Originally known as The New Negro Movement, The Harlem Renaissance wasthe cultural,social ,and artistic paroxysm which recognize African Americans talents’during 1920-1930’s. With the Harlem Renaissance taking place during the Jim Crow Era,African Americans still demanded political rights because,they were still being depictedas unintelligent and talentless compared to white people. One of the major impacts thatemerged from the Renaissance was music.The creation of various genres such as Bluesand Jazz gave African Americans a voice on; a chance for their thoughts and ideas to beheard in their own words. People now have the opportunity with my research, are able tolearn and observe the significant impact of the Harlem Renaissance and how it affectsmusic in today’s society.The Blues originated during the 19th Century, designed from slave mourningsoften done when groups of slaves worked on plantations in a cotton and vegetable fields.”The ‘suspended tones’ the way slaves members use to ‘slur’ the third (mediant or themusical notation E) and the seventh note (leading note or musical note B) of the musicalnote. For people who are unaware of the meaning of “slurred and suspended tones”,putting it in a more simpler perspective, slur and suspended notes means whenperforming a musical piece, either vocally or with an instrument, one plays or sings thenotes connected/together, giving the audience that the tune being performance is ratherLogan 2slow tempo wise, to give that sad feeling behind their music. During the HarlemRenaissance however, blues had evolved over time. Instead of utilizing their vocal chordsto perform the Blues, people now began to use instruments to express their sorrow andother sad emotions. Instruments such as the guitar or the harmonica were predominantlyused Some say the main recipient of the uprising of the Blues was W.C “Father of theBlues” Handy, “an African American composer and musician who devised a way tonotate the notes used in blues music to math the pitch in African American singing”.Hand being arguably known as the predominant model of the written blues, hiscompositions publicly emerged during the Harlem Renaissance, giving artists such asBessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, and Duke Ellington, the essential they needed tocompose their poplar pieces and would have not been as populated than it was if it wasn’tfor Handy’s compositional efforts to African American folk songs. As the HarlemRenaissance gave African American culture and talents a sense ofrecognition/acknowledgement, the Harlem Renaissance gave African Americanmusicians a way to express their emotions, despite which feeling was being depicted;either being sad/depressed, or happy/joyous, the music provided their audience withsomething like empathy, wanting their audience to feel the way they did when they wroteand performed their selected music, while still being entertaining to their audience. Nowwith the Blues in particular, the music that is being presented towards an audience usuallyconveys over a low melodic line that is played at a seemingly slow tempo. The supposedpurpose of this genre was to inflict sorrow amongst listeners; like stated previouslyperformers main goal was to catch the audience with that low and slow tempocomposition, making empathize or making their audience feel the same sorrow orLogan 3mourning they are discussing in their pieces of music. This being an exact result of theHarlem Renaissance in modern society; the Harlem Renaissance gave African Americansmusicians a way to express their emotions in songs, and that same acknowledgementtransferred to today’s cultural expression. Musicians from all genres are able to expresstheir feelings into a form of written notation, providing their audience to share theiremotions together in one perfect harmony.The invention of Jazz became known to America right after World War I in NewOrleans, and made its way to Harlem, New York, the center if the Harlem Renaissance.This transition from sad and sorrow quickly changed and became very joyous andtriumphant, therefore commencing the start of the genre Jazz. Jazz was composed of theamalgamation of all black musical styles/ slave song, spirituals, blues, and ragtime, orcharacterized “improvisation”. See, Jazz itself had its own era in American culture, calledthe Jazz Age. During the Jazz Age or some say post-World War I, this movementtranspired in the early 1920s, from which jazz music and dance later emerged . Due to itssyncopated rhythms and improvised melodies, this new genre reflected wartimeprosperity, or the “new American life”; Americans are now living in a country with nowar or no negative emotions, only positive feelings or prosperity. Throughout myresearch, the