San José State University
School of Music and Dance
Office Hours: email only
Professor: Dr. Aaron Lington
Phone: 408-924-4636; Aaron.Lington@sjsu.edu
MUSIC 120: Worlds of Jazz
Section 11 - Online
Course Description and Objectives
It has been said that jazz is one of the most influential and
important art forms the United States has given to the culture of the world.
Jazz draws its unique
language and style from many societies and cultures from around the globe and in turn, has itself
become an influence for artists from all walks of life.
This course will examine the origins of
jazz, major performers and composers who have shaped its sound, and major styles throughout its
Emphasis will be placed on historical recordings and knowledge of important figures and
styles in jazz.
This course also approaches jazz as a part of American and global cultural history, with emphasis
placed on diversity and equality among people from different cultural, racial, and ethnic groups in
the United States.
Students will explore the changing social contexts in which jazz musicians
have worked and lived.
They will develop critical skills for analyzing and understanding the
connections between music, ideas, and culture.
The basic premise of this course is that musical
and cultural meanings, particularly throughout the history of jazz, are created in connection to one
another and in relation to specific issues of social equality and inequality.
To understand these
relationships, students will investigate ways in which jazz musicians and audiences define and
redefine themselves through their music; study the interactions of the diverse groups of people
who have created and transformed jazz (including African-Americans, European-Americans,
other ethnic groups and nationalities, men and women, successive generations, and members of
distinct economic strata); explore the controversies over identity and musical value that have
marked jazz history; examine communities of musicians as well as prominent individual artists
within those communities; and learn to recognize distinctive musical characteristics of the idiom.
Social equalities and inequalities are a very real and influential part of American social history,
and these issues along with the social and ethnic diversity of the United States, directly influenced
and shaped one of America’s original art forms: jazz. In this course, students will learn to
describe how identities (i.e. religious, gender, ethnic, racial, class, sexual orientation, disability,
and/or age) are shaped by cultural and societal influences within contexts of equality and
inequality. They will study historical, social, political, and economic processes producing
diversity, equality, and structured inequalities in the United States. Students will address social
actions that have led to greater equality and social justice in the United States (i.e. religious,
gender, ethnic, racial, class, sexual orientation, disability, and/or age). And lastly, constructive