Classic Jazz/Music


What is the history of 'Negro spirituals and Ragtime?

   I am assuming you are asking how Negro Spirituals relate to ragtime.  Early jazz music took a variety of elements of spirituals and slave songs as well as elements of Western(i.e. European) music.  Spirituals and slave songs contributed improvisation, call and response and scales such as what eventually became the modern blues scale.  The western elements include harmony(chords), song structure/form, scales and instrumentation.  Ragtime is primarily played on a piano, but the dixieland bands were basically playing the same music with several instruments.  Usually it was clarinet, trumpet, trombone, guitar or banjo, bass or tuba and some form of percussion.  Ragtime was played in bars and often times in the movie theaters during the silent movies of the era.  The dixieland band that came out of ragtime had more uses since they used portable instruments.  The bass player usually played tuba so the band could march.  They typically played for New Orlean's funerals.  What makes jazz so great is that it cannot exist without the contributions of both cultures.  I hope this helps.


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Guy Percy


I can answer questions on jazz theory, artists, styles, etc. I am a bass player, but I have a good knowledge of all the instruments.


I have been a bass player for over 20 years. I am an active Jazz musician in my area.

BM Jazz Performance BA Music Ed MA Music Composition

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