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Jazz Music and Theodor Adorno(1905-1969)

Adorno in his twenties studied with Berg,directed the radical Viennese music periodical"Anbruch" thus believing that the best modern music fulfils the needs of our time. He points out that this is achieved through the music' problematic nature, its obscurity, its social isolation and since being a Marxist himself, music' relationship is essentially dialectical with society. This relationship is complex, at times contradictory and is marked by antithesis as well as agreement.

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A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man----James Joyce

We are locked up inside Stephen Dedalus' head from the start. From the very first lines evoking Stephen's consciousness as 'baby tuckoo', we see him through his own sensations as he develops into manhood before he departs Ireland for Europe. The nature of the artist's vocation becomes the central theme of 'A Portrait'. It frames the conflict in Stephen's mind between two opposing forces –the power of his environment and the authority of the church, school and family on the one hand, pitted against his own consciousness of a growing powerful individuality which he must affirm at all cost. In rejecting the demands of home, fatherland and church, Stephen takes up this task of expressing himself freely as an artist. Furthermore he is utterly lonely from the early days at Clongowes College to his last weeks at the university. He is in psychological terms an 'isolate' and so far from playing any part in the life of his country, his only recourse can be exile;

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Why does Hamlet delay?

The character of Hamlet is like a philosopher searching for the meaning of his own existence .Yet this search is complicated by the unusual tangle of his family life—royalty, murder revenge and maternal dishonesty. In one of his first soliloquy the disillusion of his mother’s ‘stained’ action makes Hamlet question the value of his own life;

‘How weary,stale flat and unprofitable

Seems to me all the uses of the world’

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The Individual Voice in Jazz Music

'Heard melodies are sweet

Those unheard are sweeter'—John Keats

The need to be creative runs through all art forms and jazz music is no exception.

Each great work of art brings with it an element of self-discovery, a certain kind of uncertainty where the artist/creator expresses his or her deepest feelings about life. In other words, the individual creator discovers himself through his creations. Thus in inner drive of the creative mind must be spontaneous or induced ,in the sense in which Coleridge uses it (Biographia Literaria) – in a more than usual state of mind, where the inspired moment is a species of creative intuition. We do of course have creative tuition in the great pantheon of jazz musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Lester Young, Charlie Parker , Duke Ellington et al. But are the young jazz musicians of today developing their own individual voice enough or are they allowing mastery to replace creativity? They have today published mountains of books on how to play jazz—books on comping, on the melodic minor and many theory books. We also have over a hundred Jamey Aebersold –'Play-a-long theory books. Young jazz players use these books with the thought that they will arrive at improvisational fluidity. This jazz pedagogy is in essence a uniform system bent on providing young jazz players with the necessary tools for mastering harmonic substitutions, scales, licks or rhythmic phrasing. While this system is a well-tested method for jazz improvisation, however, we must acknowledge at the same time the need for a certain kind of uncertainty as a precondition for creativity. We must stress as well in this jazz pedagogy the central place of one's own individual voice, that ability to stand above the 'mastery' of the rules of jazz improvisation game and cultivate one's own originality. Those great jazz musicians mentioned above all managed to balance their individuality with the dictates of a vast tradition that they had inherited.

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The Jazz Guitar Part 1 - Early History

The Jazz guitar was one of the many-stringed instruments in the 19th century along with the banjo and mandolin. They could be heard in different orchestras which included Hawaiian groups, Mexican mariachi groups, Minstrel and Gypsy groups. Around 1890s the Jazz guitar emerged from two influential styles of music--- Ragtime and Blues.

The Ragtime Style was grounded in a duple rhythm—2/4. This rhythm was well suited to the 'boom-chick' or finger-picking of the guitar. The registral functions of the stride piano (the bass notes for harmonic support and the mid-range chords)lent itself well to the guitar, even the high notes for the melody could be played on the first two strings .Guitarists like Papa Charlie Jackson and Blind Blake are very good examples of this style of playing.

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