The History of Jazz Music

Jazz musicВ was born from the creative hands of black people who experienced oppression and slavery in America in the late 18th century. Expression of a resistance against the racist and oppressive political system was manifested in the way of black Americans to play their music.

History has recorded that slavery and racial discrimination in America gave birth precisely to the music of resistance, such as the Spiritual, gospel and blues. This phenomenon could be interpreted as a cultural resistance of black people to Westernization, in terms of religion, culture, politics, and how to make music. It was because before they were brought to America, they have a distinctive culture of Africa.

In the beginning, the spirit of jazz music or the ideology behind it was the liberation of African-Americans from the shackles of repressive socio-political structure as being outlined in the expression of tone, harmony, and style of playing music. For examples: ragtime was a starting point for the development of classic jazz (march, waltz and polka), swing was a modification of ragtime, free jazz was a reinterpretation of bebop and world music was the deconstruction of mainstream jazz.

In a further development of the spirit of jazz was interpreted not only limited to political resistance, but also the liberalization movement or musical deconstruction in order to find room to move, an alternative way, and other styles of playing music.

As a result of the spirit of Jazz that was dialectical, liberal and deconstructive, an old style of playing music was negated by the ideas of new music. Then, the ideas led into the new styles of playing music. In this case, the chronology of the development of jazz was divided in three time periods where each period gave birth to a specific style of playing music.

The first period was traditional jazz period (1890-1940) that gave birth to Ragtime, New Orleans, Dixieland, New Orleans in Chicago and Kansas City, and Swing. The second one is modern jazz period (1940-1980) that gave birth to New Orleans and Dixieland Revival, Bebop, Cool, Hardbop, Free, Mainstream, and Fusion. Meanwhile, the third period was postmodern jazz period (1980-until now) that gave birth to Neobop, free Funk, Classicism, Neo-Classicism, No Wave and World Music.

The peak of deconstruction in jazz took place in 1965 which marked by the presence of free jazz. This style was a milestone in the development of postmodern jazz with its main characters. The main characters included free tonality, disintegration on the meter, beat and symmetry, the inclusion of ethnic music (world music), cult of intensity, and the inclusion of natural sounds, especially from the jungle (jungle sound).

In the decade of 80s and 90s, free jazz became the foundation of the development of fusion and neo-Classicism. Meanwhile, the mainstream of jazz was transformed into the style of Classicism. Therefore, jazz was no longer defined solely as the style of swing, bebop or mainstream, but as a musical culture that was more sophisticated and pluralistic.

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