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Effect of Jazz on Modern Music

In: Film and Music

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Cause and Effect Essay Throughout history music has accompanied Humanity in many different forms and styles. From Medieval and Baroque to Classical and Romantic, the genres we’ve seen in the past are largely similar in their foundations, with variations in theme and style that appropriately reflected moods of the time period. The music of today however, known as the Modern period, is much unlike the others. The introduction of Jazz music in the early 20th Century has sculpted what we know music as today. As a style that has evolved over time, people aren’t able to pinpoint a specific moment where Jazz was first played. Although, most accept it was initially developed in New Orleans, Louisiana. Jazz music at its core is a unique combination of both European and African musical elements. It takes its “rhythm and feel” component from African music. Additionally, the component of harmony -- that is, the chords that accompany the melody of the tune (usually played on the piano) -- and various instruments, such as the saxophone, trumpet, and piano, are borrowed from European music. While Jazz initially only saw popularity in a small minority of communities throughout the American South, it soon grew far beyond those reaches, developing many alternate styles of its own as it was introduced to new corners of society. Some examples include: Swing, Ragtime, Bossa Nova, Blues and Bebop. Classic jazz and its alternates are the facilitators of the evolution of popular music. While rock is considered the first iteration of today’s popular music, as a genre it owes many of its elements to Jazz music. For instance, Jazz musicians were the first to develop/use a complete drum set. Before jazz, bands required one person each to play the snare and bass drum, the cymbals, and the tom-toms. Rock didn’t just take the drum set from Jazz music. It also borrowed many of the same chord progressions. Music prior to the Modern period mostly was composed of only three or four triads/chords. But jazz revolutionized music by creating progressions that used as many as seven chords. While most modern music’s progressions are not as complex, they still use the same basics created in the jazz era. Another concept rock took from jazz music, is the use of solos. Jazz musicians structured their songs to allow for these improvisations.
Modern music also use syncopation. Which is “a shifting of the normal accent, usually by stressing the normally unaccented beats” in music. Syncopation was used by many composers since the middle ages. But not to the extent that jazz music brought along such as in ragtime. The music of today follows jazz in using syncopation and that’s what creates such “catchy songs.” For example, Katy Perry’s “Roar” has syncopated rhythms in her chorus and a majority of Maroon 5s drum beats are syncopated, but there are many more examples of syncopation being used in modern music.
Jazz hasn’t only effected rock and pop. You could say it’s the main cause of Hip hop. In the 1980’s and 90’s when Hip Hop and rap initially started taking place. Many of the instrumentals sampled prior jazz tunes. “Sampling is the act of taking a portion, or sample, of one sound recording and reusing it as an instrument or a sound recording in a different song or piece.” In that time period many musicians didn’t have access to studios or multiple instruments. Or they couldn’t play instruments. The sampling of jazz music allowed non musicians or novices to create their own instrumental that they could rap over. Creating a Hip Hop culture. Examples of sampled songs are Kool and the Gangs “Summer Madness” was sampled in Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince - "Summer time.” Another example would be the sampling of Tom Scott’s “today” in Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth’s “They Reminisce Over You.” You could also say that freestyling in rap music is another form of the improvisation taking place in jazz.
Therefore, the introduction of jazz in the early 1900’s has influenced all of the music succeeding its creation. The use of syncopated rhythms, complex chord progressions, and even instruments such as the drum set show this. Without its conception who knows what we would be listening to today.

Works Cited 2015. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.
Oja, Carol J. Making Music Modern: New York in the 1920s. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000. Internet resource. 'Jazz Styles'. 2015. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.
Davies, Laurence. Paths to Modern Music: Aspects of Music from Wagner to the Present Day. New
WhoSampled,. 'Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth's They Reminisce Over You (T.R.O.Y.) - Discover The Sample Source'. 2015. Web. 17 Nov. 2015.York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1971. Print.

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