Elements of Jazz Music Essay

Jazz music has attracted immense attention in the recent times. This is particularly predicated on the increased popularity of the music not only in the case of the old generation but also the younger generations. It is noteworthy that there are varying elements that make jazz music distinctive from other forms of music.

One of the major elements of jazz is improvisation, which underlines the spontaneous composition where every musician has the freedom to determine what to play even in the course of playing the music. Improvisation often requires that the musician have the capacity to handle the instrument well, and possess a clear comprehension of music theory particularly how chords and notes go together. On the same note, they must have the capacity to play the music “by ear”, which means that they would be playing music that they hear even without reading the notes, while also possessing the musical vocabulary that covers a wide range of styles such as classical, pop, blues and rock.

In addition, jazz is characterized by harmony as demonstrated by the number of notes that particular ballads possess. In this case, two or more notes that are played simultaneously make up harmony, which is also referred to as chord. Harmony could also be in the form of jazz chords, which often constitute 4-7 notes that are played at the same time. At the heart of chord (harmony) is chord voicing, where every chord and the arrangement of the notes demonstrate a different emotion including hopeful, sad, angry and happy.

One the same note, jazz incorporates distinctive rhythms that could range from simple to extremely complicated. Rhythm, in this case, underlines a regular pattern that is created via a series of notes that have varying stress and duration. The predisposing element of even the most complicated rhythms that is undertaken by every musician in jazz groups is a predisposing pulse, which allows the listeners to tap their foot to the music. At the heart of jazz rhythm is a distinctive tempo or speed of the pulse or beat. Given the fact that jazz musicians are allowed to improvise even in the course of performing the music, the tempo can extremely slow or very fast depending on the emotion that the performer wants to convey to the audience. Nevertheless, jazz music can also be swinging, a characteristic that comes to the fore in cases where the jazz performance incorporates a constant tempo in which the musician is neither speeding up nor slowing down. This does not undermine the fact that jazz usually has subtle and varied utilization of a wide range of complex and simple rhythms that are extemporaneously interwoven to make a cohesive sound.

Lastly, jazz is characterized by a distinctive form and structure in which it uses recurring chord progression. The grouping of varying sections of progression determines the type of tune of the music. Sections in chord progressions have varying letters. All chords in jazz performances have a predetermined sequence of the tune that is repeated over and over in a chorus. Nevertheless, jazz music has different choruses. The first chorus has the melody instruments playing the head, or the song’s composed melody, while the middle choruses provide the musician to improvise in line with the chord progression pertaining to each section. The last chorus involves playing the head again.

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