Essay on Bop Music in the 1950s

2529 Words 11 Pages
The Bop Beat

The bebop revolution coincided with the birth of the Beat Generation. In a slightly unbalanced relationship, Beat writers often molded their poetics and style after the playing of such jazz music. "Jazz writers," such as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, upheld their poetic ideals to the techniques of jazz musicians, such as rhythm, improvisation, and call and response. The structure of creative writing underwent a change, as the importance of form equaled that of theme.

Swing, the predecessor of bop, was big, sweet, and hot. The performers were big bands, fronted by a charismatic bandleader, yet the success of a piece depended mostly on the unity of the ensemble as a whole, rather than on the showcasing of prodigious
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Instead of the traditional stressing of the first and third beat of a measure, as in traditional Western music, bop music stresses the second and fourth. The playing pattern usually initiates with the theme, then follows with a reed solo, trumpet solo, piano solo, bass or drum solo every second, third, or fourth number. Within a song would sometimes hold "trading fours," alternating four-bar improvisations between instruments. Usually, the piece would end with a restatement of the theme (Jones 42-43). Additionally, when familiar tunes were included, it was to satirize such antiseptic creations of the white world, and were more often then not turned upon their heads and wrecked for bop motives.

Bop musicians rejected the idea of playing solely for an audience; they graduated from the roles of entertainers to the positions of musicians. Their music was not as melodic and hyperactive as swing. Subsequently, bop never became an obsession of popular culture, and remained introspective, for a largely introspective Beat culture.

The Beat Generation was a movement which rebelled against the social and literary conformity and conservatism of white, middle class, suburban, post-war America. The term "Beat" holds many origins. One is canonized, as tired and weary. Another derivation, pinpointed by Kerouac, comes from the word "beatitude," holy, state of ultimate bliss. A relevant definition to jazz involves the
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