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History of Jazz: Concert Report

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Music has evolved over the past hundreds of years. Without music, we would not have concerts, musicals, and movies. Without the use of music, things would be boring and awkward. Music gives people a sense of hope and also helps people to let loose and have fun. Concerts are the biggest and the most fun way to hang with friends or just to go and get out of the house. Two well-known concerts have changed the music industry for the best and have made it a hit. These two concerts are (A) “An Experiment in Modern Music” and (B) “A Century of Progress.”

There are many similarities between these two historical concerts. One huge similarity between them was race and racist injustice. Each concert had a race trying to be better than the other. Concert A was trying to celebrate African Americans in a world of white-inspired music. While concert B was trying to show that white people could play the music as well as African Americans. Both concerts even though years apart had their trouble with racial injustice and just trying to be better or even equal to the other.

One big difference between the two concerts is the time period when they happened. A century of progress was in 1933 and an experiment in music was in 1924. Many other differences were from historical standpoints or each concert's cultural context. Historically there were many different things going on for both events to take place. In 1924 the Olympics were going on during this time in France which was a big deal. But the “An experiment in modern music” concert was not about promoting African American composers. Paul Whiteman was trying to do more than make money for the performances. It was about showing that white composers could also create art through jazz at that time. As it is said in chapter 7, “He was on a mission to legitimize his field of music: jazz” (page 15). His intentions for this were to show the white community that it does not have to be able to drink and party as the African Americans made it out to be. But instead, it could be about the sound and the art that is being made through music.

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In 1933 America was still going through the Great Depression and it was actually the lowest point at that time. The concert “A Century of Progress” celebrated African American composers and their music. This concert was to celebrate that African Americans could do what white people could do as well. During the concert, one of the performances was a symphony made by an African American woman named Florence Beatrice Price. This concert gave many jobs to people and helped the local economy with the Great Depression going on. This concert gave many people hope and joy to go and listen to music through hard times. Race was a big issue still at this time and music was a way for people to have fun.

The music between both concerts was similar. Even though one was jazz and the other was more symphony they both were happy songs. Neither of the songs was sad but both uplifted the people in the crowds. With both times having racial injustice going on, they needed the uplifting music. Instruments were also similar. Both concerts used some sort of string and percussion instruments. Using these instruments together helped make both songs performance ready. It may not sound like it at first but as I listened closely, I think I could hear rhythmic patterns from both songs that almost sound similar in a way.

A big difference between both concerts is the music that was played. Concert A was more about “sweet jazz” (page 15). Whiteman was about the sweet melodic sound that his jazz music gave off. “Whispering” sounds very fun almost like circus music. The violins I think give it that sweet sound when combined with other instruments like the saxophones and trumpets. Concert B's music was more about a “hymn-like theme” (page 241). The first symphony was played in an E minor while the second is played in a D minor. The songs were very uplifting and that was a big thing for that time period since they were going through hard times. When listening to the music it sounds magical with the flutes and clarinets banding together to make it sound beautiful. Concert A had more of a sonata form than concert B. Concert B being a symphony is full of an orchestra.

These two concerts were big points in time for music. Each has its reasons for happening depending on what was happening historically. Racism being a big part of both gave each concert a hint of trying to be better for themselves. Music helped each group express how they were feeling and what the world looked like. Listening and reading about both concerts helped me understand the music’s sound and why each one was played the way it was. Reading about the cultural contexts really helps you understand that there is a lot more going on than what is on the surface.

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History of Jazz: Concert Report. (2023, April 21). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from
“History of Jazz: Concert Report.” Edubirdie, 21 Apr. 2023,
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History of Jazz: Concert Report [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2023 Apr 21 [cited 2024 Feb 21]. Available from:
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