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A Jazz Song Analysis - Essay Example

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I was haunted by the images of the victims of lynching hanging from the trees. I felt the bitterness and resentment for racial…
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A Jazz Song Analysis
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A Jazz Song Analysis

Download file to see previous pages... Her vocalization, diction, and delivery are extraordinary, with a slight touch of a Southern drawl; her tenor is slow but steadfast, crude but charming, childlike but sophisticated.
The song’s texture is significant all the way through, particularly at the moments when Holiday is chanting. The song starts with a unique sound but moves back when lyrics come out, and the singing of Holiday surfaces to the center stage. Hence the distancing of the arrangement of the vocal and musical components emphasizes the words that are being spoken (Kaplan 78). An instrumental sound dominates at first and then weakens a bit, and then the lyrics and the singer’s voice become the focal point for the listener. The quality of the vocals’ sound and their stable poetic rhythm further strengthen the impact of the words on the listeners. The deep-toned singing of Holiday generates a haunting and gloomy atmosphere. Likewise, the low pitch of the combined sound of the trumpet and piano produces a sad melody.
Strange Fruit was composed by Abel Meeropol, a union advocate and Jewish educator, who was resentful after having a glimpse of a picture of a dreadful lynching in a magazine dedicated to the civil rights movement (Greene 58-59; Clarke 163). The photograph was an image of two Black men victimized by lynching and dangling from a tree in Marion, Indiana in the 1930s. These two men are what the ‘Strange Fruit’ symbolizes. This song was performed by a group of black musicians in an antifascist campaign (Margolick 6). In 1939, race relations in the U.S. were as terrible as before. It was nearly two decades before the civil rights movement began to bring about any actual improvement. It was at the most desperate point of the Great Depression and the public pushed Holiday to create a positive atmosphere through her lively attitude (Albertson 21; Pramuk 358).
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