Jazz & Instrumentals MIDI Files




Jazz MIDI Files

Jazz spans a range of music from ragtime to the present day—a period of over 100 years—and has proved to be very difficult to define. Attempts have been made to define jazz from the perspective of other musical traditions—using the point of view of European music history or African music for example—but critic Joachim Berendt argues that its terms of reference and its definition should be broader. Berendt defines jazz as a “form of art music which originated in the United States through the confrontation of the Negro with European music” and argues that it differs from European music in that jazz has a “special relationship to time defined as ‘swing'”, involves “a spontaneity and vitality of musical production in which improvisation plays a role” and contains a “sonority and manner of phrasing which mirror the individuality of the performing jazz musician”.
A broader definition that encompasses all of the radically different eras of jazz has been proposed by Travis Jackson: he states that it is music that includes qualities such as swing, improvising, group interaction, developing an ‘individual voice’, and being open to different musical possibilities. An overview of the discussion on definitions is provided by Krin Gabbard, who argues that “jazz is a construct” that, while artificial, still is useful to designate “a number of musics with enough in common to be understood as part of a coherent tradition”. In contrast to the efforts of commentators and enthusiasts of certain types of jazz, who have argued for narrower definitions that exclude other types, the musicians themselves are often reluctant to define the music they play. Duke Ellington, one of jazz’s most famous figures, summed up this perspective by saying, “It’s all music”.
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