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Harlem Jazz: A glance at cultural heritage of Afro-American

3 Mins read

History of Jazz

Since the inception of civilization, music has had its existence as a therapy and it also intertwined closely with the culture and entertainment of human beings. Born out of the sufferings of marginalized native population, Harlem Jazz in America blended the two genres of musical traditions, African and American. Believe it or not, music of different ages has turned into a prominent outlet for venting out repressed thoughts and ideals, while it makes its way to mirroring the voice of protest. Like the other musical forms, Jazz music has left no stone unturned to give expression to the societal inequalities and age-old prejudices, devouring humanity from within.

Jazz music in reality is a distinct style of music that characterizes the perfect amalgamation of complex chords and polyrhythm, accompanied by a serious emphasis on improvisation. This specific tradition of music got Midas touch by Harlem Renaissance in the year of 1920s. More precisely, Harlem Renaissance stands for the exponential growth of artistic forms, music, art, and literature, and this explosion occurred between the end of the first world war and the mid of 1930s. Deviating from the path of racial discrimination, this renaissance depicted renewed interest in black life. This blog in its short framework has listed the features of the Harlem Renaissance to let the readers acknowledge the special attributes that Jazz music possessed.

  • Instilled the spirit of equality among individuals across the world
  • Kindled the basic moral values among human beings, buried for a long time-under the racial pride
  • Depicted a new consciousness and commitment toward the political activism
  • Portrayed the harsh reality of racial pride, that shattered the reams of black Africans to live a life in harmony
  • Cultural revival of Afro-American gamut of artistic expressions
  • Folk culture and its rich heritage were also reflected through the art pieces
Harlem Jazz

Elements of Jazz

Owing to its association with the Harlem Renaissance, Jazz music has soared higher and it has touched a new height in the domain of performing arts. Moreover, Jazz in essence is one of the most unique American music forms that contribute directly to global culture. This American folk song tradition, an output of the American oeuvre has prominent features that are following, 

  • Syncopation
  • A profound sense of creative freedom
  • Swing
  • Blues
  • Improvisation

Syncopation-

Syncopation is one of the most vital attributes that Jazz music has possessed and it sets this form of music apart from that of others. This element, syncopation is the fundamental feature, preventing the chances of turning the music to be boring to the audiences and it also enables them to develop a refined taste. In the live concerts of Jazz, you will be able to witness musicians playfully stress upon both the stronger and weaker beats to produce soulful musical pieces and it excites the audiences as well.  

Creative Freedom-

Unlike any other art form, Jazz demands more creative freedom to give shape to the final performance, and at the same time, reinforcement of own style gives the audience a glimpse of the musicians’ autonomy. If you are watching the live performance of a soloist, you would be able to delve deep into the musical sea as the soloists usually select a rhythm and one harmonic concept to strike a fine balance and limit the choices.   

Swing-

Swing is the subjective quality of the music that is created by the usage of the eighth note. From the point of view of a listener, you would be able to feel the rhythm when the Jazz musician would attempt to create a soothing effect. 

Blues-  

Jazz music often makes its tone more melancholic and fuses with that of the blues to travel its listeners to a new world, overflowing with swinging movements and abstract aspects side by side. The sudden incorporation of the blue notes within the music lets the listeners get acquainted with the nostalgic feelings or agonize with that of the musician.

Improvisation-

Melodic improvisation is not an entirely new thing that Jazz introduced rather from the beginning; singers kept altering the pattern of music at their convenience. Jazz improvisation refers to the creation of fresh melodies for allowing the listeners to feel fresh and energized. Taking the melodic notes to an upbeat mode, singers can effortlessly shatter the monotony of the listeners.    

Cultural attributes of Jazz 

Jazz, especially Harlem Jazz has its closest association with that Afro-American indigenous culture and their rich heritage. Familial bonds to the intense sense of hospitality and holistic practices of Christianity are delineated through the meticulous choices of the themes in Jazz music. Originating from Orleans, Jazz kept assimilating with stylistic traditions like ragtime, classical, blues, and others. Your active listening to each of the rhetoric in Jazz music would tell you the narratives of struggles and the intense agony of slavery that repressed the autonomy of the Afro-Americans for a long time.

Concluding Words 

Jazz music concerning the Harlem Renaissance has left indelible imprints in the minds of the listeners and gives expression to the oppression; Black people are enduring for ages due to their otherness. To know more about the details of Jazz music, the worldviews of the black people, and Harlem Gospel Choir Tickets, do contact any Harlem tour providers or guides near you.       

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