Jazz And Classical Music
Upon entering a modern record store, one is confronted with a wide variety of
choices in recorded music. These choices not only include a multitude of
artists, but also a wide diversity of music categories. These categories run the
gamut from easy listening dance music to more complex art music. On the complex
side of the scale are the categories known as Jazz and Classical music. Some of
the most accomplished musicians of our time have devoted themselves to a
lifelong study of Jazz or Classical music, and a few exceptional musicians have
actually mastered both. A comparison of classical and Jazz music will yield some
interesting results and could also lead to an appreciation of the abilities
needed to perform or compose these kinds of music. Let\'s begin with a look at
the histories of the two. The music called classical, found in stores and
performed regularly by symphonies around the world, spans a length of time from

1600 up to the present. This time frame includes the Renaissance, Baroque,

Classical, Romantic and Contemporary periods. The classical period of music
actually spans a time from of 1750 to 1800; thus, the term Classical is a
misnomer and could more correctly be changed to Western Art Music or European

Art Music. European because most of the major composers up till the 20th century
were European. Vivaldi was Italian, Bach was German, Mozart and Beethoven were

Austrian; they are some of the more prominent composers. Not until the twentieth
century with Gershwin and a few others do we find American composers writing
this kind of art music. For the sake of convention, we can refer to Western Art

Music as Classical music. Jazz is a distinctively American form of music, and
it\'s history occupies a much smaller span of time. Its origins are found in the
early 1900s as some dance band leaders in the southern U.S. began playing music
that combined ragtime and blues. Early exponents of this dance music were Jelly

Roll Martin (a blues player) and Scott Joplin (ragtime). The terms
"Jazz" and "Jazz Band" first surfaced in the year 1900. Some
say this occurred in New Orleans, although similar music was played at the same
time in other places. The most prominent exponents of this early music, called

Dixieland Jazz, included Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet. After World War I,

Jazz music had evolved and was aided by the development of the recording
industry. The small dance band ensemble grew into the larger orchestra known as
the "Big Band". The music of the Big Bands became known as
"Swing." Two of the more famous Swing band leaders were Tommy Dorsey
and Harry James. In the late 40s and through the 50s, a different kind of Jazz
became popular. This music, played by a very small ensemble, was much more
sophisticated and complex . Its rich harmonic changes and melodic counterpoint
were not conducive to dance. It became known as "Bop," with Charlie

Parker and Dizzie Gillespie being the early proponents. In the last twenty years
there has been a combination of Jazz with popular music of the US and Latin

America. This modern Jazz music has been called "Fusion." Present day
exponents include Pat Metheny and Chic Corea. There has also been a return to
the sound of Bop in the last ten years by such musicians as trumpeter Winton

Marsalis and his brother Branford, a saxophonist. Let\'s focus on the
instrumentation of the two kinds of music. In Classical music, both large
orchestras and small ensembles are used. But generally, the greatest and most
prominent compositions are for the larger symphony orchestra. The largest part
of the orchestra is the string section consisting of violins, violas, cellos and
string basses. These instruments were invented very early in medieval times but
really matured into their present form during the late 18th century. The wind
instruments, comprised of brass and woodwinds, took longer to mature. The brass
section in particular did not posses the ability to play chromatically (in all
keys) until the advent of valves which allowed the length of the instrument to
be changed while playing. This occurred around the middle to late 19th century.

Consequently, the brass instruments are less prominent in the music of Bach,

Mozart and Beethoven along with their contemporaries. Late 19th and early 20th
century composers make use of a very large orchestra with all the fully
developed wind instruments. Some of the master orchestrator/composers of this
time were: Wagner, Rimskey-Korsakov, Ravel and Stravinsky. Currently, composers
also make use of the full orchestra but with the addition of increasingly larger
percussion