Music in the sass’s reflects cultural and social conditions that surrounded Americans during The Great Depression and Dust Bowl. Music during this time also exhibits a glimpse of hope for America and its people. Even though this time frame was full of economic strain, music gave hope to Americans. From Jazz and swing music on the radio, to dancing in ballrooms and clubs, music produced a positive motive in one of the toughest times in American History.
The most important things to remember about music in this era are, Jazz and swing music, dances of the time, economic factors of music, and finally the social and internal effect on the people. Music during The Great Depression had a great impact on people. Introduction into music standings and the effects of The Great Depression In the early thirties old records were literally burned to survive in the winter. The music industry is in a complete downhill spiral. From selling over 100 million records per year to 6 million per year. Instead of records, radios and radio programs were sold.
Now everyone was able to hear all kinds of music for free, which was more popular with people. Things started to look back up for the music industry. Jazz music became very popular on the radio. It possessed a symbol of American freedom from the chains of the depression. After the rise of the radio things skyrocketed for Jazz bands and record labels. Jazz and Swing Music First and most important is Jazz and swing music. It recovered the failing music industry. It was founded by African Americans in the south and was considered dangerous at first. Jazz bands consisted of a band lead and fifteen to twenty instrument players.
Jazz music took a hard blow Just like the rest of the music industry did in the early sass’s. But in the mid sass’s the Swing Era emerged and changed everything including the mind set of the depression people continued to suffer from. Jazz differed from swing in one way, being that swing focused on Jazz arrangements rather than pop tunes. Which enables people to focus on dancing rather than singing which is discussed later. The fun upbeat melodies of swing and jazz songs set people free. “Jazz music brought entertainment to a struggling people. It gave them a break from everyday life.
For a moment they could put it all aside and once the night away and be free. ” (Music in the sass’s. ) The known creator of the Swing Era was a trumpeter named Louis Armstrong. He increased importance of solos which in all turned Jazz music to swing music. An African American named Duke Longtime is know as the greatest composer of the era. He left thousands of pieces ranging in all genres but mostly in swing and Jazz. Longtime started his career by studying and playing classical music until Jazz caught his attention. At this time America was segregated but when The Duke was playing no one, including whites could look away.
He amazed people with what as known as his “Jungle style”. Dances of the sass’s as dance marathons. Couples would compete in competitions against other couples. The main reason people Joined these dance-offs was money. Monetary prizes were often the result of winning. Competitions usually lasted six months because there were so many desperate participants. If the couples knees touch the ground they are automatically disqualified. Joining was usually a result of economic problems. Some who Joined had no idea how to dance. The two most popular dances of the time were The Big Apple and Lindy Hop also now as the Jitterbug.
The Big Apple was popularized and invented by African Americans. It was a circle group dance that allowed individuals to shine. It included swing steps combined with square dancing. Daytime Publications says: “It was popular during the Depression because of the psychological comfort it gave of ‘strength in numbers’. ” Out of the two dances, the Jitterbug was the most popular. It requires mass strength and agility. It was named The Lindy Hop to start off with because of tribute to Charles Lindbergh historic first solo transatlantic flight in 1927.
This dance involved intense acrobatics and gymnastics. The term “Jitterbug” also means “the best dancer” because you had to be incredibly skilled to perform it correctly. Musicals After the rise of the music industry, America started to incorporate music into movies. Musicals become popular and prominent in the time period. Hollywood wanted a “happy distraction” from the depression. Many famous songs came from movie musical, including “We’re in the Money’ from the musical Gold Diggers of 1933. The most famous song “Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ from the musical The Wizard of Oz of 1939.
One of the most favorites actress and singer was little Shirley Temple. She performed in many musicals during the thirties. The sight of her precious smiling red haired face lifted the hopes and spirits of America. Impact of Music on People From feeling down in the dumps to feeling like you’re flying on cloud nine, music changed the lives of countless numbers of people during the sass’s. It brought light to their dark depressing lives. Hope rose up from new grounds and people began to look positive towards the future. Music was the drug of the thirties. Struggling people could get through everyday with music.
The uprooted American working class, black and white, used these musical forms to hold on to a sense of identity amidst the uncertainty of a changing world. ” (American Popular Music in the sass’s) Conclusion Music played a huge role in The Great Depression. Without knowing anything about the music of the time you would probably think nothing of it. You would think it was Just music, but to them it wasn’t Just music. It was a chance to live and be free in a time where everyone was broke and stressed out. Jazz and Swing music had the most effect on people, along with dances that correspond.