The renaissance had many sources in black culture, primarily of the United States and the Caribbean, and manifested itself well beyond Harlem. As its symbolic capital, Harlem was a catalyst for artistic experimentation and a highly popular nightlife destination.
For nearly the first half of the twentieth century, from about tojazz was the dominant form of popular dance music in the United States. Dance music and dance bands existed before jazz and, after the rise of jazz, there were still many dance bands that did not play jazz or used jazz elements only sparingly.
And although for a certain period of its existence, jazz was dance music, jazz musicians were probably not attracted to this style of music primarily for this reason.
From its earliest days, jazz seemed to have been music that, in part, musicians played for themselves, as a way to free themselves from the rigidity of standard dance or marching bands or other forms of commercial or popular music, which they found repetitive and unchallenging to play.
Jazz originated early in the century with small bands of five-to-seven players in a style that became known as New Orleans, named after the place where the music, in its first iteration, codified itself.
That style is now called Dixieland. Jazz was propelled commercially mostly by to piece big bands, usually with both a male and female vocalist, in a style that became known as swing during the s.
With the rise of Jazz evolved from New Orleans style music, now called Dixieland, to more commercially successful swing music, which featured improvisation against a background of arranged composition. It is clear that despite its humble origins among the lower classes, immigrants, and African Americans, jazz was never really a folk music; it professionalized and standardized itself fairly quickly, becoming highly sophisticated show and stage music within a half-dozen years of its initial arrival on sound recording in Although jazz has made use of many musical structures including blues, tango, African and Indian music; its most basic form is the bar format of the American pop song, many of which by such noted composers as Harold Arlen, Jerome Kern, the Gershwin Brothers, Rodgers and Hart, Vernon Duke, and others, constitute the foundational repertoire of jazz.
It was the commercial success of swing and its rampant formularized sound that led dissatisfied musicians to more experimental, much less dance-oriented post-World War II forms of jazz: Bebop, cool jazz, progressive jazz, and, eventually, the avant garde or highly atonal, seemingly structure-less jazz.
The major jazz musicians who emerged after World War II—saxophonists Charlie ParkerSonny RollinsStan Getzand John ColtraneDissatisfaction with the commercialization and familiarity of swing led to the development of jazz, music that was more than mere entertainment. Johnsonand arranger Quincy Jones were all innovators of or highly influenced by chord structures that were far more virtuosic and modernistic than swing.
Indeed, while jazz was always a form of music where the ability of exceptional soloists was one of the major features of the music, after World War II, with its preoccupation with velocity and complexity, jazz became a musical form much more self-consciously consumed with the idea of virtuosity for its own sake, so that the music would not be mistaken by the public as mere entertainment.
Both blacks and whites as well as Latinos in the United States performed jazz and the audience was diverse, although in large measure now, the audience for this music is mostly white.
Historically, jazz was largely the creation of black Americans as they have figured disproportionately among the major innovators of this musical expression. This has created two forms of tensions within jazz: This latter tension was especially felt during the s and s, when racial discord in the United States was more pronounced because of the civil rights movement, the violence it spawned, and the intensely politicized battle over the re-definition of race and the end of white hegemony in the United States and around the colonized world at the time.
But jazz was more than just music; at the height of its influence, jazz was a cultural movement, particularly influencing the young in dress, language, and attitude. It was, in this respect, a prototype for both rock and roll and hip hop because it was so viscerally hated by the bourgeoisie Jazz inspired writers and visual artists but was hated by the bourgeoisie largely because of its association with sex and drugs.
Jazz was associated with interracial sex many jazz nightclubs were open to patrons of any race and with illegal drugs, in the early days, marijuana, and during the s, with heroin. Visual artists and writers were frequently inspired by jazz, many thinking its sense of spontaneity, its dissonance, its anti-bourgeois attitude embodied compelling aspects of modernism.
Jazz deeply influenced artists such as Romare Bearden and Jackson Pollock. Many filmmakers, both in the United States and Europe—from the s through the s—used jazz in either nightclub scenes, as source music, or as part of the musical score in films and animated features.
Jazz was used extensively in film noir and crime movies, and occasionally in psychological dramas. Jazz has always been an urban music, tied to urban nightlife, Prohibition, vice zones, dance halls, inner city neighborhoods, and concert stages. Its history coincides not only with the urbanization of America itself but particularly with the urbanization of African Americans, dating from their movement from the South starting around the beginning of World War I when job opportunities in industry opened up for them.
Jazz broke on the scene at the same time as the arrival of the New Negro Renaissancealso known as the Harlem Renaissance, a period covering from to This period in African American life featured a self-conscious attempt by black leaders Jazz became prominent during a period of broad artistic and political ferment among African Americans.
Johnsonand Alain Locke to create a school of black literature because they firmly believed that in order for blacks to achieve greatness as a people, they had to produce great art.
But it must be remembered that this period was not just about art: The African American response to jazz during this era was mixed. The only black writer of the Renaissance who was truly taken with jazz was Langston Hugheswho, during the course of his career, not only wrote many poems about it but also on occasion read his poems against a jazz backdrop, even recording with bassist Charles Mingusa creative partnership that Mingus found unsatisfying.
Frank Marshall Davisa poet and journalist from Chicago, also voiced a fondness for jazz in his writing. Jazz figured in two Claude McKay novels: Home to Harlem and Banjowhich is about a roving seaman who is also a musician, a banjo player, an instrument still played by African Americans at the time and frequently featured in small jazz bands.
Considering the impact of jazz, it is surprising how little impact the music had on African American letters in the s and s. Jazz's literary influence comes after World War II. Ellison himself studied both composition and trumpet as a student in his hometown of Oklahoma City and at Tuskegee Institute, where, in fact, he majored in music.
So, unlike most black writers, Ellison actually knew music technically. He also felt that music was central to understanding race in America: Invisible Man as a jazz novel. The scene where the protagonist listens to Armstrong sing this song conveys this symbolically as he eats vanilla ice cream white drenched in sloe gin red while the blues play on his phonograph.
The novel certainly suggests that jazz is a part of a larger tapestry of black creativity, founded in black folk life, including black speech and sermonizing, black styles of dress, and black eating habits.A golden age of African American cultural nationalism, the Harlem Renaissance was a grand response to the call of W.
E. B. Du Bois, an African American civil rights leader who, in November , wrote that an age of African American literature was due. Originating in the eighteenth century and inspiring religious and political movements throughout the s, Ethiopianism dominated African American depictions of Africa in the first two decades of the twentieth century, particularly in the writings of Du Bois, Sutton Griggs, and Pauline Hopkins.
An Analysis of the Harlem Renaissance, a Period in Twentieth Century African American Intellectual and Cultural Life. words. 1 page. An Analysis of the Elements of American Lifestyle Influenced by the French. 1, words. 2 pages. An Analysis of the Impact of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States of America.
words. The Harlem Renaissance was a phase of a larger New Negro movement that had emerged in the early 20th century and in some ways ushered in the civil rights movement of the late s and early s.
of the Harlem Renaissance artists, and an analysis of selected works, concentrating on the poetry. The study will include a look at Christianity in the African American. So, what was the Harlem Renaissance? The simple answer is that the Harlem Renaissance (or the New Negro Movement, or whatever name is preferred) was the most important event in twentieth-century African American intellectual and cultural life.