4. March Music was played in New Orleans and elsewhere during funeral processions and parades. There was an emphasis on a strong rhythmic music for marching band especially military bands. March tempos are about 120-steps a minute for drill, parades, ceremonial processions, and funeral processions.
The greatest influence on march music of the period was John Phillip Sousa. He was a composer with the United States Marine Band. Sousa composed “Stars and Stripes Forever” (1896) which is the official march of the United States and “Semper Fidelis” (1888) the official march of the United States Marine Corps.
5. Ragtime Music flourished from 1890s to 1910s. Rags are syncopated music in which some notes are played offbeat. The rags are designed specifically for dancing and its instrument is
the piano which is more suitable for dancing. Scott Joplin, “Father of Ragtime” transformed ragtime from folk music into a classical music art. Joplin wrote music notation, composed ragtime, and published the music. The “drag” was the music written for the dance and the dance itself. He added European classical style to the music. Joplin performed at the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893. Ragtime was the first of Black music to become popular in mainstream America and Europe. He began publishing music.in 1895. He published “Maple Leaf Rag” in 1899. He trained future ragtime musicians. Joplin composed opera as well.
In a 1913 interview for the New York Age newspaper in Harlem, Joplin observed about the
presence of Ragtime music in the country. He stated, “Ragtime music in America (has been here) ever since the Negro race has been here, but the white people took no notice of it until about twenty years ago.”
Ragtime was popular in the country by 1897. Ernest Hogan popularized ragtime. Hogan composeda comedy dance called “La Pas Ma La” in which the dancer walks threesteps forward and then one back.
Hand upon yo’head, let your mind roll back,
Back, back, back, back and look at the stars
Stand uprightly, dance it brightly
That’s the Pas Ma La.
Hogan wrote the dance song “All Coons Look A like to Me.” Coon songs were songs using stereotypical negative images of Blacks usually in minstrel shows. Hogan was apologetic later in life. He stated regarding the song and dance.
"[That] song caused a lot of trouble in and out of show business, but it was also good for show business because at the time money was short in all walks of life. With the publication of that song, a new musical rhythm was given to the people. Its popularity grew and it sold like wildfire... That one song opened the way for a
lot of colored and white songwriters. Finding the rhythm so great, they stuck
to it ... and now you get hit songs without the word 'coon.' Ragtime was the
rhythm played in backrooms and cafes and such places. The ragtime players were the boys who played just by ear their own creations of music which would have been lost to the world if I had not put it on paper."[
“Mississippi Rag” by William Henry Krell is thought to be the first rag published in 1897 and “Shake Yo’ Duster or Piccaninny Rag” (1898) made ragtime a musical genre.
While Blacks published the music, only whites recorded the music. Lewis Muir performed at the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904. He performed in Britain in 1912 and had the first Ragtime recording in 1912.
Ragtime influenced the development of the Foxtrot dance created by Vernon and Irene Castle the most famous show dancers of the early 1900s. The Castles were accompanied by Lieutenant John Reese Europe’s orchestra. They developed the steps to dance to Europe’s rendition of W.C. Handy St. Louis Blues which had slower steps than his jazz numbers.
In the Jazz Age, Ragtime evolved into the Harlem jazz stride piano music. Among the most famous pianist of Jazz were James P. Johnson, Jelly Roll Morton, and Fats Waller.
Swing dance music became popular among college students in the 1930s and dance orchestras included it in their repertoire throughout the middle of the 1900s. In addition, Black musicians played Ragtime on the guitar. The genre is well known as the Piedmont Blues in the Southeast coastal states.
6. Juba Dance (Hambone) Tap Dancing
The Hambone is the basic rhythmic beat of American music and dance. This will become more evident as we talk about modern music and dance.
The Cakewalk is a true Black original dance art. It is the basis of all modern-day dances worldwide from the Charleston to the Foxtrot to the Tango. The Cakewalk is a formal dance done in formal attire in which animated walking and prancing is done with a partner. The dance began as a contest on slave plantation and the prize was a cake. It is a 2-Step dance that was influenced by the Ring Shout of walking and shuffling feet. The most unique elementof the Cakewalk is that it is done to the Habanero Rhythm. The Habanero “Big 4” Rhythm is the essential characteristic of Jazz that makes it a quick step up-tempo dance music. The Habanero is the Hambone rhythm pattern and an African Rhythm. The Habanero did not enter the Americas byway of Africa. It is the basis of the English country dance from the 1400s and European classical music. This pattern was presence during the European Renaissance. Its roots are in the Moorish dance (Morris dance) and it enteredthe Americas through French immigrants. This implies that the Cakewalk and Jazz exemplifies a “Moorish Renaissance.” Anthropologists have also observed that Seminole Indians walked with partners in processions during war dances. This characteristic may be a result ofi nteraction with Spanish and French immigrants or enslaved persons in the Georgia region.
