that an African may count 2 on the same beat a European would count 1. It is typical of West African music to have rhythms of different lengths overlapping each other, creating shifting accents, sort of like a mix. Which is to say that by the late 1920's African-American Jazz music had developed a tradition where musicians put a strong rhythmic accent on "2" and "4" and melodic accents anywhere BUT on "1."
The first popular musical trend in the United States produced by this African-European combination was Ragtime, which first achieved popularity in the late 19th century. Ragtime musicians often used what are called "ragged" rhythms. Ragged rhythms were African-influenced rhythms, shortened so that the accent was "off" the beat, instead of in rhythm with the beat. Ragtime musicians also occasionally used what were called "bl...

... middle of paper ...

...and. For the next several years Henderson arranged tunes for Goodman band in a Jazz/Swing style.
Henderson's arrangements are credited with helping sweep the Goodman band to national popularity the following year at the finish of an apparently unsuccessful cross-country tour in California.
As it turned out, the radio broadcasts of the tour were scheduled too late for people in the east and midwest. On the west coast, however, the broadcasts gained a devoted audience who, surprising the band, swarmed its final concerts. And it was with Benny Goodman that the Swing big band boom began, and our narrative on Jazz draws to a close. After Goodman's dramatic success ignited the Big Band craze, excellent musicians who had been working as sidemen for other bands found encouragement to start their own bands. Bands led by the Dorseys, Glenn Miller, Bunny Berrigan, Lionel Hampton, Harry James, and Gene Krupa sprang into being.With big band Swing music in full bloom, it was only logical that jitterbug dancing should also rocket to national popularity, which it did. Jazz music had an amazing affect on the “Roaring Twenties.” It tells many stories of sadness, experience and most of all, life.
Get Access