Music of the 1930's
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Music of the 1930's
A description of the music of the 1930's
Curated by Martino Locke
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My Letter

Hey Mom,

            It’s me Thurman, your first born. Remember when you kicked me out a few years ago because you needed to save some money for the family? Well I just wanted to let you know I haven’t forgot about you, Pop, or Laura. How are things back home? Have things finally grown greener in Oklahoma? I’m out here in Louisiana earning some money making  music. I’ll tell you one thing Ma, these folks really know how to make some interesting music. They call it “jazz” but I call it “wild and out-of-control.” But the crowds love it. Did I mention they really know how to dance down here? Ma, you’d be amazed by what these people can do. They do something called the “Jitterbug” down here too. It’s the most amazing dance I’ve ever seen. It’s super fast and they seem to never lose control of their partners. On my way out here I picked up the horn. The band calls it a trumpet but these people have different names for everything. They say I’m the best horn player they’ve heard in a while. We’re the house band for some big time club for many different people. There was one guy named Louis Armstrong who came in last week, but everybody called him Satchmo. I never heard of him until now. Have you ever heard of him? Ask Pop if he heard of him too. But he was incredible. Not only was he terrific on the horn, but he sang too. They called him a hometown hero when they announced him. Apparently he’s from N’Orleans. I’m going to come soon and play as much as I can for you and Pop. Oh yeah, what has Laura been up to? I remember it was always her dream to do something with music. She always did have a pretty singing voice. Really, she’s the reason why I chose music to make a living in. Hopefully she can come down her and see me play sometime. I’d love it if all of you could come and see me. Speaking of pretty singing women, about a month ago, this woman named Billie Holliday came in and sang a song called “Strange Fruit.” I didn’t understand the meaning of the song until she practically left. She was talking about the injustices blacks faced in the south. People were so in shock, she didn’t any applause. Everyone wasn’t expecting her to sing about anything like that. I loved it though. It was about time that spoke out. But the band is saying that things are going pretty bad in Oklahoma. Heard something called the Dust Bowl happened and now there are a lot of homeless people. I heard a lot of people died too. That’s really the main reason why I wrote to you. I’m really hoping this letter reaches you. How the money situation now? Have you really saved anything yet? I’ve seen that a whole lot of the banks down here have closed down, so I know that most of the ones back home have closed down. I’ll try to come back home by the New Year. I really miss you guys back home. In fact, are there any clubs that have opened? If so, I can try and see if the band and me can travel out there and give you some of that good ol N’Orleans music. Trust me Ma, you’ll learn to love it after a while. Plus maybe I can teach you how to Jitterbug. I’m still not that good myself, but I could have the band teach you they right way. Last time I tried, I hurt my back trying to lift my partner. Huh, them was some good times. But hopefully I made you and Pop proud. Not to mention Laura, on account that I basically stole her dream. Well I really hope I see you all soon. I’m really homesick and need to see the people I love the most. But I send you my best wishes and I’m praying for you guys every night and every chance I get. I really hope I get a reply from you all soon. Love you all, give a kiss to Laura for me and a mean, firm handshake to Pop. Alright talk to you guys later. 

            Best wishes,

                        Thurman Jones, Best Trumpet Player in America

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Primary Doc #3 | Louis Armstrong - I'm in the Mood for Love

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Nathan Cushenbery-Andrews's comment, February 7, 2013 12:45 PM
Where is the annotation?
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Primary Doc #1 | It Don't Mean A Thing by Duke Ellington

It don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that swing
(doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah)
It don't mean a thing all you got to do is sing
(doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah)
It makes no difference
If it's sweet or hot
Just give that rhythm
Everything you've got
It don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that swing
(doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah)
It don't mean a thing all you got to do is sing
(doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah)
It makes no difference
If it's sweet or hot
Just give that rhythm
Everything you've got
It don't mean a thing, if it ain't got that swing
(doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah, doo-ah)

It makes no difference
If it's sweet or hot
Just give that rhythm
Everything you've got
It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing
It don't mean a thing all you got to do is sing
(doo-ah)
It makes no difference
If it's sweet or hot
Just give that rhythm
Everything you've got
Don't mean a thing all you've gotta do is swing
It don't mean a thing all you've gotta do is sing
It makes no difference
If it's sweet or hot
Give that rhythm
Everything you've got
It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that swing
(doo-ah, dooooo-aaaaah)
Don't mean a thing 

Martino Locke's insight:

Annotation:

In this song the vocalist says that to get through a tough time, music is always here for you. You can struggle all you want to, but listen to the music and you'll feel better in no time. It was written in August of 1931, and took off immediately. Many people have done covers of this song, but none have the same effect or power of the original. It's a wonderful song.

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Nathan Cushenbery-Andrews's comment, February 7, 2013 12:45 PM
Should be 7 sentences long.
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Vocabulary Words

Strange Fruit – Blacks hanging from the trees in the south

 

Reverb – an effect whereby the sound produced by an amplifier or an amplified musical instrument is made to reverberate slightly

 

Swing – play music with an easy flowing but vigorous rhythm

 

Rhythm – a strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound

 

Jazz – a type of music of black American origin characterized by improvisation

 

Lynching – kill someone, by hanging, for an alleged offense with or without a legal trial

 

Pastoral – farm

 

Gallant – brave; heroic

 

Composition – a work of music, literature, or art

 

Jitterbug - a fast dance popular in the 1930s and 1940s, performed chiefly to swing music

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Nathan Cushenbery-Andrews's comment, February 7, 2013 12:44 PM
Add your student created sentences.
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Primary Doc #2 | Strange Fruit by Billie Holliday

Southern trees bear a strange fruit,
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root,
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze,
Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees.

Pastoral scene of the gallant south,
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth,
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh,
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh.

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck,
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck,
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop,
Here is a strange and bitter crop.

Martino Locke's insight:

Annotation:

This song was sung by Billie Holliday in 1939. It talks about injustice during this time. Strange fruit is actually blacks hanging form trees. Many people didn't realize it was about lynchings until the song was over.

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Website #3

Website #3 | Music of the 1930's | Scoop.it
Jazz is a musical art form that has expanded well beyond its own genre definition, transforming with every era and begetting countless other popular modern genre forms in the process.
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Website #1

Website #1 | Music of the 1930's | Scoop.it
Jazz is a style of music that spread in popularity like wild fire in the 1920s and virtually redefined culture in that time frame.
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