10 characteristics of JAZZ
Jazz is a genre of American popular music, developed in New Orleans, at the beginning of the 20th century. It groups different styles, dynamism, improvisation and dissonant harmony are some of its most particular elements.
The richness of jazz comes from the cultural mix of African rhythms with the application of European harmonic theories already popularized at the time and the particular character of swing and blues. Its exact origin is not so clear, but it is believed to be a word from some African-American slang to refer to something fast or vivid. In 1917 there is a graphic record of the term, through a record called dixieland jazz Band.
Main features of jazz
- Guy: Jazz is a type of popular music, which has been widely practiced and developed for over a century in North American and European culture. It has also influenced important Latin American composers, and from there emerged new genres such as Bossa Nova, which consists of a mixture of samba with jazz.
- Gender: Jazz is the central genre of American popular music, and the one in which all academic musicians who study popular music are trained. It is a genre that has great popularity and presence in the most important music festivals in the world.
- Character: The character of jazz is fundamentally a mixture of the character of swing and blues, since it shares their rhythmic and harmonic characteristics. It can be slow and somewhat melancholic like blues, or more upbeat and fast like swing. In his case, creativity and improvisation usually flow through any of these routes.
- Rhythm: Jazz is a very rhythmic genre and is characterized by its richness and rhythmic complexity, full of polyrhythms, syncopation and setbacks, which seek to rethink the character of the basic melodies by weakening their strong beats or accentuating the weak ones. In order to create a new effect but one that responds to the essence of the original version.
- Harmony: Jazz is the perfect genre to apply the basic theories of harmony and even go a little further, thanks to the richness and complexity of its character. Because of this, in jazz the rule is chords and dissonant harmony, where tension and rest play in a much more dynamic way and are constantly mixing in combinations that stretch out and give the feeling of never ending.
- Improvisation: One of the essential characteristics of jazz is improvisation. Jazz musicians must have a deep understanding of the rules of harmony and master it intuitively. Thanks to these abilities, they tend to be skillful improvisers and play with rhythms and melodies to create dynamics among themselves, always generating something new that dialogues with their peers and with the original work.
- Instrumentation: Some of the most used instruments in Jazz bands are the double bass, the clarinet, the trumpet, the drums, the piano, the voice, the saxophone and in some cases the guitar. These instruments were quite popular at the beginning of the 20th century and gave jazz orchestras a very particular color, as well as a very favorable balance in terms of registers and sounds.
- Interpretation: Jazz has a particular technique that has analyzed and adapted the styles of some of its iconic performers to theory. Because of this, when we hear a jazz singer or jazz instrumentalist, we can immediately recognize their playing style.
- Reformulation: One of the main customs of jazz musicians is to reformulate melodies and works of popular music, to give them a different character, which adapts to their style but also always responds to the essence of the modified work. It is a genre that lends itself to arranging almost any type of music in a jazz format.
- Fusion: As is the case with the innumerable genres of popular music that emerged in the 20th century, jazz is a fusion, which, moreover, has given rise to other highly popular genres through mixing. The bossa nova, the tango or the bolero, are particular genres from different areas of the American continent that were markedly influenced by or directly the product of the fusion with jazz.
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ENCICLOPEDIA DE CARACTERÍSTICAS (2023) 10 characteristics of JAZZ, en 10caracteristicas.com. https://10caracteristicas.com/en/10-characteristics-of-jazz/ (Consultado el: 24-09-2023)
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