Duke Ellington Essay

566 Words3 Pages

George Alazar
Mr. Peets
AP US History
Duke Ellington
Duke Ellington was the most well-known musician composer and bandleader during the Harlem Renaissance. Born on April 29, 1899, in Washington D.C, Edward Kennedy Ellington group up in a stable middle-class family. His parents, Daisy and James Ellington, both were talented musicians, playing piano. They strongly encouraged him to play piano, and he began piano lessons at the age of seven. Throughout his young life, Ellington began interested in the arts and wrote his first piece, “Soda Fountain Rag.” His love for music grew from here, and in 1923, he created the Duke Ellington Orchestra.
Regardless, of the popularity of his orchestra, Duke and his musicians still endured racism. When they would travel to the south, they would travel, eat, and sleep privately to avoid segregation. His contract for his orchestra also stated that he would only play for non-segregated orchestras. Despite these setbacks, Duke continued to perform with a subtle note of activism, by sharing African American culture through his music. …show more content…

African Americans after the Civil War created many blues melodies that have been passed down as part of their culture. Along with melody, the beat of jazz, consisting of syncopation and polyrhythms came from African communities that were passed down. Along with this, Ellington created some different styles present in jazz. These were “call and response”, ternary forms, and swung rhythms. He also created a balance of music created by him and improv from the musicians. This kept the music exciting and let him and the musicians create their music. One of the most important styles of music was the use of big-band. This consisted of large ensembles with saxophones, brass, and rhythm. His creation of big band jazz increased during the 1940s’ and became a popular genre of

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