Note:This thesis is part of a research project submitted in partial fulfillment of the degree of Doctor of Musical Arts in the School of Music. The project also involved the preparation and performance of a recital of music related to the thesis topic.

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Title:EXPANDING THE CULTURAL AND ECONOMIC FUTURE OF JAZZ MUSIC: A NEW JAZZ THEATER CURRICULUM
Author(s):La Grassa, Denise
Contributor(s):Professor Chip McNeill; Professor Jim Pugh; Dr. Reynold Tharp; Dr. Peter Davis
Department / Program:School of Music
Discipline:Music
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:A.Mus.D. (doctoral)
Subject(s):music
jazz
future
curriculum
economic
theater
Abstract:At the time of its conception in the United States, jazz synthesized a variety of accessible, spontaneous, theatrical, and interactive instrumental and vocal music-making activities that featured solo and collective improvisation. During its development in postbellum New Orleans, where over one-third of the population was composed of free and enslaved black Americans and creoles of color (who often had training in European music), jazz blended multiple musical and theatrical influences. Techniques linking jazz to the interplay of theatrical elements such as dance, drama, songs, poetry, and dialogue evolved from various African cultural practices. Unlike the cultural boundaries apparent in symphony halls and opera houses, jazz was a participatory music. Thus, from the beginning, jazz was a theatrical form of entertainment within the community. In contrast, the jazz of today, I argue, has lost its connection to theater or entertainment; simultaneously, jazz has witnessed a decline in popular interest. I will claim that the declining interest in jazz music is due in part to the absence of its theatrical presentation, which contributed to its original meteoric rise in popularity at the beginning of the twentieth century. The original conception of jazz music was an oral tradition intersecting with a variety of musical idioms and theatrical art forms. The goal of this thesis is to return to key aspects of jazz’s evolution in the United States. In this thesis, I discuss several contemporary jazz performers who make jazz popular by blending theatrical elements into their art. I also offer three teaching curriculum models to teach undergraduate jazz music majors how to create entertaining models of jazz, proposing that jazz theater can help performers reach a wide audience. By merging jazz with theater, jazz artists and educators can safeguard a future for jazz music.
Issue Date:2016
Publisher:University of Illinois
Citation Info:La Grassa, Denise. EXPANDING THE CULTURAL AND ECONOMIC FUTURE OF JAZZ MUSIC: A NEW JAZZ THEATER CURRICULUM. Doctoral project thesis submitted at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign School of Music, 2016.
Genre:Dissertation / Thesis
Type:Text
Language:English
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/90987
Date Available in IDEALS:2016-07-13


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