The word “cakewalk”or “that takes the cake” are thought to derive from this dance. A “cakewalk” is identified as early as 1863 as meaning something that is easy. The energetic walking and prancing are thought to be an imitation of the walk or waltz and minuet dances of slave masters on the plantation.
Another energetic walk is the “Chalk-line Walk.” The Chalk-line Walk is when couples walk with a water bucket on their heads. The one that spills the least amount of water wins the contest. The 1876 Centennial Celebration Exhibitin Philadelphia featured Black singers and dancers in a plantation setting doing the chalk-line walk. On February 17, 1892, there was a Grand Cakewalk at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 made the Cakewalk popular. There Dora Dean and her husband Charles E. Johnson danced as partners in a Cakewalk dance. Their production of “The Creole Show”ran from 1889-1897. It was an all-Blackshow. In 1893, they introduced couplesof men and women as partners in the Cakewalk. Johnson said that the cakewalk was “simple,dignified and well-dressed.” Dean and Johnson performed in France. This was the first time that women were used in vaudeville acts. It ended the minstrels and vaudeville’s use of men to imitate Black women in the drag dances. The use of the Blackface performers began to wane.
“Clorindy, The Origin of the Cakewalk” was a one- act Broadway play written by Will Marion Cook and Paul Laurence Dunbar with an all-Black cast. Scott Joplin in The Ragtime Dance he published in 1902 mentions the “Cakewalk.”
Let me see you do the rag-time dance,
Turn left and do the cakewalk prance,
Turn the other way and do the slow drag-
Now take your lady to the World's Fair
And do the rag-time dance.
Cultural Folkways Become Music and Dance Artforms:
The Making of Jazz and American Classical Music
3. Synthesis and Syncopation- Improvisation and Innovation: Origins of Jazz
By the late 1800s, several cultural folkways had been cultivated in Black America. Some of these folkways were being standardized into artforms. They include the categories of vocalized and dance features and military marching band music. First, were the vocal forms of spirituals, blues, and ragtime. The Fisk JubileeSingers were showcasing spirituals in a cappella. The blues had already formed in theMississippi Delta. Ragtime was being composed and had emerged as an American dance music crazed by 1897 and slow drags were popular. Next, the marching band music was heavy on brass instruments and these instruments were readily available. Lastly, the Cakewalk and the Juba (Hambone) had energetic steps based on the Habanero Rhythm. These artforms were familiar to the people because they were present in the churches and camp meetings, danced in the juke houses, on display in Congo Square, and performed by people in their homes or social gatherings. Theartforms encompassed folkways art techniques that involved hollers, moaning, work songs, rhyming and chants, scatting and humming of unintelligible sounds, ring shouts, shuffling, chalk-line walking, Islamic call- to -prayer, and the call and response pattern.
While some of these characteristics were present throughout Black America, only New Orleans had all the cultural features necessary for the fashioning of Jazz. In the context of New Orleans, it had the funeral processions with the brass bands as the congregation left the
cemetery. The bands played, energetic steps, upbeat singing, and there were chants of the Mardi Gras Indians and moaners celebrating. Moreover, the people of the New Orleans area were comfortable with a variety of music and dance traditions as they had been performed in Congo Square. In addition, New Orleans was a cosmopolitan city in which people from a variety of backgrounds and cultures blended. The New Orleans to Havana semiweekly ferry transported not only people but it was a means of cultural exchange. In the aftermath of slavery, and the Spanish American War, by the early 1900s, the peoples of the Gulf Coast and the Caribbean and Latin America shared a heritage. The U.S. had Black representatives at their consulates in these countries. Pan American meetings included discussions on shared Black heritage. It was not until an influx of Asian and European immigrants into Latin America that the ethnic nature of the region changed.
From Havana came the contradanza, the dance of Havana. The contradanza, a Spanish and Spanish American form of the English country dance that was adopted by the French court. It was introduced into Latin America by French immigrants and became a Creole form introduced into Cuba by the French fleeing the Haitian Revolution in 1791. The music was internationally popular in the 1700s. The contradanza was used as a musical form by Beethoven and Mozart directly as a component of European classical music. It is a rhythmic pattern found throughout Africa. But it entered Americas as a European music artform. The style was popular because it was Moorish and known as early as the mid-1400s in England and throughout Europe as the “Moorish Dance.” In rural and lower-class society, the dance is performed in Black face.
The rhythm is called the Habanera. The Habanero or what Jelly Roll Morton called the “Spanish Tinge” was a familiar musical effect. The Habanera is an African Rhythm pattern. Although it is presence in these cultures, common cultural strand of the Habanero was Moorish musical instruments and dance.
