History of Swing

Swing music, also known as Swing Jazz or simply Swing, is a style of jazz that originated in the United States in the late 20s and became one of the most popular and successful kinds of musical in the country during the 1930s.

Swing is played with the same instruments you would find in a jazz band: there is a rhythm section consisting of piano, bass and drums, a brass section with trumpets and trombones, and a wind section with saxophones and clarinet, and, very occasionally, string instruments, such as the violin and the guitar, might also be found. Swing is mostly played with a medium tempo. Generally speaking, the melodic riffs free the drums from any rhythmic restrictions that might have occurred up until now. 

The origins of Swing and its stylistic characteristics resemble that of Big Band, where the role of the soloist was becoming increasingly important with particular reference to musicians such as Fletcher Henderson, Benny Goodman, Duke Ellington and Count Basie.

Innovative elements of Swing music

Swing is a style of jazz, fundamentally orchestral and largely influenced by European music. It's notorious for having contributed to a series of major conceptual jazz innovations, such as increasing the number of musicians and doubling the quantity of instruments in the band. Another distinguishing feature is that the drums are the only entirely rhythmic instrument, giving it a unique aesthetic. Other notable characteristics include re-evaluation of melodic themes, establishing an invariable structure between sections and also regulating the relationship between parts of a section. There is also an aspect of tension to the style (short rhythmic phrases that are repeated many times). Swing also introduced consolidation of the high registers of the instruments, giving presence to the bass and even the middle registers, which significantly affects the outcome of the sound as a whole, allowing for clarity between timbres.  


And with Swing came dance!

Swing can be danced in many different ways; Lindy Hop, Charleston, Balboa, Blues and Tap Dance are just a few examples. These styles all originated from America and the Afro-American subculture between the 20s and 30s. It would then later spread to Europe. 

Lindy hop is traditionally danced with a partner and comes from Harlem, New York. It was instantly popular in the United States and spread through to Europe through live dance shows, films, and the American soldiers fighting in the war at the time. Charleston can be danced either alone or with a partner, and shared the same name as the city of South Carolina. Its dynamic style and spectacular sense of fun is closely identified with the crazy spirit of the 1920s. Balboa originates from the peninsula of Balboa, in the south of California, when dance halls could not accommodate all the dancers. In the beginning all the steps were danced in a closed position and later evolved to incorporate a more open style of dance step. Blues can also be danced either alone or with a partner, the style is more relaxed with sensual movements and slow steps which leaves plenty of room for creativity and improvisation. Tap is both a dance and an musical instrument which makes possible a great improvisation and creativity. It can be danced alone with the only objective to make music with your feet with the aid of special iron taps which are added to the soles of the shoes.

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