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History & Tradition of Jazz Essay

Why is jazz hard to define? Describe some of the reasons why it is sometimes difficult to determine if a musical recording or a performance qualifies as jazz? There is no single definition however there are 5 basic guidelines that loosely define jazz when followed to one degree or another. Jazz is a form of individual artistic musical expression. Jazz is performed in so many different styles, is part of many other types of music, and play by various instruments. Musicians develop their own style and sound.

Describe the relationship between the rules rhythm section instruments must adhere to and the freedoms they have to play what they want in fulfilling their role? The rhythm section usually consists of a bass, drums and piano or guitar. Their role is to support the soloist even if they are playing while the soloist is performing. While they have the freedom to play by improvising, they must do so in a manner supportive to the soloist.

Describe how the roles of these three instruments change during the course of a song in a jazz performance: piano, trumpet, bass? The piano plays chords that accompany the melody of the song. The piano feeds the soloist with rhythmic or melodic ideas. The trumpet is versatile in that the various mutes give it different sounds. The trumpet leads the melody. The bass provides a steady beat playing the note that outlines the chord on every beat.

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Describe what happens during an improvised solo both in terms of the soloist and the other members of the group? The soloist is composing on the spot His solo is unrehearsed and he needs to be able to formulate the melodies in his head before he plays them. He also needs to listen to the input from the other instruments and follow their lead while improvising and interacting with the other musicians. The non-soloists can either stop playing or continue to play in a role supportive to the soloist following their lead and providing musical leads which the soloist can take off on a tangent with.

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