Musical Analysis and Comparisons Assignment
Provide a musical analysis and discussion of 3 of the works listed in the readings.
1 Jazz Music
2 Harlem Renaissance
3 Tin Pan Alley
What unique musical features are similar and/or different in these pieces? What is the role of instruments and vocals? How is the groove set up and sustained? What is the overall form of the piece, and how does it communicate its message? What can you say about how the instruments are used? In particular, how are the brass and bass (if present) used and do they have separate but unified purposes? Characterize the vocal delivery. What overall styles are used?
Musical analysis and discussion
The music form of jazz originated in the USA, mainly in the southern states of the country. It was a wildly popular music form during the earlier part of the 20th century, its most important element being improvisation. Some of its unique musical features include a walking bass, syncopation and swung rhythms, instrumental breaks, and "comping", which is basically a rhythmic accompaniment of piano chords.
The rhythm section of jazz consists of the bass, piano and drums, and their role is to provide support to the horn players. They also improvise the solos. The vocals usually involve an instrumental approach, where the individual uses a stylistic approach to match the instruments that are being played, the vocal delivery being similar to that of scat singing.
Harlem renaissance is the broadened term that is used to denote the social, artistic and intellectual explosion that occurred in New York's Harlem during the 1920s. The way in which the piano was played was new, and helped bridge the gap between the rich and the poor, along with the accompanying brass instruments. This laid the foundation for jazz music, which helped the African American community to carve out a place for themselves in the highly racist American society of their century. "Harlem Stride" was a style of piano playing that was later fused with jazz music.
This musical style put behind the existing notions and conventions due to its use of improvised solos and syncopated rhythms, which is an important element of jazz music. Some of the most prolific artists often communicated about the rights of the African Americans through their powerful songs.
Tin Pan Alley
Tin Pan Alley is the generic name that is used to denote the songwriters and music publishers of New York City, who dominated the popular music scene of the US, mainly in the 19th and 20th centuries. The popularity of a particular piece of music was determined by the number of sheet music copies, and not by the number of records that had been sold. The piano was the most widely-used instrument.
One of its most unique musical features include the material of melodic harmonic, a structure that was found in the refrain part of any verse-refrain music piece. Melodramatic ballads, along with comic novelty music, was the distinguishing characteristic of Tin Pan Alley, and it was only much later that the jazz style of music was incorporated with it. Pop songs that further helped popularise jazz and blues were created during the 1920s.
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