Friday, January 17, 2014

3 Characteristics of a Big Band

Did Someone Order a Big Band? 

Big Band music dominated the scene in the late 1930s and early 1940s, a time also known as the "Swing Era". The Swing Era was known for dance floors filled with jitterbugs and evokes images of tuxedo-clad big bands. Today, few big band dance halls exist, but that doesn't mean that big bands went away. Big bands have evolved with the times but they hold on to some of the same characteristics and values that their Swing Era descendants held closely. Here are three ways you can spot a Big Band today.

Number of musicians
They call it big band for a reason. A big band consists of large group with multiple sections for brass and rhythm. In comparison to improvised jazz combos, an arranger primarily crafts big band music in advance. A big band can be viewed as a team of musicians; it's up to the arranger and director to get the most out of his or her team's talents.

The sound
Big band sound consists of rhythm, brass, and woodwind instruments. Big bands today can be found playing all styles of jazz music respective to the swing era. While the big band sound has adapted with the times, there are still groups that cherish the original sound that big bands were known for in their heyday.

Many big bands performed in ballrooms that had dress codes. Tuxedos are iconic to the swing era and therefore worn by big band musicians. Big band musicians today are often seen wearing more modern tuxedos which is just another way big band music continues to adapt to modern culture.

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