ERIC Number: ED200484
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1980-Oct
The Cultural-Rhetorical Role of Free Jazz: Forging an Identity in the Sixties.
The free jazz movement of the 1960s provided a rhetorical parallel in music to the verbal messages of black power and black nationalism. The use of Third World musical patterns represented an attempt to reinforce the revolutions in perceptions that black Americans held of themselves, their cultural heritage, and relationships to the rest of the nonwhite world. The three areas in which black musicians sought to throw off European musical concepts were harmony and melody, rhythm, and the nature of the instrumental source. The European harmonic system came to be seen as a symbol of the dominant white culture. Modal music, which is based on the concept of scalar improvisation rather then systemized chord progressions, is the structural form used by the free jazz movement. It has much in common with Third World musical sensibilities. In terms of rhythm, two approaches were used: the employment of drums as a melody instrument and an increased emphasis on polyrhythms. Finally, where European musical tradition places an emphasis on the purity of tone production on any given instrument, the jazz tradition has always emphasized individualized sound. The free jazz movement made wide use of angry sounds--rants, screams, cries, and moans--to form a part of the expressive message of this movement. (Author/KC)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at Annual Meeting of the Popular Culture Association (9th, Winston-Salem, NC, October 16-18, 1980).