Although pinpointing where exactly jazz originated is quite a difficult undertaking, it is generally accepted that early jazz appeared as recognizable music in and around New Orleans at the turn of the XX century.
New Orleans was the ideal place to produce the kind of multi-influenced music that jazz is. At the turn of the XX century, New Orleans was home to many different cultures that clashed, but also met in a multicultural environment. Many languages were spoken in the city, French, Spanish and English being prominent. There was a strong Caribbean influence that prompted a high tolerance toward the black community, which allowed slaves to retain much of their culture. Each of these different cultures brought something to the table of music, but the Creoles in particular
united in themselves most of these characteristics.
Hig-brow music and low-class music coexisted in New Orleans and sometimes crossed paths. It was an extraordinarily ripe mix of oral music techniques of lower-class origins that by merging with a more formal concept of music adapted itself to the new demands of the professional dance halls.
Jazz, this new music, came of age in New Orleans, and when jazzmen left the South and moved North on the tracks of the Great Migration, this music became known as Dixieland.
Dixieland instrumentation and band size could be very flexible but primarily consisted of a “front line” (trumpets or cornet, trombone and a clarinet) and a “rhythm section” (guitar or banjo, bass or tuba, piano and drums). It very much resembled the organization of marching bands in New Orleans, which were probably the firsts to perform Dixieland.
The defining Dixieland sound is the “collective improvisation”. This happens when one instrument – usually the trumpet – plays the melody or a recognizable paraphrase or variation of it and the other instruments of the “front line” improvise around that melody.
It creates music that is always evolving and may even sound chaotic at first. In fact, in the 1920s, many people didn’t even consider jazz to be proper music. Thomas Edison famously commented that it sounds better when played backwards.
Still, a lot of people did get the gist of it. In the 1920s, Dixieland was probably the most popular form of jazz.
About Entertainment – What is Early Jazz?
Prezi – Dixieland
Gonola – Dixieland Jazz: Innovator in New Orleans music history
New World Encyclopedia – Dixieland
I’ve heard of Dixieland and jazz, but never the two together. I’m learning a lot from your posts!
There’s so much to know about the history of jazz and jazz as a form of music. This is a very complex subject matter, but I’m trying to be as informative as possible 🙂
I’m from a very formal musical background so this whole improvisation thing always makes me shake my head in wonder 🙂
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I’ll talk about improvisation in detail further on in the challenge, but I think there is more to music understanding and ‘education’ (though of a different kind than ‘formal’ education) in improvisation than one normally thinks.
It’s a bit like plotting when you write. I know many writers don’t like plotting because they think it stiffens your imagination. I think it’s quite the contrary: because you have a skeleton that supports your general idea, you are far freer to explore more definite, detailed ideas.
I’m not a musician, but I understand improvisation in jazz is much the same process.
Dixieland is the type of jazz that I heard first as a child and it’s one of the most accessible forms, in my opinion; my father has an old gramophone and he used to have a lot of 78’s and there was some dixieland music among them. I don’t know if they were original recordings, or if they were later replays, and I couldn’t tell you any names, but my twin sister and I used to love winding that old thing up and putting on some of the strange scratchy old recordings. 🙂
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You had a gramophone and records for it???
I hope you still have them. You lucky one.
Great post and wonderful music! I feel like time traveling while listening to it…
Music has that power, doesn’t it? 🙂
I love Jazz and have hear of Dixie Land Music but
I wasn’t sure what Dixie Land was so it is nice
reading your post as I am learning so much
from you. And I am able to share these with
my son in his Homeschooling Music class.
Glad you found the post useful. I’m so very happy to hear it 🙂
Great post with a lot of information. I enjoyed it.
Glad to hear it, Trisha, and happy to see you around 🙂
I don’t know a lot about Jazz, so your theme is very new and interesting to me!
-Katy from THE KATY blog
Happy you like it, Katy and thanks for stopping by 🙂
I feel so much more knowledgeable about music after reading your posts!
Well, I certainly don’t claim to be an expert. But I’m happy to be able to share what I know 🙂
When I saw your post was about Dixieland.. I almost immediately heard trumpets in the back of my mind. Another excellent post!
LOL! Trampets is what I think when I hear Dixieland too. And clarinets. I like the clarinet a lot 🙂
When I was little my grandparents loved to listen to a Hungarian dixieland band. Whenever I hear the term, I still think of that one 🙂
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That’s the power of words. They are the keepers of memory 🙂
Interesting post. Why do you keep referring it to as the XX century?
I know I could probably just say ‘turn of the century’, it would be understood that it’s the beginning of the 1900s, but… I don’t know, it feels more complete 🙂
Thanks for stopping by.
