Popular music and jazz

by Frantisek Turak
The rise and development of popular music in Europe, namely in Slovakia, can be, from the point of view of its content and timing, divided into three periods:

1) Approximately from about 1800 to 1918 (traditional popular music)
2) 1918 – 1950 (modern popular music and jazz – “extensive period”)
3) 1950 – present (modern popular music and jazz – “intensive period”)

Popular music of the first period can be characterised by typical European elements, based on music traditions of continental Europe. Therefore it is called traditional popular music. After the First World War under the influence of American culture, which is represented mainly by a multicultural jazz genre, its structure begins to change. Its name changes as well, we call it modern popular music. Here we can speak about music with typical multinational segments, in which not only a European influence is evident but also external aspects, predominantly an African influence. It can be again divided into two periods, the “extensive period” (with mild and even superficial copying of segments of American music) and an “intensive period” which began in the 1950s when mostly in modern jazz (later also in rock genre) domestic and American music culture are almost perfectly united and they merge. Some compositions and songs of the domestic music scene are indistinguishable from the American ones. In the long cultural-syncretic process due to social, political and economic conditions as e.g. the coexistence of several nations in one geographical area, mixed marriages, politics of power, religious missionary work, labour migration, the development of industrial conglomerations, market economy, commercialization of music, the influence of mass media, etc. a mutual influence of one culture towards the other one occurs. The most striking result of such musical and cultural conflicts in the 20th century is jazz and modern popular music.