Jazz An American Journey Cultural Studies Essay

Music is populating entity, which is continuously altering, accommodating and reflecting each environmental and cultural alteration. American music has been shaped by the state ‘s societal and cultural environment. It is ever characterized by the usage of syncope with irregular beat and tunes, which reflects the alone American landscape and the nature of American life. Since 1920s, wind has been linked with both the societal and cultural individuality of the America. Jazz is non merely a manner to reflect the cultural landscape of the U.S.A. , to portray the history, the agony, the joy and the civilization of African Americans in the American society, but besides to move as a interactive procedure to halt racism and articulation Black and White communities together.

Although Jazz originated in the early twentieth century, the root of Jazz can be traced back to the clip of bondage in the 17th and 18th centuries in America. At that clip, slaves sang soulful vocals to show their desire of freedom. Besides, they sang secular vocals that based on common people traditional knowledge and field work when working, in order to raise their morale. The song leader sang out a line, and the slaves responded to the leader. Religious music and the “ call and response ” form so became the basic elements of Jazz music.

Slavery was abolished by the American jurisprudence in the nineteenth century, but it still greatly affected American society. It created a inclination of racism, that the African Americans were discriminated and oppressed by the European Americans. In late nineteenth century, Jazz was born in the metropolis of New Orleans. The less spiritual, or secular subjects the African Americans used to sing played a cardinal function in the foundations of the Blues genre in Jazz, with much of the irregular musical facets such as the rearticulating of words and the calls and cries that have become a characteristic of the genre. The usage of syncope, irregular beat and unnatural tunes in Jazz reflect the urbanised American landscape and the desire of personal freedom of American life. By this clip, the earliest signifier of Jazz was formed, and became a trademark of the Black civilization in the U.S.

Jazz is a portrayal of African American civilization within the United States. It was born at the clip of racism. It demonstrated the life defence and look of African Americans ‘ lives in the U.S. In 1920s, the subjugation the African Americans were confronting had ever been a large portion of their lives. The battle for freedom and equity within the society and Jazz are tightly linked together. Wind is single and alone. It allows instrumentalists to construe the music freely when they play to show their feelings that were hard to explicate in words. They can play otherwise throughout public presentations. Their improvisation and the self-generated tunes express the love of freedom and the desire of unrestraint, and the familiarity of African Americans. Though the syncope beat, the usage of unsolved chord and the unusual tune in Jazz, the African Americans were able to let go of their choler on the cultural segregation against them. Besides, some African Americans are used to utilize informal English with a alone counter-metric construction. They normally exaggerate their address by sedulously raising their tone. Their melody of addresss is non merely singing-like, lively and rhythmic, but besides really earthy. In Jazz, the signifier and the beat are non ritual and formal. They are lively and sometimes overdone with the usage of syncope. They represent the familiarity of the African American. Besides, the beat of Jazz besides reflect their address with the usage of the counter-metric construction. It is closely related to the African American civilization. It besides reflects the urban landscape of the state.

Besides, Jazz is a musical portrayal closely identified with American urban scenes, exposing the urbanisation, industrialisation and the growing of the state at that clip. Harmonizing to McClendon, “ the urban propertyless experience is the root and foundation for this originative musical tradition. ” ( 2006 ) The birth of wind as a musical signifier occurred at a alone clip in the American history. In the early 1900 ‘s the industrialisation of the society was good under manner. Millions of people were traveling to metropoliss for employment chances, and in-migration from other states. In New Orleans, most of the African Americans were populating in the urban countries. The subject of their music changed from sacred to more secular, to reflect their on the job category lives. The music reveals the material dealingss of their urban secular life that they had been experience. ( McClendon ) Confronting with those troubles in their life, the African Americans were seeking a manner to show their feeling, a different manner to bask the freedom. They eventually found a manner to show their feeling in music. Thought improvisation, they were free to show themselves, and to neutralize all the adversity they had in their life. The syncope and cross-rhythms in Jazz besides demonstrate the busy and hotfooting image of America at that clip. For illustration, George Gershwin ‘s symphonic wind Rhapsody in Blue composed in 1924 expresses a forward-driving energy towards urbanisation of the U.S.A at that clip. Write on a series of train trips between Brooklyn and Boston, Gershwin embeds the clicked-clack imitation sounds of the train into the music with its steely beat. It is a musical portrayal of America, arousing the modern life and the urban hustle in America. Therefore, Jazz is a portrayal of the urban landscape of American. It is besides a contemplation of racism in the U.S. society.

