Swing Music

20150224_214717Swing music is a form of music that evolved from jazz and other American popular music from the early 1930s, becoming a distinctive style by 1940. The danceable swing style of big bands was the dominant form of American popular music from 1935 to 1946. This period is known as the Swing Era. However, Swing music is not limited to the music of the 1930s and 40s, and has seen quite a revival in recent year.

The name swing came from the phrase ‘swing feel’ where the emphasis is on the off–beat of the music (unlike classical music). The verb “to swing” is also used as a term of praise for playing that has a strong rhythmic “groove” or drive. As swing was the dance music that co-evolved together with swing dances such as the ‘Lindy Hop’, swing is a kind of music that makes you want to get up and dance.

Swing music is played at medium to fast tempos, with the distinctive ‘swing time’ rhythm. It uses a strong rhythm section, usually bass (either a double bass or bass guitar) and drums, to keep that groove going. The lead section, who generally holds the tune, predominantly consists of brass instruments such as trumpets and trombones, and woodwinds including saxophones and clarinets. other instruments, such as piano and guitar, are also common in swing. With all that brass, it is LOUD!

Like other forms of jazz, swing tunes often make use of instrumental soloists who improvise on the melody over the arrangement.

 

 

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