For this course there are no admission requirements.
What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word 'jazz'?
Saxophone, jazz hands, smoke, improvisation, chaos, Frank Sinatra, dinner, New York, noise,
old people’s music - are some of the surprising, but somehow coherent associations that
people generally have with this genre of music.
The course “Introduction to Jazz History” aims to open the students’ ears and invite them
into the musically and historically rich world of this great African-American art form.
The series of lectures lays out the elements of jazz and tracks their development from its
African roots through work songs and African-American Spirituals, to its melding with European
classical music in New Orleans and the birth of Traditional Jazz. The course describes the
subsequent growth and metamorphosis of jazz throughout the decennia into the main styles
of Classic Jazz – Swing, Be-Bop, Hard Bop, Cool Jazz, Free Jazz and Fusion.
This genre doesn’t stop there however; its influence on hip-hop, modern popular music and
the growth and popularity it has seen in the past years through bands such as Snarky Puppy
is undeniable and only adds to the historical and stylistic development of jazz and is also
explored in this course.
“Introduction to Jazz History” is meant for students who like to use their ears and are
interested in expanding their analytical listening skills. The lectures focus on the aural
identification of the components that make up jazz and the analysis of how they changed
and evolved throughout the years. Musical examples lead the students through the different
eras of jazz supported by explanations of the accompanying historical, social and
philosophical backgrounds that had a direct impact on the evolution of the music. Open
discussion of the students’ impressions, feelings and descriptions is highly encouraged and
stimulated in the lessons.
Whether you are an average listener that wants to expand their horizon, a seasoned music
lover that wants to deepen their listening skills, or you have an interest in how art is shaped
and influenced by social and historical events, this course is bound stimulate and absorb
Improvisation and swing, the functioning of the rhythm section and the melody section, as well as musical, social and cultural interaction;
how to listen to jazz;
identify the characteristics of the various styles;
insight into the styles of the three periods of jazz: the historical, the institutional and the digital period.
The timetables are available through My Timetable.
Mode of instruction
Lecture and knowledge video clips.
Please find the knowledge video clips here: Videoportal Jazz History
Online exam with auditory questions and using video material.
Register for this course via uSis.
Students who have followed this course in previous years, are entitled to follow this course again this year. Although the content of the course is largely the same, assignments and final test vary from year to year. Please check with the study advisor or student administration of your bachelor programme whether the study credits (EC) connected to this course will be obtained if you follow the course for a second time.
For other courses in the domains of music and fine arts, please visit: Elective courses music and fine arts