What is Jazz?

Jazz is a kind of music in which improvisation is typically an important part. In most jazz performances, players play solos which they make up on the spot, which requires considerable skill. There is tremendous variety in jazz, but most jazz is very rhythmic, has a forward momentum called “swing,” and uses “bent” or “blue” notes. You can often hear “call–and–response” patterns in jazz, in which one instrument, voice, or part of the band answers another. (You can hear Ella Fitzgerald and Roy Eldridge do “call and response” in Ella’s Singing Class.) Jazz can express many different emotions, from pain to sheer joy. In jazz, you may hear the sounds of freedom-for the music has been a powerful voice for people suffering unfair treatment because of the color of the skin, or because they lived in a country run by a cruel dictator.爵士乐是一种即兴演奏是典型的重要组成部分的音乐。在大多数爵士演奏中,演奏者要在现场演奏独奏,这需要相当高的技巧。爵士乐种类繁多,但大多数爵士乐都很有节奏感,有一种被称为“摇摆”的前进动力,并使用“弯曲”或“蓝色”音符。在爵士乐中,你经常能听到“呼-答”模式,即一种乐器、声音或乐队的一部分回应另一种乐器、声音或乐队的一部分。(你可以在艾拉的歌唱课上听到艾拉·菲茨杰拉德和罗伊·埃尔德里奇的“呼唤和回应”。)爵士乐可以表达许多不同的情感,从痛苦到纯粹的快乐。在爵士乐中,你可能会听到自由的声音——因为这种音乐为那些因为肤色或生活在一个残酷的独裁者统治的国家而遭受不公平待遇的人们发出了强有力的声音。


Jazz musicians place a high value on finding their own sound and style, and that means, for example, that trumpeter Miles Davis sounds very different than trumpeter Louis Armstrong (whose sound you can hear in Louis’s Music Class.) Jazz musicians like to play their songs in their own distinct styles, and so you might listen to a dozen different jazz recordings of the same song, but each will sound different. The musicians’ playing styles make each version different, and so do the improvised solos. Jazz is about making something familiar–a familiar song–into something fresh. And about making something shared–a tune that everyone knows–into somethingpersonal. Those are just some of the reasons that jazz is a great art form, and why some people consider it “America’s classical music.”爵士音乐家非常重视寻找自己的声音和风格,这意味着,例如,小号手迈尔斯·戴维斯的声音与小号手路易斯·阿姆斯特朗的声音非常不同(你可以在路易斯的音乐课上听到他的声音)。爵士音乐家喜欢用自己独特的风格演奏他们的歌曲,所以你可能会听十几张不同的爵士唱片的同一首歌,但每一张听起来都不一样。音乐家的演奏风格使每个版本都不一样,即兴独奏也是如此。爵士乐就是把熟悉的东西——一首熟悉的歌曲——变成新鲜的东西。把分享的东西——每个人都知道的曲调——变成个人的东西。这些只是爵士乐是一种伟大艺术形式的部分原因,以及为什么有些人认为它是“美国的古典音乐”。


Jazz developed in the United States in the very early part of the 20th century. New Orleans, near the mouth of the Mississippi River, played a key role in this development. The city’s population was more diverse than anywhere else in the South, and people of African, French, Caribbean, Italian, German, Mexican, and American Indian, as well as English, descent interacted with one another. African-American musical traditions mixed with others and gradually jazz emerged from a blend of ragtime, marches, blues, and other kinds of music. At first jazz was mostly for dancing. (In later years, people would sit and listen to it.) After the first recordings of jazz were made in 1917, the music spread widely and developed rapidly. The evolution of jazz was led by a series of brilliant musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington (listen to Ellington in Duke’s Music Class), Charlie Parker, and Miles Davis. Jazz developed a series of different styles including traditional jazz, swing (listen, for example, to Benny Carter, who got his start in swing music, in Benny’s Music Class) bebop, cool jazz, and jazz?rock, among others. At the same time, jazz spread from the United States to many parts of the world, and today jazz musicians–and jazz festivals–can be found in dozens of nations. Jazz is one of the United States’s greatest exports to the world.爵士乐于20世纪早期在美国发展起来。位于密西西比河入海口附近的新奥尔良在这一发展过程中发挥了关键作用。这座城市的人口比南方其他任何地方都要多样化,非洲人、法国人、加勒比人、意大利人、德国人、墨西哥人、美国印第安人以及英国人的后裔之间相互交往。非裔美国人的音乐传统与其他音乐混合在一起,爵士乐逐渐从拉格泰姆、进行曲、布鲁斯和其他音乐的混合中产生。起初,爵士乐主要是用来跳舞的。(后来,人们会坐着听它。)在1917年第一张爵士乐唱片制作完成后,这种音乐得到了广泛传播和迅速发展。爵士乐的发展是由一系列杰出的音乐家引领的,如路易斯·阿姆斯特朗、杜克·艾灵顿(在杜克的音乐课上听艾灵顿的音乐)、查理·帕克和迈尔斯·戴维斯。爵士乐发展出了一系列不同的风格,包括传统爵士乐、摇摆乐(听本尼·卡特的例子,他是在本尼的音乐课上开始演奏摇摆乐的)比波普、酷爵士和爵士?摇滚等等。与此同时,爵士乐从美国传播到世界许多地方,今天在几十个国家都能看到爵士音乐家和爵士音乐节。爵士乐是美国最伟大的音乐之一


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