gathered information in which I provide for the readers in my essay, readersare able to visualize that jazz and the blues share similar qualities when it comes to thepurpose ideal image behind songs in both genres . For instance, when comparing to bluesmusic, the stylistic of jazz music consisted from the living experiences of AfricanAmericans in America; particularly ones fleeing from the South and slavery, just like theblues. This is because overtime, the music used in blues began to be performed in livelyLogan 4rhythms; As you can see, both genres main purposes were to express musicians feelings;however, instead of expressing negative emotions such as sorrow and depression in theirsongs, Jazz did the complete opposite. Jazz expressed more of a cheerful and beatifickind of emotion with the music musicians performed, stimulating amd channeling thathappy side of their personal life experiences and delivering it into their audiences. Jazzlater expanded throughout America locally and nationally through radio broadcasts.During the Harlem Renaissance, the performance of jazz music began in Harlem”speakeasies” ( illegal establishments that sold alcoholic beverages) not only broughttalented African Americans under one roof, but attracted white people to attend andconducted interracial couples together where they can be able to dance and share qualitytimes together without any conflict; since segregation still occured during the 1920s and1930s. Jazz music became so favorable and extremely populated in American culture,before anyone knew it, musicians were performing this new form of music, along withthe blues, on street corners, in alleyways, and everywhere else possible; which led to theinterest and enjoyment from the white population. Even when jazz clubs began to openup, people; particularly white Americans, began showing up and enjoying the stylisticmusic which African American have brought to them. Jazz soon began to be viewed as asophisticated form of art, due to musicians’ ability to express their feelings but jus addingmusic to it, and then also having such an influence and the capability to connect withsomeone’s emotion or feelings towards a topic. Notable figures that began to surface intoAmerican society because of their contributions to the Harlem Renaissance movementwere musicians such as Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, and Duke Ellington. If thesemusicians never shared their musical talents with America, genres that we listen to todayLogan 5such as Rap or R&B would not have existed because as one can observe, Jazz was madeas an improvisation of the previous culture the blues, as the blues was an improvisation ofold folk songs originated from slaves; so without the genres that were created during thiscultural movement, this proposed domino effect of new genres that we now hear inmodern society would be nonexistent.One of the major artists that transpired from the Harlem Renaissance was BessieSmith. Bessie Smith (elizabeth Smith) is remembered as one of the greatest blues singersthat ever came out of the Harlem Renaissance. Bessie Smith’s style and voice createdunique sounds that flavored through America during its wartime during wartimeprosperity; influencing numerous African American singers as wells as Americans mostpopular singers as well. Smith’s talent gave her the opportunity to work with the bestmusicians of the Harlem Renaissance such as Louis Armstrong, and pianists FletcherHenderson and James P. Johnson. By the end of the 1920s, Smith became the highest paidAfrican American performer of her time, she even earned the title ‘Empress of the Blues”from many fans and African American musicians who were aware of her talents and hersignificance on blues music during the Harlem Renaissance. Some of Smith’s most wellknown songs are, “Cold in Hand Blues” and “I Ain’t Gonna Play No Second Fiddle , acollaboration with legendary jazz musician Louis Armstrong; and “Down HeartedBlues”. In today’s society, Bessie Smith’s music still continues to win over new fans, anda collection of her songs still manages to sell extremely well over the years, despite hermusic being almost a century old. Due to Smith’s unique vocal sounds and abilities, andher strong impact in the Harlem Renaissance, Smith became a primary influence uponmany female vocalists that have became involved in the music industry after BessieLogan 6Smith—including Billie Holliday, Aretha Franklin, and Janis Joplin— amd has beenimmortalized in numerous work from other artists.Another pivotal musicians from the Harlem Renaissance was Duke Ellington.Duke Ellington (Edward Kennedy Ellington), was an African American composer,pianist, and was band leader for a jazz orchestra named the