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Musical elements and instruments

This chapter introduces the student to some of the elements of music, with an emphasis on the terms and concepts that prove useful for describing and understanding jazz performances. These include timbre (and the variations of timbre that produce individuality in jazz); instruments used in jazz ensembles; rhythm (free and pulse); meter (including downbeat and measure); polyrhythm (the distinctive African-based approach to rhythm that produces “swing”); scales/modes, blues intonation; harmony and tonality (i.e., how chord progressions work); and texture (homophony, monophony, and polyphony).

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