The History of Jazz


Understanding Jazz Music
The origin of the word ‘jazz’ is one of the most searched for words in modern American English. jazz appears as a term from slang, a region of the west coast of the United States. The use of the term ‘jazz’ was first used as a musical term in 1915 in Chicago.
Turning to the definition, according to the Concise Oxford English Dictionary Revised Edition 2006, jazz is a type of music originating from black Americans that features improvisation, syncopation, rhythm, and is accompanied by special instruments.
More deeply, Whitney Ballet explained that jazz is a very personal type of music that is similar to the blues, has unique vocals, instrumental sounds, and added improvisation from the players. In short, jazz is a form of perfection in music.
Characteristics of Jazz Music
Jazz flow can still be categorized into the ranks of popular music. Until now, through various developments in each era, jazz music has created many new genres that are still rooted in the womb of jazz, each of which has different special characteristics.
• Improvisation
One characteristic that is most highlighted in jazz music is improvisation. Even in a jazz show, it is rare for a jazz musician to play the same song in the same style over and over. Of course, this is still related to the early habits of jazz music which was played with improvisation.
• Use of instruments
One characteristic of jazz music that stands out and differs from popular music genres in general lies in the use of musical instruments. Instruments used in jazz music usually use musical instruments that are commonly used in jazz music genres, such as trumpet, saxophone, piano, guitar, violin, drums, and contrabass or bass guitar.
• Syncopation
One element that is also highlighted in the character of jazz music is syncopation which is quite dominant. Syncopaso (syncope) is the emphasis or accentuation of upbeat notes (notes with weak beats).
• Blue note
Blue notes are notes that are played slightly differently than standard notes. Usually, the ambient pitch changes between quartertones and semitones, but this still varies depending on the musical context. Blue notes are synonymous with blues music as the beginning of its appearance, and jazz music is arguably still closely related to blues music as the forerunner.
• Swing
Swing is the mellow rhythm that characterizes jazz music. Almost all jazz compositions are dominated by swing elements, which are the source of enjoyment for jazz.
Jazz music was originally traditional American music developed by African-Americans in South America. It is believed that jazz music that was born in the late 19th century into the 20th century is a blend of European music and African traditions.
African music gives influence in jazz music in the form of continuous rhythm, as well as movement and emotional play that will be so thick in the character of jazz music. Meanwhile, European music has more influence on musical quality, which is related to harmony and melody.
The fusion of these two antonymous traditions then produces a new type of music that reinterprets the use of notes in new combinations, creating blue notes that express feelings, both sad and happy.
The forerunner of jazz music was also inseparable from the screams of African slaves who were farming in America, a combination of sounds from the style of New Orleans musicians, then gospel music that developed into blues, and several other basic ingredients that combined to form new types of music.