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BLACK MUSIC HISTORY CLASS - Instructor: Richard Davis

4415 Humanities Bldg.

off. 263-1911

hse. 255-6666 (office hours by appointment only)


Black music: 1920-present (from a performer’s point of view)

308 Rhythm Section & Combos

309 Vocalist, Trombones & Misc. Instruments

310 Trumpet

311 Saxophone

Black music history (jazz) is designed to help the student enjoy listening to

performances of some major jazz performers in their contributory roles as

stylists. The goal of the course is to develop listening techniques and show

how social and economic stimuli created style change. Also the elements of

music, i.e. rhythm, form meter, etc., will be taught. Technical knowledge not

required. Appreciation supersedes understanding. Textbook: “Concise Guide

To Jazz”, M.C. Gridley (used in 308, 310, 311 only).



308 performance on piano (easy), pg. 193, fail:0-pass:100 pts.

309 sing blues, example on pg. 197, fail:0-pass:100 pts.

No make up exams given.


See syllabus for grading scale. 3 exams usually given-non accumulative. Concentrated materials announced in good time for preparation. Group study (quartet) highly recommended. Exam preparation material is attained from lectures and recordings. The textbook is used for elements of music and a global view of jazz.



1. No talking (could result in embarrassment).


2. Tape listening in Memorial Library(primarily) H.C. White for overnight lending.


3. Ask questions during lectures for better understanding of materials.


4. Form study teams (2-4 in a group) together notes for exams and missed lectures.



This is a repeatable coarse-4 different semesters. Office hours are by appointment only. Instructor is sometimes absent due to travel. Colleague coverage or other. Assigned seating/attendance taken/call when absent.


Occasionally I will point questions to you. If I am not satisfied with your answer, you will be invited to join the 5:00 A.M. social club. I do dramatize the period (decade) during the lectures. Racism is discussed, do not take it personally. Jazz is the role of the black man in white society.



Interview Questions:


1. 308 / performance on piano graded 0- or -100


2. 309 / performance singing graded 0- or – 100


3. No talking demanded/ could be made to feel embarrassed/ dramatization used


4. Ask questions during lecture for better understanding of materials/ you will not be wasting my time


5. Assigned quartet for study groups and for missed lectures/in your row basically/your choice


6. Assigned seating


7. Attendance taken/call if late or absent/dropped if 3 unexcused absences


8. Questions pointed at you/5:00 a.m. social club


9. Racism discussed/do not take it personally


10. Do not miss first day of class / call if you are going to be absent/Other than that I will assumed that you have dropped. If you have dropped or decided not to take the class please inform me because others would like to enroll.


11. I will unauthorize 10 days after interview if you have not touch toned.


12. Reason for wanting/ Have you had before/ Do you know anyone who has had this class before


13. Touch Tone 10 days after this conversation/ Name will be dropped.


14. Limited use of text book/five percent


15. Library listening


16. Very important to realize description/I will mail it to you


17. Any special accommodations




1. Xmas Song


2. Xmas Song with voice count


3. Oleo Excerpts


4. Oleo Excerpts


5. Oleo complete rendition with explanation of 32 bar (AABA)song form


6. Billies Bounce (blues)


7. Watermelon Man (16 plus 16 bar blues)


8. Sidewinder (24 bar blues)


9. September Song (verse defined)


10. So What (modal-32 AABA song form)


11. Oleo (for fills-feed-etc.


12. Someday My Prince Will Come (four ways to listen) conclusion announced.


13. Reference to other songs and forms.

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