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Is Jazz Black Music - Research Paper Example

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Jazz is Black Music 'Is jazz black music?' can be seen as a rhetorical question. To deny that jazz is a black music is to be charged with not only not recognizing the obvious, but to also be representative of the forces which would support the belief that black people made no contribution to America…
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Download file to see previous pages It is obvious that jazz music has black origins just as obvious as classical music has European origins. European music is no longer simply European because it can be composed and played by anyone. But can this be said about jazz? This question is important because even though jazz has black origins, jazz music also has a special relationship to black people in a way European music does not have a special relationship to white people. Now that is a strange expression I have just made. But I believe in trying to answer it I will come up with reasons explaining why jazz was once a definitive black music, and why I write 'was once' in italics. One feature that jazz shares with classical music is that it is universal. This statement means nothing unless one rephrases to include something of its origin. Jazz was created by black people and it gradually or immediately became universal. 'Gradually' is used to demonstrate how it eventually was heard by others in the world and was immediately accepted as a special kind of rich music. 'Immediately' is italicized to say that it is an infectious, shoe-stamping kind of music. Of course not all of it is shoe-stamping. This is just to make a point. But jazz ballads or slow-tunes would also fall in this 'immediately-felt' felt category. The point is that some down-trodden people who were black skinned emerged their rhythm and their ability to make rich music into a white setting of harmony and rhythm. What they poured into that setting or form overtook it and produced something that was immediately appreciated by the world. That statement is itself a mouthful. But any book on jazz history would say the same. This is that jazz was created by black people who poured their feelings and their kinds of expression, which were originally and importantly African, into western music forms. That is a simple statement which put forwards in a simple way the theme of this essay identifying jazz as black music. A year or so ago, looking at a television show, there was a jazz music program on. It was rather strange because it was a Japanese jazz quartet playing music. This event cannot be compared to European classical music because today it is regularly accepted that some of the best classical string players are Japanese or of other non-white or non-European origin. A Japanese musician playing saxophone like Charlie Parker or Dexter Young would still be an anomaly as far as history goes. But this is for people who recognize history like those who can’t get over the fact that the South loss the Civil War and it was a good thing that they did. The important point that is trying to be made here is jazz as a social construction is black music in the way that the United States of America is a social construction. In fact America as a social construction has all the elements of jazz in it and, of course, even more. Where America differs or departs from jazz as a social construction is the reason why jazz is black music and why it seems strange at this stage at this stage of American history to have a Japanese band play jazz. This should not be seen as a racist statement because it has already been admitted that jazz is a universal music. This means anyone so skilled can play jazz. In fact probably the skill level demanded of the music also compares it in a favorable way to European classical music. ‘European’ is used as a description only to point to the history of classical music. Today there are good ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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