What Is Jazz

Jazz encompasses a vast and lengthy span of music, starting from the ragtime era of the last 19th century and continuing along today in its various forms.  So what is jazz music anyway?   Well, jazz music includes some basic music qualities such as swing, chord changes, and improvisation..  The key element in jazz music is improvisation.  This is how it differs from all other music forms.

In classical music, the music is played by following the sheet music each time it is played.  While there may be variations in style and ornamentation, there is really not much diversion from the music.  Jazz music, on the other hand, is defined by the variations imposed on the music at the time when it is being played.  The music here is a product of the combined efforts of the musicians playing the music at that time, they collaborate, enhance, and improvise the notes as they play them.

While other forms of music may seem complicated, jazz may in fact be the most difficult due to the fact that improvisation occurs based on group dynamics of the players themselves. While chords can change, so can time signatures also within the framework of the music.

One of the interesting components in jazz music is that it is generally made up of two parts – the head and the bridge.  The head  may incompass to the thematic melody, an instance of it in a performance of the song, or a even an abstract compilation of thoughts as to what the song is. It may also refer to the first section of the melody. The bridge is a contrasting chunk of music that prepares for the return of the original melody or theme – thus it “bridges” the music to return to the head..