Jazz Influences on the 20th Century

10 October 2016

The Influence of Jazz on Twentieth-Cantury Music Many people in today’s society don’t realize how much of an influence has been transpired throughout history overtime. We tend to overlook all the influences on today’s music and don’t actually appreciate history’s influences in our everyday lives. I would like to focus on the twentieth-century and how the visual arts influenced the time period. Hopefully this essay can spread knowledge and awareness on how much history has to do with influences in today’s music.

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In the 20th century, there were several American and European composers who were highly interested in the jazz industry. Composers have been using parts of native music for centuries. Some of the most popular names such as Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and  Bach, developed some of the most popular tunes of their time. In the earlier stages of the 20th century composers began to compose music that attempted to fuze together both Jazz and classical music. Igor Stravinsky , Maurice Ravel, and Darius Milhaud were just a sum of the most notable.

America had a few of its own successful composers as well such as, Aaron Copland ,George Gershwin , Gunther Schuller, and Leonard Bernstein also arrived through the inspiration of Jazz music. Most of the Jazz scene began to develop in New Orleans, other major cities such as St. Louis, Memphis, and Chicago had their own style. Once New Orleans was sold through the Louisiana Purchase, the city had a higher standard of living with their dancing, wine drinking, food and love for music. The overall background circulating around New Orleans was the gateway to the beginning of Jazz.

They created music with unique sounds that offered the society a new perspective on music. Americas very own composer Gershwin, composed one of the worlds most pronounced pieces of jazz called “Rhapsody in Blue”. Another composer ,Aaron Copland, composed his own piano concerto that was Jazz-influenced. The song “Prelude, Fugue and Riffs”, composed by Leonard Bernstein is a song that sounds familiar to the works of Bach which also had combinations of Jazz. There was also an Austrian composer named Ernst Krenek who composed a well known Jazz-influenced opera called Jonny Spielt Auf”. The song created a story base on an African-American Jazz musician making a living in Europe named Jonny. He was believed to have been involved with stealing a violin and connected to a secret plot . The end of the song has Jonny on the top of the globe on stage,celebrating the fact that Jazz has become the center of European music. These are just some examples of Jazz inspired musicians. When you look into the overall history of Jazz many people will come to find out that it is one of the first genres to adapt other genres.

When Jazz began to evolve from ragtime to big band to bebop, fans of several types of music took notice. Artists such as Miles Davis, spent his career changing his sound and style ane became a model in the evolution of fusion, and jazz which drastically changed R&B, Rock , Funk, and other types of music. Davis, Ray Charles , Herbie Hancock, and many other jazz musicians helped to start the trend of cross-compilations playing on albums of artists who are not jazz artists. These examples of musicians throughout history shows you that Jazz is far from expiration and it is constantly evolving through the centuries.

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