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As a fiddle player, I've always enjoyed jazz, but been on its periphery musically. Although there have been many famous and extremely talented jazz fiddle players, I don't think that it is naturally a jazz instrument, though many would disagree. So this is exploration of the history of jazz from point of view of me, a fiddle player.

The origins of jazz go back to black American Christian religion and work songs. Thus jazz is a form of folk music in its original form, but not the European folk music we are used to, rather the folk music of Africa mixed with a whole lot of other influences that were gained in the melting pot that was America at that time.

Like folk music, jazz was originally not written down as musical notation, and in fact a whole lot of aspects of jazz performance cannot be written down in any way and attempts to do so literally look ridiculous. I had a look at the origins of spirituals, which are the oral aspects of jazz music as distinct from jazz bands.

Although many aspects of jazz performance cannot be notated to any degree of accuracy or meaningfulness, the later developments of the big band and certain jazz styles are much more regimented and have been written in printed notation, though these are still our only approximation of what has to be played. In many ways, necessity to write down jazz for bigger ensembles has modified the form and traditions of jazz.

One of the Characteristics of jazz that hits you right in the heart, or stomach, or wherever it is that music gets you, or it's rhythms which form a core element of the jazz style. It isn't just the rhythms themselves, but where the emphasis falls within that rhythm, which is usually quite different from the form of classical music. More complex still is the core style of jazz polyrhythm, which creates complex rhythms and emphases of its own making. Another significant characteristic of jazz is that it is rich in emotion. All music is about emotion, no matter what that emotion is, and music without emotion is merely the Muzak that gets in the background in supermarkets and the like. All this richness of jazz is created by the musician using an instrument, whether it be the voice or man-made instrument such as a trumpet or double bass. The physical characteristics and playing methods of each instrument has a profound effect on the kind of jazz style that can be played, so I've reviewed the sections of a jazz band and their characteristics.    

The jazz band started off as a relatively small affair, but Jazz Band became bigger and eventually developed into the Jazz Orchestra. As the jazz band grew into the orchestra, the jazz big band became standardised in its form. Also with the increase in size, the ability for musicians to have free for all improvisation session diminished, so the music of the commercialised Jazz Band had to be orchestrated. With orchestration, some of the psychology of Jazz Band Syncopation effects was lost became a much more predictable form of music. In the days of Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, jazz big band music was combined with tap dancing, which in itself is a form of monotone jazz. Although big-band orchestration inevitably brought medium closer to classical music in some ways, jazz is in many ways diametrically opposed to classical music and could be argued to have more more in common with Indian classical music. Nevertheless, there have been many attempts to address jazz up as an intellectual art form, but really it isn't, being closer to folk music and the ceilidh band than to the string quartet. Jazz was conceived in the USA and gestated by the American psych before it was released into the wild. Thank you America!



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We hire string quartets, jazz bands, ceilidh bands, barn dance bands and more, so what do you know about these musical forms? Most people know relatively little, so let me lead you through them in turn. First there is the string quartet, one of the most popular ensembles for church wedding music and music for civil partnerships and for the entertainment for the wedding breakfast. But how many people know what a string quartet is and where this musical form originated? Not many. Probably, most people will have never been to a string quartet recital and their experience of listening has been at a wedding, but this musical form has been through a long evolution. There is a wide ranging quartet repertoire many styles of playing, only some of which are suited to live wedding entertainment, some aspects being related to the compositions they play, others to the temperament of the string quartet musicians themselves. Most quartets are voiced entirely by string instruments, a first and second violin, a viola and a cello, but there are some string and woodwind quartets where one of the violins is replaced by a flute or clarinet. However the layout in terms of two treble, one alto and one bass part remains the same.



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This is a list of venues throughout the UK where different genres of band and ensemble can perform. The list is divided into different kinds of music, barn dances, classical groups, jazz bands, function bands etc.

List of venues where Barn Dance Bands could perform

List of venues where Ceilidh Bands could perform

List of venues where Classical Duos or Trios could perform


Different types of band would tend to play in different kinds of venue, although there is a lot of commonality. For example a barn dance band or a Ceilidh Band would often play in a village hall, church hall or similar communal venue whereas a function or pop band would tend to play in venues that are somewhat larger such as hotels, and stately homes.


List of venues where Covers Bands could perform

List of venues where Function Bands could perform


String quartets and classical ensembles on the other hand tend to play for weddings, in churches and formal wedding venues which can range from small hotels to major stately homes. Although string quartets might give a concert in a village hall for a concert Club, it would be more common for a jazz band or Ceilidh band to play.

List of venues where Jazz Bands could perform

List of venues where Jazz Duos and Trios could perform


When people hire a jazz band or hire a Ceilidh Band from the Midsummer Music website, it is normally for a wedding, party or Corporate event. Although such events happened throughout the UK, the spread of venues in different parts of the country is different. This is partly historical, for example plush hotels are more numerous in the South of England and city areas, where village halls proliferate in rural areas and the North England.

List of venues where Party Bands could perform

List of venues where String Quartets could perform


When it comes to considering how much a string quartet, jazz band or party band may cost, the price of the venue and its style is also a relevant Factor.