Music, Blues And Ragtime

1337 Words Feb 7th, 2015 6 Pages
“Jazz is the first true art form to come from the soil of America”, Winton Marsalis made this claim in the film Jazz by Ken Burns. Jazz would be born here in America after the fall of slavery. The interactions between previously enslaved peoples and the rest of society gave the breeding ground for a mixture of cultures and music styles. The city which was most clearly known for the mixing of cultures after the Civil war was New Orleans. In New Orleans the primary cultures and ethnicities seen included: Caucasians, Africans, Caribbean people, and Creoles, i.e. multiracial Africans. Within the mixing of cultures came the mixing of music styles as well. Two of the styles of music which added to the development and birth of jazz were the blues and ragtime. I argue that Jazz as a genre was a coalition between two popular forms of music, blues and ragtime. These two genres created jazz together through their origins, musical characteristics, and large number of performers.
Ragtime’s origins can be seen as a major reason towards its development of jazz. Ragtime is an art form which came from, “African spirituals, minstrel songs and marches” (Jazz film). The African Spirituals were songs of the former slaves created to sing during religious ceremonies and sometimes as work songs (History). The minstrel songs were a popular form of entertainment by which white actors would dress up in black-face and demean the African people, yet this popular form of entertainment brought many songs…

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