Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 17, No. 1. March 4, 1953
Music has been defined by a certain optimist as "pleasing sounds." Others disagree, but there can be no argument if we say that music is merely a series of sounds persisting for a certain length of time. That observation is necessary for there are two musical groups at Victoria—the Jazz Club, and the Musical Society, and while the members of each are agreed that the noises they themselves produce are pleasing—nevertheless, there is not the same fraternal unanimity concerning those noises which the other group produce.
The disdain which many classicists have for jazz, and which in return, many jazzmen have for the classics, though it might be the cause of good music, stems in fact from a disregard of the common inspiration of these two forms. A glance through the writings of modern authorities on both classics and jazz—in its true form—will show that there is a very ready realisation on both sides of the close inter-relation between the two.
Classical music is written music. It springs from an emotion or inspiration in the composer which he will attempt to infuse in the performer, by means of symbols and words written on paper.
The performer, or in the case of the orchestra, the conductor, must attempt to reproduce that emotion to the fullest extent of his capabilities in order to pass it on to his listeners for their pleasure and Government. As a result there arise all the different interpretations of the Mime piece of music, and the worth of these may be Judged from their emotional intensity.
In jazz the music is created contemporaneously with the emotion and is more closely dependent upon it. True jazz is improvised, and is best performed by a small group because it is almost impossible for a large number of musicians to feel at the same moment an emotional experience so similar that the piece they are playing will be an integrated unity. Thus the need in large orchestras for a conductor, whose worth is measured by his ability to imprint on the members of the orchestra his own opinions and feelings concerning the music.) The bands of Duke Ellington. Louts Armstrong in the early part of his career, and Fats Waller, are sufficient examples of this jazz.