Washingtons. During hisshort 50 year life span, Ellington composed thousands of songs that were performed onstage or on the radio, television screens, and contemporary songbooks which channeledthrough America during this significant movement; which later resulted into Ellington’smusic to be in high demand not only throughout the US, but overseas as well. Ellington’screation of his major ensemble channeled throughout America, being giving the title as”American Music”, Some popular pieces from Duke Ellington are “Sophisticated Lady”,”Take the ‘A’ Train, and “In a Sentimental Mood”. Duke Ellington’s ability to captivateaudiences and capture an exhilarating array of emotions through his music and itsexquisite presentation has never been replicated. Today his recordings remain the mostpopular jazz of the not only the Harlem Renaissance but in the orchestra, or best knownas the “Big-Band era” as well; explaining why Duke Ellington’s music has created andmaintained an ubiquitous presence in American music and in modern society. Ellington’screation of “big bands” also was an influence to Glenn Miller, one of the famousorchestras in today’s society. If it wasn’t for Duke Ellington and commencing the use ofbig bands, neither orchestras like Glenn Miller’s nor bands such as The Beatles, theJackson 5, or Sly and the Family Stone would’ve never existed.A major jazz vocalists that also made a significant factor in the musical influenceof the Harlem Renaissance was Billie Holiday. Billie Holiday (Eleanora Fagan Gough)Logan 7was a jazz vocalist and a singer songwriter. Billie Holiday’s ability to command attentionand audiences’ interest with reluctance instead of aggression like normal jazz vocalistsduring her time period, Holiday was able to influence many other performers to follow inher musical footsteps. Some popular songs from Billie Holiday are, “Strange Fruits”,”Blue Moon”, and “Solitude”.The last musician that I have discovered that had a tremendous impact, and amajor influence on the Harlem Renaissance was the great Louis “Satchmo’ Armstrong.Louis Armstrong, arguably the most well known person to have ever come out of theHarlem Renaissance, dipped his toe in merely everything that dealt with any musicalperformance throughout the Harlem Renaissance movement; from the beginning of themovement to then end. Armstrong was an extreme virtuoso when discussing hisattributes to African American music during the Harlem Renaissance; a trumpet player,band leader, member of the top African American dance band of New York City,soloist,film star, and comedian. Which made Armstrong so significant during the HarlemRenaissance was his daring style of play with his trumpet, his unique vocals, and hischarismatic stage presence influenced countless musicians and impressed not just the jazzworld but all the popular music during the Harlem Renaissance which sparked theinterests of both black and white Americans. Most popular songs from Armstrong duringthe HaRlem Renaissance are “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love” , “Stardust”, andBody and Soul”; Armstrong even participated in a live performance called “Connie’s HotChocolates”.Returning back to modern society and with all the history in between the HarlemRenaissance and today, people are able to see the new genres and other musicalLogan 8extensions that later developed from the influence the Harlem Renaissance and becamepart of American culture. One of the main musical extension that peaked from theHarlem Renaissance was ragtime. Ragtime was music that was performed in syncopatedor “ragged” time; a call-and-response pattern of slave work songs.Famous Ragtimecomposer, Scott Joplin, studied the composition of the musical notes which led him to beable to notat the syncopated rhythms that distinguished the form of the genre. Ragtimewas usually composed of the percussive rhythms in banjos, and the rhythms of slavedancers who used their heels to make drum sounds. Another new musical developmentwas live performances. Live performances such as the very populated dance trend TheLindy Hop traveled the African American culture rapidly The Lindy Hop is an authenticAfro-Euro_American Swing dance that drew on African and European traditions, laterbeing recognized as one of the most popular dances that were being performed the theHarlem Renaissance. African American music and dancing had a greater impact on thewhite population than African American literature and artistic creations combined,resulting in the Savoy Ballroom; a place where race was irrelevant, where any race couldcome under one roof and all be joyous and dancing together. Now despite jazz being sopopular during the Harlem Renaissance, some of the most influential works writtenduring the time