What a lovely picture of the young Louis Armstrong! We went to New Orleans once – this music was everywhere, it was great.
New Orleans must be a very special place. Maybe one day I’ll be able to go.
I love that photo of Armstrong too 🙂
I don’t think I’d ever heard that definition of Dixieland before. I always associated the term with the antebellum South, and not with jazz.
I love that picture of Louis Armstrong!
Mhm… I’m not an expert at all, but I understand that Dixieland actually originated after the Civil War, when African American started off narching bands, in New Orleans. I understand that most of African American music as we know it today originated after the Civil War.
That’s my understanding at least 😉
One of the articles I read stated that at first this kind of music was called Dixieland only in the North, and maybe that’s why there’s a slightly negative flare attached to it.
That photo of Armstrong is one of the best I’ve seen. I like it a lot too 🙂
I’m still learning so much from this! I’ll be a jazz expert by the time it’s done. 🙂
LOL! You’d be better off than me. I’m not an expert at all. But I’ve learned a few things and I enjoy sharing them 🙂
Many of these greats from the past are preserved on YouTube. it’s fun to check out music from a time gone by. great theme!
I’m exploring different types of dreams and their meanings.
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You Tube has been invaluable for my research, and not just for this project.
When I started researching the Twenties for my novels, the first thing I did was combing You Tube for videos from the era, so to get a feel for it.
I love pictures and videos from the 1920s. I’m lucky to research a time that was already as visual as ours.
I’ve been reading your theme and enjoying it 🙂
I had no idea Dixieland was a style of Jazz … I always thought it was a nickname for the south 🙂 Another great educational post!
Well, I’m not American, so I might be wrong, but I think Dixieland is indeed a nickname from the South. In the 1920s, so in jazz younger days, this kind of music was played especially by New Orleans jazzmen, even when they moved to the North. I suspect that’s the reason why it’s called like this.
I don’t doubt you one bit 🙂 Your extensive research and passion for this subject is awe-inspiring. I am learning so much – and increasing my appreciation for jazz.
Fascinating! I’ve never equated the Dixieland sound with jazz before, but it makes sense.
That’s funny, because in the 1920s (but yeah, I know, it was a century ago) jazz was especially Dixieland.
Never been in or around Dixieland area, but this music is wonderful. Like the addition of the song today. Thanks for the extra information.
It’s very different, isn’t it? When I started researching the 1920s, and therefor jazz (apparently, you can’t do one thing and not the other) I had a hard time with this kind of musci. But now I find that it’s growing on me. I really like all the music I’ve chosen for this series 🙂
Years back when I visited New Orleans (before the big storm), Louis Armstrong was playing but the cover charge was too much to pay. Hung out front with my husband so we could still hear. I’m not normally a jazz fan, but really enjoyed the experience.
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Great post with fab music.
Louis Armstrong had such a unique voice. Loved it
Happy you’re liking my theme.
When I started preparing this challenge, I thought I wouldn’t really address teh music very much, since this is about the social meaning of jazz, but then I’ve seen that I just can’t talk about the music and not include it.
Searching the videos and choosing the songs it’s proving one of the most enjoyable parts of this challenge 🙂
So that’s what Dixieland is! I’ve enjoyed the sound without knowing what it was called! I’m getting a great education on your blog – Thank you!
I’m so happy to hear that, because I’m getting a great education from your blog too.
Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂
Satchmo! I’ve been playing trumpet since middle school and have enjoyed watching my children grow up with a love for music and playing. I was never good at playing jazz and improv, but it is a big part of my music play list.
I’ve never really been a listener of jazz… before I started researching it. But now I’m learning to appreciate it. It’s kind of strange, because, I mean… you’d think you either like a kind of music or you don’t. But the more I learn about jazz history, the more I appreciate it as music.
That is the case with most things. As we gain knowledge we can gain appreciation and understanding. Jazz is fascinating to me. When I was teaching in MS I had a 9th grader who was just getting started with jazz and had a growing passion for it. Eventually he and his siblings were able to play with B.B. King. A highlight for them. Their group is Homemade Jamz. They’ve apparently made a name for themselves.
WOW! That was a fantastic achievement! 🙂
Dixieland Jazz is fun! Love the variety you’re sharing!
It is a very fun music. You hear it, and you want to dance 🙂
There’s just something so joyful about Dixieland music. It is impossible to sit still while listening to it.
I’m tapping my toes right now listening to King Oliver Wa Wa Wa.
True, eh? When you hear it, you must dance 🙂
Excellent article! Some people still don’t consider jazz as music. Their loss…
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I admit it’s a very peculiar music. It took me some time to get into it, but it’s growing on me, and I can’t do anything 🙂