Jazz

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  • Jazz
    • Origin
      • Developed in the early 20th century
      • A fusion of African and European traditions that came from newly freed slaves
      • It has roots in African-American Blues and Ragtime
    • Timeline:
      • It started as Dixieland Jazz in New Orleans in the early 1900s
        • It spread to Chicago in 1920. Speakeasies often had jazz bands playing, so jazz started to get a bad reputation
          • In the 1930s and 40s, swing music became popular. It was a type of jazz that was more structured and could be danced to.
            • Bebop developed from swing in the 1940s. It was fast, had lots of improvisation, complex harmonies, syncopated rhythms and irregular phrase lengths.
    • Dixieland
      • From New Orleans at the beginning of the 20th century
      • Because of segregation, it was only performed in brothels and bars
    • Instruments
      • A typical jazz band would have a trumpet, trombone, and clarinet on the front row. Saxophones were introduced later.
        • These would have all played improvised solos.
      • The rhythm section had a piano, guitar, drums and double bass.
      • Typical big bands would have 5 saxophones (2 altos, 2 tenors and a baritone), 4 trumpets, 4 trombones and a 4-piece rhythm section (piano, bass, guitar and drums. Some would also have a singer.
    • Structure
      • Early jazz was based on 12-bar blues- a 12 bar chord sequence
        • The chords were played by the rhythm section and the front row instruments improvised over them
        • The chords followed the pattern I, I, I, I, IV, IV, I, I, V, IV, I, I.
    • Features
      • Swung and syncopated
        • Syncopated rhythms move the strong beat away from the first and third beat in a bar
        • Swung rhythms are when the beats are split into uneven quavers
      • Musicians would use call and response and blue notes- these are key features of jazz.
        • Blue notes are flattened 3rds, 7ths and sometimes 5ths of a major scale.
      • Improvisation
        • This can make the same piece sound very different
        • Swing has less improvisation as it is dance music and people wanted to recognise the tunes, so the improvisation sections are shorter
        • Some jazz singers use scat, which is an improvised singing using nonsense words and syllables. It is a fill that keeps the listener's attention between phrases
    • It wasn't written down. There was lots of interaction between the soloist and band
      • Sometimes the soloist would repeat ideas heard earlier in the piece and develop them in their solo

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