[YOUR NAME HERE] [YOUR PROF NAME HERE] [YOUR CLASS NAME] 08 December, 2011 Diversion of Genres and American Musical Evolution America has always been a beacon of innovation and change in the music world. More genres of music were developed here than nearly anywhere else in the world, and American music has been largely responsible for shaping the face of global popular music today…
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Some branches wither and die, while others prosper and beget subsequent branches. This paper will begin in 1920, and progress in a more or less sequential order up to 1989. The only jags on our journey will be to explore an artist or a work in it’s entirety, regardless of associated dates. Where release years are identical, acts are sorted alphabetically. 1920 - Ted Lewis Jazz Band, “I'll See You in C-U-B-A” - This is a perfect example of the styles used by musicians to start scaling down from a big band size for smaller clubs, while still maintaining a bridge to the encompassing sound of big band. The contrast of merry horns and melancholy woodwinds always pulls back from the brink before conveying any true sense of discontent. The same general themes are repeated multiple times, but each with a new detail or elaboration. After the first denouement, there is a section with more pronounced percussion, leading into a whistling section that sounds remarkably like bird call, accentuating the idea of the gaiety of the initial horn lines. A second, much lower horn line comes in during the major reprise, providing an interesting duel and counterpoint with the first. The main theme repeats, and then with a cute little bounce, it ends, having arrived at its Cuban destination. 1921 - Rudolph Valentino dances the tango to ‘La Cumparsita’ in “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” - 1921 - Valentino is well known for his pivotal tango scene in “The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”. The tango he danced to was called “La Cumparsita”, or ‘the Little Masquerade’. It starts out with a deceptively simple accordion duo; a barely audible set of shakers being the only percussion, The base theme is rather long, and establishes itself and repeats with greater intensity. We see our dancers almost melting across the floor of a smoke filled speakeasy. The middle section gives us a looser and more romantic reel, with less staccato. The onlookers cheer and leer, as the dancers footwork gets more complex, in contrast to the flowing music. The main theme bursts in again, and like a bud that abruptly flowers, it has a held back tightness before the full surrender, which is visible in the flowing choreography of the female dancer. As the dancers draw the performance to a close, the music takes an oddly sinister turn, as if mimicking passion gone sour. 1930 - Don Azpiazu, “El Manicero (The Peanut Vendor)” - Azpiazu starts with a catchy piano intro, high pitched block percussion, and a rhythm horn section that quickly establish themselves as the main backbone of the song. Over that comfortingly predictable backdrop, a deft and playful solo horn line flits around rum soaked silk male vocals like a butterfly. One can envision a friendly peanut vendor strolling down the street on a sunny day, hawking his wares. It is clever, simple, and happy, perhaps much like our peanut vendor himself. 1965 - Stan Kenton at the Rendezvous Ballroom, “The Peanut Vendor” - Kenton attempts a cover of the Azpiazu number, and manages to eliminate almost everything that was charming about the original, while still maintaining the few questionable elements. The repetitive piano line is echoed in really bold horns, but rather than paint a quiet backdrop, they drone methodical and monotonous. A solo horn line comes in, but it has nothing in common
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(“Journal Entries outlining a song with the use of personal anecdote or Assignment”, n.d.)
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