4 Essential Musical Instruments to Facilitate Jazz Compositions

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Jazz is a musical goldmine, the deeper one delves down into it, the more artistic treasures he excavates. Jazz never ceases to surprise us; just when we are convinced we have had it all from jazz, it proves us wrong by enriching itself and by offering us more attractive and rewarding musical experiences.

Innovative musical instruments emerged out of creative experiments; such instruments were the saxophone, the flugelhorn, the bass drum, etc; many of those instruments were designed independently, putting aside considerations for jazz. The saxophone, for example, was designed by Alfred Sax when jazz was in its nascent form and confined to the military barracks.

But their usage enriched the entire jazz landscape. The instruments could play complex chord structures with extra ease and facilitate the procedure of composing tracks. Many jazz compositions have sharp or flat notations, which were difficult for conventional instruments to render. Another benefit of innovative jazz instruments such as the saxophone was switching between octaves simply by changing the keys.

In this article we’ll discuss some of the musical instruments, without which jazz is pretty much incomplete. The list begins with

Upright bass

Harmony and melody are two integral aspects of jazz. Musical instruments in jazz enhance harmonic and melodic elements. Upright bass is a wooden instrument with four strings. The strings were originally made of horsehair and used to render notes that are long and low. When upright bass began to be used in jazz music, plucked strings replaced the horsehair strings and eliminated the need for bow.

The technique of playing upright bass is called pizzicato. Upright bass comes with a stool, which is put on its back side. The instrument is positioned in a slanting manner and the musician sits on the stool.

Piano

Among all the instruments that are used to play jazz tracks, the most versatile is undoubtedly piano. A piano has a total of 88 keys; such a huge collection of keys works in the musician’s favor by allowing him to play high or low notes with ease. The keys render full and half notes, they can generate percussion effects as well as soft and slow effects.

Learning a piano is very easy. All you need is a keyboard and you’ll rock the practice sessions. During the heyday of jazz, piano happened to accompany the soloists when they played improvisations. Since those improvisations are mostly on melodic chord structures, listening to them regularly could male practicing effortless. If you are learning piano because you aim to set up a jazz band in the future, then it’s essential for you to learn playing major scales.

Saxophone

Saxophone belongs to the horn section. Instruments that are structurally similar to it are trombone, clarinet, flugelhorn, etc. Saxophone is a brass made woodwind instrument that comes with a mouthpiece and a reed. The use of saxophone offers so many advantages; it has flat and sharp buttons and musicians could render the high and flat notes directly by pressing them. Another advantage is various combinations of buttons; through which different combinations of holes are covered and allow wide chromatic ranges to pass.

When a saxophone is used to play solo, audiences virtually start to crave for accompanying sounds. As a result, the musicians look for ways to stretch their sound palette. Playing saxophone also teaches the musicians better utilization of space. If the solo lasts for 40 minutes, and they don’t pay proper attention to every resulting space, then after 10 minutes, it’ll be hard for him to pace themselves.

Drum

Jazz drum is a percussion instrument. Drumming accompanies solo performance. Jazz drum, alongside other instruments such as guitar and piano heighten the excitement of a solo performance. The importance of drumming kept on increasing through the swing era and it became a mainstay by the time bebop has set its foot.

Bass and snare drum are played simultaneously. The bass drum has a large diameter and produces a resonant sound. At the time of playing it, the drummer hits a pedal with his right foot. The snare drum produces back-beat, which is compensated by 4/4 time signature on the bass beat.

There are many other instruments, used in jazz, apart from the ones mentioned above. However, the four instruments discussed above, are essential in jazz music. If are a jazz aspirant, then master the skills of playing the instruments above.