Music History Term Paper

Length: 3 pages Sources: 1+ Subject: Music Type: Term Paper Paper: #6488635 Related Topics: Classical Music, Musical Genres, Jazz, Music Industry
Excerpt from Term Paper :

Avant-Garde Jazz

Jazz music might sometimes be difficult to define because of its many movements. As a purely American form of music, jazz cannot be overlooked for its influence in other musical genres. As jazz has evolved over the years, the genre has witnessed many movements that represent African-American moods and attitudes. One significant movement in jazz is the avant-garde movement, which changed the course of traditional jazz. Along with this new movement comes a diverse array of opinions regarding jazz, contemporary forms of jazz, and jazz audiences.

The avant-garde movement of jazz is the often referred to as the bebop era. Lewis Porter asserts that bebop was a "revolt" (Porter 174) from bag band arrangements and the confines of tradition. Characteristics of bebop include a melody that does not last for a long time and many beboppers aimed for dissonance, which means experimenting with new sounds. Porter notes that the popularity of Stan Kenton's bands illustrates the attraction that the public has for this type of music. Miles Davis was a pioneer in the area of improvisational jazz. "So What," "Freddie Freeloader" and "Blue in Green" are songs that illustrate the type of free rhythmic style that is represented in avant-garde jazz. (Evans 270) Bob Gottlieb admits that bebop undoubtedly replaced swing jazz. He notes that while many listeners do not appreciate the cacophony found in bebop, those with "open ears backed with open minds" (Gottlieb 175), will be "fascinated by the complexity of the form and thrilled by the virtuosity" of those performers.

Other characteristics of bebop include an "abundance of notes played at...


The dissonant chords are especially prevalent in this genre of music. Gottlieb notes that in spite of its name, bebop is not nonsense but rather "modern progressive music, harmonically suited to the tunes" (176). Boppers would also play extremely fast and extremely slow tempos to expand their range of expression. Leroi Jones asserts that bebop is essential to the avant-garde movement that jazz is experiencing. He describes bebop as a complex form of music that allowed for a new beginning of the avant-garde movement. It deserves to be included in the jazz lexicon as much as blues does. He goes on to describe that the roots of bebop, as well as blues, are emotion.

Musicians that illustrated a departure from traditional jazz and regularly included bebop into their music are Ornette Coleman, Wilbur Barr, Ed Blackwell, and Billy Higgins. An interesting characteristic of bebop is the type of singing that generally accompanied songs. Much like scat singing, bebop singers would incorporate "something like chants and field hollers" into the music. This freedom allowed the musical instruments to carry the "entire rhythmic impetus of the music" (226). This type of rhythmic freedom and diversity is what Jones claims is the "valuable" legacy of bebop. Gottlieb claims that the Hard Boppers" wanted to revolutionize jazz but did not go far enough. What was seemingly lost in the 1940s was rediscovered in the 1960s. "Because rhythm and melody complement each other so closely in the latter style, the drummer and bass player were better able to play melodically. There was no longer a concern with…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Evans, Bill. "The Jazz Cadence of American Culture. "

Gottlieb, Bill. "The Anatomy of Bop."

Jones, Leroi. "The Jazz Avant-Garde."

Lewis Porter. "Reaction to Bebop."

Cite this Document:

"Music History" (2004, June 02) Retrieved April 16, 2021, from

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"Music History", 02 June 2004, Accessed.16 April. 2021,

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