of the Harlem Renaissance was poetry. Although there were previousinstances where the combination of music and poetry have existed, the HarlemRenaissance artists and authors are what influenced jazz (slam) poetry to become what itis defined as today. Poets like Langston Hughes incorporated the syncopated rhythms andrepetitive phrases of the blues and jazz into their writingLogan 9To get into more in depth with my project and wanted an expert’s perspective ofhow the Harlem Renaissance served an actual as an influential movement towards musicin modern society, I got the opportunity to interview African American professionalmusician, Jarvis Barnes. Jarvis Barnes just recently moved out to California to pursue hismusical career as a drummer. My questions are asked as followed with his answersfollowing immediately after. My first question to Mr.Barnes was: With the research I’vegathered, I’ve discovered that the significance from the harlem renaissance led to othertrends such as Slam Poetry and live theater performances, and what other culturalwereable to emerge from this significant movement? Barnes- “Everything, it was a bigcultural change, people were able to cope, change, and express which African Americanwere you could say put to work, resulting in the how much it affect not only the black butthe white community too. But there’s so many new genres that branched off the HarlemRenaissance, but the ones that come off the top of my head are rock and b-bop”. Questiontwo; The genre jazz and blues predominantly came out of this. How do these genresaffect today’s music and in what ways have they affected you as a performer and as astudent of music? Barnes-” Blues and jazz kicked off a lot of things, such as transitioningin the middle of songs and vocal changes. For me, when we on tour,I reference transitionswith our group….The second genre I started with was jazz. Learning jazz in high schoolto Latin, pop ggs, all merge together in the foundation of art….blues and jazz so bigthat’s why students are still learning about the Harlem Renaissance today”. Questionthree: Do you believe that if it wasn’t for the influence of the Harlem Renaissance,modern society wouldn’t have genres such as hip-hop? If so, why or why not. Barnes- “Of course, The Harlem Renaissance paved the way for all the genres. Before the HarlemLogan 10Renaissance Americans had classical music, and that music was vague it was constructedof such common notes and rhythms that is seen radical to younger generations. Thishowever changed when the Harlem Renaissance came around. Jazz musicians changedeverything; written notation changed, now there was seventh, ninth, thirteenthsuspensions and nothing was wrong….a jazz musician could play a wrong note, all theyhad to do was make it repetitive and you had a song just like that. But like i said beforethe Harlem Renaissance kicked it off cause every genre branches off from each othernow”.Asone can visualize from history and from my research, you are able to see the modernimpact in which the Harlem renaissance have influenced in today’s society. Take one ofAmerica’s favorable known genre which was created due to the influences of the HarlemRenaissance; Rap as an example. The art of rap started when DJ’s such as Grandmaster Flash,Doug E. Fresh , and DJ Kool made mixes of previously produced songs like Louis Armstrong’s'”Body and Soul”, or even Billie Holiday’s, “Blue Moon”, using turntables; what is best known as”remixing”. Before you know it, Rap turns into a commercial business in the early !980s whenDJs record themselves on discs and sold them at concerts. This type of music that the DJs createtoday are simply the newest type poetry the younger generation listens to in today’s era.Due to the Harlem Renaissance, African American was recognized to all americans andbegan creating this cultural extensions in music and dance, and even trends in which we seetoday. There is much more freedom in the words that African Americans can express on theiralbums, and due to this significant influence, genres such as rap and hip-hop are now the mostpopular music produced by African American artists; and the transition from instruments tocomputers and autotune has fled this generation in which the world seem enjoy and findentertaining. The Harlem Renaissance was the first domino of African American culture and nowit has falling and is continuing to fall as more and more American genres are being createdeveryday. With all the information that was able to obtain for my research, hopefully you are ableto see how much the Harlem Renaissance actually influenced and impacted not only AfricanAmerican music but the entire American population and American culture throughout history andinto today’s society.