From Blues to Jazz…

Today I lectured a little about parallels between African-American and European musical traditions, focusing on musical structure and tradition of the blues, the African and the European roots of the blues, and the connection between blues and other kinds of music, especially different kinds of jazz including Swing and Bebop, especially regarding the effect “practical considerations” on performance.

In connection to folksongs of Europe, the song “Scarborough Fair” was mentioned. Here’s the Wikipedia entry for the song, and a link to the Sarah Brightman video. (It’s not the best example of the song… I recommend the Simon & Garfunkle version, but I can’t find a free MP3 online. Sorry!)

Students are expected to have read the James Baldwin essay “Stranger in the Village” for next class. Students are also expected to have emailed me by Wednesday morning letting me know about English-speaking countries, or aspects of popular culture, which are of interest to them personally. (Failure to do so will unfortunately necessarily result in assigned presentation topics.)

Next time we will watch some of the movie “Bird” (and maybe more than a little, if you are interested, later on) and discuss the Baldwin essay. We will also sign up for presentations up to the midterm exam period, and discuss upcoming topics, in order to help you prepare for your presentations in advance.

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