Jazz is a special form of music, and is not well understood nor accepted by typical American audiences because they do not understand what is jazz and they are not familiar with the jazz repertoire, which consists of (A) jazz standard songs from the 1930s-1940s which were mostly Broadway show songs but nevertheless hits in their own era--and (B) esoteric jazz songs--songs unique to jazz musicians and played for their own unique musical merits (try saying 'their own unique musical merits' three times really fast!!!). When audiences don't understand a musical style or are familiar with its repertoire, then they get grumpy and do not support it.

There are two types of music that most American audiences get grumpy with: classical music and jazz.

However, if jazz is advertised and jazz is what an audience expects, then jazz is okay for those who show up expecting jazz.

There are two beat subdivisions in music--divisions of the primary beats in each measure of music (a short section of a song):

1. The Duple or Even Beat Subdivision.

[Think/Say "Ev-en" with equal emphasis on "Ev" and "en".]

2. The Triple or Swing, or Bouncy Beat Subdivision.

[Think/Say "Boun-cy" with twice the emphasis on "Boun" as the emphasis on "cy".]

Note the difference of the underlines:


These underline differences show graphically/visually the difference of emphasis and durations between the duple and triple beat subdivisions.

When you listen to a song,, pop or classical, try to check a song's duple beat subdivision by matching "Ev-en", "Ev-en", "Ev-en", etc. or try to match a song's triple beat subdivision by matching "Boun-cy", "Boun-cy", "Boun-cy", etc.]

Even beats/duple beat subdivisions are typically used for Ragtime styles, Dixieland Jazz styles, Latin Music styles, and Rock styles (Rock = Fusion in Jazz--Jazz musicians are too proud to admit they are playing rock styles, particularly rock accompaniment rhythm patterns); bouncy beats/triple beat subdivisions are typically used for Swing styles and Rhythm & Blues styles.

When you are aware of the style of a song--Ragtime, Dixieland, Latin (Reggae/Salsa/Etc.), Rock, Swing, Rhythm & Blues, listen for the beat subdivisions--even/duple v bouncy/triple, and try to match "Ev-en" v "Boun-cy".

Every song's melody is a combination of two sequences: (A) A pitch sequence; (B) A rhythm sequence.

"Mary Had A Little Lamb" has the following pitch and rhythm sequences:

Count (The Beats/Musical Pulses in each Measure)
Ma -
- ry
lit -
- tle
Pitches (Note Letter Names/Numbers: Middle C = C4)
Rhythms [q = quarter note = one beat; h = half note = two beats]

If the pitch sequence and/or rhythm sequence of the melody of a song is changed, then the melody varies from its familiar "tune", and if the variation is significant, then the original melody is unrecognizable and the new melody becomes an original melody.

Jazz musicians improvise combinations of pitch and rhythm sequences to create the spontaneous melodies known as improvs or solos.

Every performance of a popular song generally has (A) someone sing or play the original melody (OM) (B) someone play the original accompaniment (OA)—the combination of bass notes and chord-tones played a rhythm section (piano/bass/drums, or guitar/bass/drums, sometimes piano/guitar/bass/drums, or organ/drums--the organist plays bass notes as well as melodies and/or chords, or organ/bass/drums, sometimes organ/guitar/bass/drums). Solo pianists generally play OMs with their right hand and OAs with their left hand. Solo organists generally play OMs with their right hand on the upper manual (of a two-manual organ) and OAs with their left hand on the lower keyboard and their left foot on the pedals. Organists working in rhythm sections without a bass player often play OMs with their right hand on the upper manual and single bass notes on the lower manual with their left hand--in the styles of Jazz Organ Legends such as Jimmy Smith, Jimmy McGriff, Jack MacDuff, and Richard "Groove" Holmes.

One of the hallmarks of jazz is the improvised melody (IM) played by soloists (trumpet, trombone, clarinet, sax, etc.). For an IM a soloist will spontaneously create a melody, and twist himself into contortions which are mostly for showmanship. (History: Paganini, the original virtuoso violinist, Franz Liszt copied Paganini, Liberace--famous pop pianist--copied Paganini/Liszt/Others, Elvis copied Liberace, others copied Elvis. etc.,. etc., etc.) You can play jazz/jazz IMs without the histrionics--Jazz Sax Legend Lester Young proved so in the Bebop Jazz era, in contrast to Jazz Sax Legend Charlie Parker, who, with Jazz Trumpet Legend Dizzy Gillespie, started the Bebop Jazz era/style--high energy/-fast-paced swing-style jazz.

The true hallmark of jazz is the jazz arrangement:

1. The Introduction/Intro.

2. The First Play/Head Chorus/In Chorus--The first performance of the entire song:

A. The Original Melody (OM).
B. The Original Accompaniment (OA).

3. The Improv/Solo Choruses:

A. The Improvised Melodies (IMs).
B. The OA.

4. The Final Play/Home Chorus/Out Chorus--The final performance of the entire song:

A. The OM.
B. The OA,

5. The Ending.

Think of a sandwich:

Bread: The Intro + Head Chorus: OM/OA.

Meat: The Solo Choruses: IMs/OA.

Bread: The Home Chorus: OM/OA + The Ending.

Thus, the 'meat' of jazz is the 'meat' or 'meat choruses'.

If you listen to a jazz performance, listen for the bread->meat->bread jazz arrangement, and enjoy the IMs, follow the OAs, when the soloists are playing their IMs, and enjoy the antics of the jazz musicians--their histrionics/facial & body contortionss/etc.

A pop song arrangement is different:

1. The Intro.

2. The First Play--Usually a singer sings the entire song/the entire OM:

A. OM.
B. OA.

3. The Second Play with a Variation--Variation = Soloist plays the first half or the OM or an IM for the first half of the song.

First Half:

A. Soloist: OM or IM.
B. OA.

Second Half:

A. OM.
B. OA.

4. The Ending:

A. Typically, a Tag Ending, with two repeats of a musical idea from the last half of the song 'tagged' onto the second play.
B. Various Specialty Endings.
C. A Fade-Out Ending—The music volume fades/diminishes unto nothing--easy to do by a recording engineer in a recording studio but tough to do in a live performance, except, of course, if the musicians are having fun/joking.

The pop arrangement was developed with the intent to keep a performance of an arrangement under three minutes so radio producers and DJs could plan their programs to include news, weather, public service announcements (PSAs), and advertising.

When you hear a pop song performance, listen for the pop song arrangement of The Intro + First play + Second Play with a Variation + The Ending.

Now, when you are expecting a jazz performance, listen/look for the jazz arrangement--

(1) Intro -> (2) Head Chorus: OM + OA -> (3) Solos: IM + OA -> (4) Home Chorus: OM + OA -> (5) Ending

Then listen for the beat subdivision: (A) Duple--"Ev-en" v. (B) Triple--"Boun-cy".

Then determine the jazz style:

(A) Duple Beat Subdivision Styles--Dixieland/Ragtime/Latin/Rock (Fusion).
(B) Triple Beat Subdivision Styles--Swing/R&B.

Then enjoy the jazz!!!