Revolution or Evolution
Revolution or Evolution
Bebop is a modern style of jazz that first appeared in the late 1940s. It was the first style of modern jazz to come up and its emergence divided the world of jazz into two opposing camps. After it emerged, fans and jazz musicians deemed it unacceptable. This caused divisions in the genre firstly between older and younger jazz musicians and then between musicians and fans (Bebop 1). For a long time now, scholars have debated the emergence of bebop. Two opposing arguments have been made, with one group claiming that the subgenre was the result of the evolution of jazz while the other argues that it was the result of a revolution within the jazz genre. The nature of bebop today makes it more likely that it came about from a revolution of traditional jazz and not an evolution (Bebop 1).
One major difference between bebop and jazz comes from the styles that the two have. There is an obvious relationship between bebop and jazz that is likely to have come about because of bebop artists borrowing harmonies from the old jazz (Bebop 1). However, the fundamental difference in style serves to distinguish the two. One major stylistic difference is that bebop is chromatic while traditional jazz is diatonic (Bebop 1). This difference in scale increases the harmonic range that bebop artists have their disposal and allows them to do much more than they could within the auspices of traditional jazz. Through this difference, bebop artists are able to incorporate complicated solo improvisations into their performances, which is not possible in the traditional jazz. In some ways, this was a radical shift in the progression of the genre (Bebop 1). These two differences show that for jazz to change into bebop, radical changes were made to the style that the musicians used. This supports the notion that bebop was the result of a revolution and not an evolution.
“Bebop.” Encyclopaedia Britannica online. Encyclopaedia Britannica Inc., 2013. Web. 02 Dec. 2013.
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