Key facts and extra detail from the GCSE OCR Music textbook and revision guide

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Preview of Jazz

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Jazz originated in the southern states of South America
during the early 20th century
Over time jazz has evolved and many different styles of
jazz have developed
The main element that connects most of the different
styles of jazz is improvisation
Key Features
syncopation and swung (or swing) rhythms
Walking bass
o a steady bass line made up of notes on the beat, for
example repeated crotchets which mainly move by
Scat singing ­ signing in nonsense syllables instead of
12 bar blues ­ a 12 bar chord progression used in blues
o I I I I, IV IV I I, V IV I I.
Blues scale ­ a major scale with a flattened third, fifth
and seventh
o C ­ E flat ­ G flat ­ G natural ­ B flat
Comping ­ accompanying an improvised solo by playing
simple chords on the piano
Stabs ­ staccato chords played by brass instruments
Instrumental break ­ a short solo that tends to occur at
the end of a tutti passage when most other instruments
drop out
Famous Musicians
Louis Armstrong ­ singer and trumpeter
o an important figure in traditional Dixieland jazz
during the 1910s and 1920s
Miles Davis ­ trumpeter
o greatly influenced the development of bepop and
cool jazz during the 1940s and 50s
Duke Ellington ­ pianist whose own swing band was very
popular during the 1930s and 40s

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Chick Corea ­ pianist known for his contribution to jazz
fusion in the 1970s
Performing Jazz
In large ensembles (eg. swing bands) the music is often
written out
In other styles of jazz, improvisation and learning by ear
are more important
A jazz piece is often constructed from a lead sheet ­ a
basic score that gives melody, chords and structure.…read more


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