Introduction to Jazz History

MUSCS 130 (4 credits)

History of jazz, including its origins, the musical characteristics of major styles, and the leadership during key periods. Emphasis on developing critical listening skills, the contributions of specific cultures and individuals, and understanding commercial, technological, and social influences on the evolution of styles.

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to Jazz Music, its elements, its history, its performance practice and its place in our society today. The exploration of active and analytical listening will be a main goal of the course. Fulfilling the requirements of the course should give each student a deeper understanding of and indeed, further enjoyment of live jazz music and recordings.

Student Learning Outcomes

  1. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
  2. Articulate an understanding of the basic elements of music
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of how those elements combine to create jazz music
  4. Compare and contrast various jazz artists, styles and historical period
  5. Recognize a specific style of jazz music through listening


Major Topics

  • Jazz Forms, Timbres and Origins
  • Early Jazz
  • Swing and Ellington
  • Swing: Chicago, New York, Kansas City
  • Bebop and the Advent of Modern Jazz
  • Cool Jazz
  • Hard Bop
  • Modal Jazz
  • Free Jazz, Miles Davis Mid-60’s Quintet, Herbie Hancock
  • Jazz-Rock Fusion, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett
  • Postmodernism and Neo-classicism
  • Latin Jazz; Globalization of Jazz; other recent trends




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