Synthesis andSyncopation- Improvisation and Innovation: Origins of Jazz
Charles “Buddy”Bolden is “the Creator of Jazz.” He and his band conceived Jazz. He was active during the 1890s until 1907. Bolden played the cornet. He synthesized the various folkways of Black people by adding the brass instruments of the marching band to the spirituals, Blues and Ragtime music and added string instruments to create a new style of dance music. Most significantly, it was Bolden who added the influence of Creole culture into the new musical artform by adding the Habanero rhythm to brass and other instruments. The Habanero is considered the
“ Big Four” rhythmic movement known as the “hambone” rhythmicpattern. Jelly Roll Morton called the “Spanish Tinge” the flavor for Jazz.” The Syncopated or ragged music was popular for dance as was Habanera in the contradanza in the dance of Havana.
Jazz was developed as dance music. After the end of slavery, Black people were free to socialize in public places other than churches. Juke house and dance halls sprung up to fulfil this social need. The music from the funeral procession, spirituals, and Blues were adapted secular music or the “devil music” for the juke houses and dance houses. Syncopated or ragged music was popular for dance. That is why the music was named “Ragtime.” Bolden also is credited for referring to the term of “Funk.” Ragtime music began to wane and gave way to Jazz and offshoot dance music such as Swing, Rock and Roll and Soul. Ragtime made a brief comeback in the mid-1980s with the movie “The Sting” (1984).
Bolden became mentally disabled in 1907 at the age of 30 and lived the rest of his life in an
asylum. This left it to other New Orleans musicians to form and nurture Jazz. Joe “King” Oliver pioneered jazz and through Innovation and Improvisation he fashioned jazz into an artform that became America’s classical music. Oliver was a member of Bolden’s band.
Oliver was born near Baton Rouge. His family moved to New Orleans in the 1890s where he studied trombone. He played with Kid Ory, another Jazz pioneer, and the Creole Jazz Band in the 1910s. He introduced many Innovations into Jazz. Like Bolden, King Oliver played cornet. He developed the standard instruments that became a part of the traditional jazz band. He wanted jazz to have a bolder sound, so Oliver switched to playing the trumpet because it was louder. Oliver originated the mute techniques of using mutes to alter the sound of instruments. He used a plunger, a derby hat, cups, bottles and other items to alter the sound of instruments. He used mutes to create the famous Wah-Wah sound of the trumpet. He intensified the Habanero rhythmic pattern to the slow drag of Ragtime to make the music m ore energetic. This led to including more prancing and animated dance steps like the steps of the Cakewalk and
Chalk-line. This led to jazz dances like the Lindy Hop, Black Bottom, and the Charleston. The fast-paced steps and dynamic moves are what led F. Scott Fitzgerald to refer to the social and economic activities of the 1920s as the "Jazz Age. "
Improvisation is a key characteristic of Black folkways. Improvisation is spontaneous creative expression. While improvisation is common in all Black folkways, The Creole Jazz Band introduced what became known as “Collective Improvisation” into Jazz. Collective improvisation is a technique when musicians, vocals, dancers, and audience all interact to create music, sounds, dance steps and call and response spontaneously in response to one another.
Oliver improved upon and standardized Jazz. He wrote compositions that became jazz standards like “Dippermouth Mouth Blues,” “Canal Street Blues,” “Dr. Jazz,” and “Snag It.” Oliver brought Jazz to the world. He moved to Chicago in 1918 where he organized a band. In 1921 he played on the West Coast. He reorganized The Creole Jazz Band and went back to Chicago in 1922.
Because of racial segregation, white musicians outside of New Orleans could not learn
Jazz. In Chicago and elsewhere, they had to listen from the windows of Black-only clubs to observe the style of the bands. Oliver’s band did his first soundrecording in 1923 demonstrating the techniques of collective improvisation. Oliver turned down the job to be the house band for the Cotton Club because he was holding out for more money. Duke Ellington took the job which elevated his career to stardom. Oliver was the mentor to many of the early Jazz greats that came from the traditional jazz scene of New Orleans like Louis Armstrong.
Elements of Jazz
1. Instruments-BuddyBolden the originator of Jazz added the brass instruments of the marching band to traditional cultural arts of Black America such as spirituals, ring shouts,
hollers, work songs, and the Blues. The brass instruments are signature instruments of Jazz. Bolden and Oliver used the trumpet to make a louder sound. The trumpet is a signature nstrument of jazz bands. Other major jazz instruments of the jazz orchestra are the rhythm section saxophone, trombone, and clarinet to give a bold and united sound, groove, and feeling.
