Jazz, being art itself, cannot be culturally or stylistically be defined by one or two characteristics. In this paper, I will argue that the development of jazz was mainly contributed by the genre of blues and ragtime. Blue and ragtime both show characteristics that contrast each other as well as conjoin to form the art of jazz. Both genres, however, contribute to the formation of jazz and are culturally influenced by the African-American population, therefore creating black nationalism in the twentieth century.
Blues are known to be sorrow songs created by slave workers from the South (New Orleans). Although most songs in the genre blues are sorrow, blues was created by slaves to ease their suffering. Slaves found blues to be expressive for them and they were able to release their anger, frustration, pain, sorrow, and hatred through the art of music; this genre is also known as the “cries of the people.” Blues are known to have “Afro-American folk sources,” which as we know, are also known as slaves.
In 1941, the autobiography, “Father of the Blues,” was published. The “Father of the Blues,” was told to be William Christopher Hardy, he noticed all of the characteristics that contributed to blues and formed his own band. W.C Hardy composed and published himself one of the first blues songs called, “Memphis Blues.” This song was primarily popular and important to jazz history because incorporated the characteristics of a blues song along with tango rhythm.
Blues songs were mainly created with a guitar and vocals that usually included words with double meanings. The art of blues was known to micrtonality for its pureness. Blues was mainly popular for its art of syncopation. Blues musicians syncopated by miss...
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...ifference made ragtime have the uplifting swing feel versus the sorrow blues form.
Nowadays, the art of jazz relies solely on improvisation and is not composed at all, so the genre of jazz received this characteristic from the genre blues. Jazz received the characteristic of the “swing feel” from the genre ragtime because they were known to have the “hot rhythm.” Jazz was greatly contributed by both genres: ragtime and blues, in different ways. Jazz, although has evolved culturally, was primarily created by the African-American culture and still promotes black nationalism. The history of both genres dates back to the South and Midwest where the culture was heavily populated and heavily influential to the art of jazz. The art of jazz relies on the contribution of not only these two genres but many more and therefore can not be defined by only a couple characteristics.
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