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MUS3320 - Jazz history: Readings in history, biography, improvisation and world music

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader(s): Made Mantle Hood


Clayton First semester 2009 (Day)


This unit is a general introduction to the emerging academic field of Jazz history. Journals and monographs serve as a basis for students to write about Jazz through a broad selection of readings addressing Jazz history, biography, improvisation and world music. Historic centres and styles such as New Orleans and Chicago/ Big Band, and Bebop are launching points into the hardships, trials and triumphs of Jazz greats such as Louis Armstrong, Charlie Parker, and Miles Davis. Readings on improvisation illuminate debates into spontaneous composition or pre-determined expression? Much more than an American genre, Jazz is examined in Europe, Latin America, Africa and Asia.


On the successful completion of the unit, students will successfully:

  1. gain a chronological perspective as to the placement of major historic events and trends in the history of Jazz in society.
  2. develop a solid foundation for further academic inquiry beyond practical performance into research and scholarship in sociological, biographical and historical topics.
  3. distinguish between styles, composers and works relevant to both performance Jazz musicology and related fields including ethnomusicology.


Essay (2000 words): 40%
Written and listening exam: 40%
Class tests: 20%

Contact hours

1 two-hour session per week



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