Home>Jazz - what is it?
|The Oxford English Dictionary describes jazz as - |
“a type of music of black American origin characterized by improvisation, syncopation, and a regular rhythm”
It is certainly a distinctive form of music that developed at the start of the 20th century in the United States. The most prominent feature of the music was its syncopated element.
Many believe the origins of jazz can be traced directly to African sources; however the more objective view is that jazz gained its richest growth in the black slave regions of the U.S. – developed by slaves of African origin.
“Jazz” is recognized as America’s (U.S.A) only true art form.
The origins of the word “jazz” vary from one source to dozens of others.
Here are some examples of its supposed origin-
“Jass” – an early black American word that referred to sexual intercourse and its enjoyment.
The word can be traced back to the late 1870s where it was used as a verb - excite, titillate.
“Jazzbo” was a word in use way before jazz times that referred to a sharply dressed person.
The word “jazz” became popular in the 1920s where it was not used as a noun – examples being “jazz it up” and “jazz that thing” etc.
Jazz music combines the influences of African music with European classical music and played on European instruments (although a few percussion instruments are of non-European origin)