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Jazz Music: Comparison to Music in Previous Eras


Music as a form of art has been heard by different people and cultures all over the world in different genres and languages. Jazz is a musical art of American origin that dates back to the twentieth century from an influence of European and American music traditions. It uses qualities like polyrhythms, blue notes, group interaction, swinging, and improvisation. Jazz music comes in various styles like Latin jazz, fusion jazz, soul jazz, and cool jazz among others, (Ratliffe, Ben. 2002). The characteristic instruments used in jazz music include the trumpet, double bass, piano, trombone, saxophone, drums, and clarinet.

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Compare and contrast jazz music to previous eras

Similar elements

  • Entertainment: Both jazz and music of the previous era besides other reasons serve as a source of entertainment to a particular audience who enjoy and relax or dance along to the music of their choice.
  • Instrumentation: Electric musical instruments, as well as digital techniques, are being experimented with in both types of music in recent times.
  • Form: Both types of music take various forms and styles like swing, soul, and fusion.
  • Commercialization: Both of these musical types are commercial in that they are used in movie soundtracks or commercial advertising.

Different elements

  • Democratic creativity: A jazz musician is free to change the melodies, time signature, or harmonies to suit the audience, mood of the performer, or even connections with other members of the band unlike the music of the previous eras.
  • Mastery: Jazz music requires a high level of mastery. Most of the successful Jazz musicians have gone through intense schooling as well as a private study.
  • Instrumentation: Jazz music uses a lesser array of instruments simultaneously as compared to the music of previous eras.
  • Society: Jazz music is associated with people from the upper class in the society though this could not be applicable since those who buy jazz CDs are not essentially upper class.
  • Improvisation: This has been central in jazz music where the music is enriched by other old compositions unlike the music of previous eras.

Benefits and Importance of acceptance

There are different styles of music in the world today and each of these styles has its own historical background as well as purpose to the general public. By accepting the various styles of music, people will be able to express their feelings and at the same time, put their ideas, culture, and beliefs across, (Elsdon, Peter. 2003). Traditional music for instance has the aim of keeping legends and tales alive while on the other hand, today’s music may express the views that the youths have on politics and governance.

Different societies focus on various styles when doing their music. This implies that these societies express their values, culture, and history through different musical styles. Bearing this in mind, it is important to accept music of all styles so that the public is broadly enlightened by different insights from various societies.

The world of music is not dynamic, (Gridley, Mark C. 2004), it has reformed and evolved from monophonic music of the Medieval era to the present day’s variety of Swing, Jazz, Blues, Rock n Roll, Rap, Electronic, and Alternative styles. Music today has been modified and created by different people from various eras. The style of music has been changing over the years and it is important that people accept the different styles and choose that which fits them most.

How to foster an interest and acceptance of music of all styles

  1. Listen to various music styles from different eras and regions while contrasting and comparing them.
  2. Develop an interest in researching the different styles in terms of their purpose and history.
  3. Read articles and watch interviews on music to discover what music professionals and critics think about music as well as their vocabulary.
  4. Try out with different singers whether popular or otherwise to find the most enjoyable style that fits your taste.
  5. Analyze different musical styles to understand why they are different.
  6. Take time to appreciate and listen to a lot of music of different styles.


Just like historic pieces of writing and pyramids, music has been in existence for centuries. It has evolved over the years and in line with other forms of art, it has different styles. It is important that people accept music of all styles since each style is of value in its own respect.


Elsdon, Peter. (2003), The Cambridge Companion to Jazz; Cambridge University Press.

Gridley, Mark C. (2004), Concise Guide to Jazz; Pearson/Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, fourth edition.

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Ratliffe, Ben. (2002), Jazz: A Critic’s Guide to the 100 Most Important Recordings; The New York Times Essential Library. New York.

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