Race and category are one of the chief elements in Jazz. The African Americans have long been confronting racism and civilization subjugation in the society. Therefore, these issues are profoundly rooted in their Black Marias. Jazz is a manner for them to show their choler. After Spain took control of Louisiana in 1763, New Orleans became the centre of slave trade in America. When they moved into the metropolis, the African American workers were already oppressed. They did n’t hold the chance to hold good occupations, nice lodging. The kids were ever rejected by the schools. With these societal inequalities they were confronting, African Americans expressed their choler in the music. They created Jazz that did non merely reflect their hatred towards the European Americans who exploit them for their labour demands, but besides assist them to better their societal standing.

Wind is the Americanization of African music, every bit good as the Africanization of American music. It is a runing pot with the African civilization and the European civilization meet. Harmonizing to Thomas Lifson in his intelligence article on American Thinker, he says, “ Wind is the great cultural accomplishment of America where inkinesss took a prima function as Godheads and practicians, and where inkinesss and Whites performed and listened in harmoniousness. ” ( 2007 ) Although Jazz comes from African American music, that it is embedded with the civilization, the individuality and the agony of the African American, it is popular all around the state, and of all time the whole universe, among all races. It is an of import measure in doing the state equal in civil right. The visual aspect of Jazz has helped the African American to raise their societal economical category in the American society. It is a medium to convey the alone civilization and the history of the African American to the remainder of the universe.

Furthermore, Jazz provides an chance for cut downing the tenseness between the Black and the White, and fall ining the Black and White coummunities together. Since Jazz was developed by African Americans, at first, the European Americans had strong opposition to Jazz, seeking to stamp down the growing of the Black music. Since Jazz was a signifier of music that was improvisational and self-generated in nature, and was closely related to the Blacks, early Wind did n’t derive response in the metropolis. However, the influence of Jazz defeated the Whites ‘ suppression. Although the Afro-american instrumentalists found racial favoritism in their lives, early wind was popular with White persons. Jazz was frequently performed for or by White persons.

In the journey of Jazz, we can see how Jazz was influenced by racism historically, and how it shines a bright visible radiation on our manner to walk off from the false belief of racism. In these old ages, people with different cultural backgrounds populating in this multicultural society have started to follow the music. For illustration, in the U.S. , many Jazz concerts against racism are held throughout the twelvemonth. ( courier-jornal ) Besides musical events called like “ Jazz against racism ” were ever held in Australia, and have gathered great involvement among the populace in Australia. ( Green Left Weekly ) Jazz is no longer African American music, but is genuinely the universe music. It is multicultural. It blends the traditions and the civilizations of all different races. Dale Barlow, a prima Jazz musical, says that in music, there is no facet of bias, as it boundlessly absorbs and adopts all elements it comes into contact with. ( Green Left Weekly ) It has the power to unite elements from different cultural beginnings. The music entreaties to people of all races likewise, and supply a civilization in which 1 is judged by his psyche entirely, non by race of colour of tegument.

Although it is difficult to rectify racial inequalities in the U.S. with its long racialist history, Jazz can raise public consciousness of the racialist phenomena in the society, and provides an chance for treating the dark period of history by conveying the community the history, the suffer, and the desires of African Americans. It besides allows those who are oppressed to utilize their music to talk out for societal equality. Jazz is non a charming pill that can mend the society, but it can still sabotage racism with its interracial nature.

Wind is traveling and passionate music act uponing the senses of organic structure and psyche. It is closely identified with American urban scenes. It creates images on cultural, geographic, cultural, and economic degrees, utilizing the proficient constituents of tune, harmoniousness and beat to arouse American individuality. It does non merely portray the growing of the U.S. and affirm black civilization, but besides shows the interaction, the clang and merger of African and European civilization. Nowadays, Jazz has continued to mirror and represent the complexnesss and sarcasms of the altering position of African Americans within the broader civilization and civil order of the United States.

Mention Cited:

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Fitzgerald, F. Scott, and James L. W. West. Narratives of the Jazz Age. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP, 2002. Print.

Lifson, Thomas. “ Jazz Succumbs to Racism ” American Thinker. June 2, 2007.

McClendon III, John H, Socialism and Democracy, Vol. 23, no.3, December 2006

Raeburn, Bruce Boyd. New Orleans Style and the Writing of American Jazz History. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 2009.

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Goines, Leonard. Encyclopedia of Afro-american Culture and History. 2006

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