Harmony, movement .and tempo are stabilized by percussionists with the drums, and the piano, guitar, bass, and banjo provide flavor with high and low pitches, beats, and melodic tunes. Oliver pioneered the use of mutes to alter the sounds. Mutes include plungers, cups, and the derby hat.
2. Habanero Rhythm- Manuel Saumell Robredo, a pianist of Cuba perfected the Habanero, music of Havana, Cuba and the contradanza style that was a feature of Creole music. Bolden applied the Habanero Rhythm to traditional cultural arts of Black America. Bolden turned up the tempo on music, song, and rhythmic speaking that had to be more submissive during slavery. The Somber mood was replaced with the happy beats that the mourners felt when they returned from the cemetery. Jazz represented a renewal of life.
3. Vocals- Jazz uses phrasing, call and response participation of band members, blue notes and
refrain and shout choruses. A signature of jazz is scatting. Scatting is “an excitable moaning, holler and spiritually speaking in tongues which is unintelligible to the listeners ears but understandable to the soul.” Jelly Roll Morton said that scatting was“…way before Louis Armstrong’s time. …The first man that ever did a scat number in history of this country was a man from Vicksburg, Mississippi, by the name of Joe Sims, an old comedian. And from that Tony Jackson and myself, and several more grabbed it in New Orleans. And found it was pretty good for an introduction of a song.” Jazz uses phrasing, call and response participation of band members, blue notes and refrain and shout choruses.
4. Improvisation-The spontaneity of Jazz is an essential quality of the music art. Jazz is known for its improvisational element that add vibrations to the music. Improvisation is a steady state of motion and creativity. King Oliver originated the collective improvisation quality of Jazz. Collective improvisation which is a state in which the musicians, vocalists, dancers, and the audience are engaging in composing music on the spot around the beat. The songs, music, and dance are always in the creative mold of formation, omnipresent, motion, transformative, birth, rebirth, and renewal. Jazz is always present and ever alive.
5. Dance—Jazz was developed to give syncopation for dance music. The Habanero and contradanza of Cuba was the essential ingredient that brings out the flavor of the cultural
traditions of Black America and ignited the energy required for those traits to develop into Jazz. The Habanero picked up the pace of Ragtime’s slow drag. After Ragtime went out of style, the piano was added into Jazz to make dance music that was smoother. The Harlem stride was the first dance music of the genre. It was played by James P. Johnson and Thomas “Fats” Waller.
The Cakewalk, Chalk-line, and Juba (Hambone) are the basis of all modern dance. They involve energetic motion in walking,hopping,tapping and stomping. They were from conception based on the Jazz Big 4 Habanero Rhythm. They also had the 2-Step dance movements. Jazz is known to have spawn a dance craze and a multitude of high-spirited dances including the Jitterbug, Charleston, Lindy Hop, Fox Trot, and the Stride. The Swing became a jazz dance that was popular among white college students in the 1930s. Energetic dances continued into the Rock and Roll era of the “Twist," line dances and “Disco.” Hop became a reference to any organized social dance. Hip Hop's B-boys and B-girls are an off-shoot of jazz dancing.
Jazz orchestras were organized with band leaders. The big bands of the swing era emerged. Musical Theaters were dramatic outlets for jazz musicians and performers. Including dancers in the mode of Josephine Baker. Also, jazz choreography became an outlet for originality. Katherine Dunham was a choreographer of theatrical dance. She founded Katherine Dunham Dance Company. The Dunham technique was based on African-Caribbean styles.
The Americas’ Black culture became predominant because it was originally Moorish
civilization which had over the prior millennium diffused throughout Europe through aristocratic customs, the Crusades, and the expulsions of Moors andAndalusians during the Reconquista.
Jazz’s Impact on Society
The fashion of the Jazz Age was reflected the demands of the music, Zook suit that allowed men to dance, The Zoot suit was accompanied by wide brim hats.
While women were fashionable with shorter and looser dresses and silk stockings to cover their legs. Again, dance clothing was the mode. In vogue was short hair styles and bell-shaped hats.
The popularity of Jazz coincided with several social changes and controversies. Jazz became associated with immoral, and criminal activity. Dance led to the popularity of Juke houses and dance halls as social establishments. Also, Jazz introduced more upbeat music in churches which became controversial. The 18thAmendment prohibited the production, consumption, and transportation of alcohol. Jazz was played in clubs and speakeasies where alcohol was served. Criminal activity especially gang activity was associated with prohibition. Prohibition ended in 1933.
Finally, the 19th Amendment allowed women to vote in 1920s. Women felt more empowered by the vote and begin to socialize in public in juke houses and clubs with men. Women wore clothing that included shorter skirts and short hairstyles. Jazz became associated with immoral habits and a subculture. Jazz would eventually overcome negative connotations and become American classical music.