Sunday, May 08, 2016

The sound of jazz …

… Can You Hear It? | The Weekly Standard. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

As a person who plays piano well enough to show some musical credentials, I was pleased to hear Gioia speak of "the metric structure" of jazz, which for the most part has consisted of units of four-beat bars, a meter persisting since the 1930s, whether in New Orleans, swing, or bebop. Here there is a clear analogy with the way a student should be introduced to poetry; that is, through listening to it rather than struggling to find out what it "really means." The authority on such listening is Robert Frost, who declared that the ear is "the only true writer and the only true reader" and proposed that "the possibilities for tune from the dramatic tones of meaning struck across the rigidity of a limited meter are endless."

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