Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Units: 4
Hours: 4 lecture, 1 laboratory per week (60 total per quarter)
Advisory: Not open to students with credit in MUS 64A.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Non-GE
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Describe and discuss the history of jazz and swing music from the development of Ragtime through the release of Miles Davis' Bitches Brew.
  • Identify major recordings and artists of the period by listening.


History and analysis of jazz styles and trends from the development of Ragtime to 1969. An introduction to the instruments, performers, composers, compositions and recordings that defined jazz before the introduction of rock as the primary commercial music style in the US. Presentation of jazz and swing recordings, videos and print resources. Major artists include Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Glenn Miller, Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, Sonny Rollins, Charles Mingus and John Coltrane. Style periods include Early ("Dixieland"), Big Band, Jump, Swing, Bebop, Hard Bop, Cool, Modal, and Avant-Garde Jazz.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. Describe and discuss the history of jazz and swing music from the development of Ragtime through the release of Miles Davis' Bitches Brew.
B. Analyze styles of jazz and how they changed during the period.
C. Identify major recordings and artists of the period.
D. Compare and contrast jazz as art music vs. swing as popular music.
E. Write comprehensive analyses of changes in jazz and swing styles during the period.
F. Discuss how race relations played a major role in the development of jazz as America's only native art form.
G. Describe and discuss how African-American and Afro-Cuban musical culture differs from Eurocentric musical culture, and how those differences created jazz performance practice.

Course Content

A. Context
1. American culture 1880-1969
a. Performance vs. recording and broadcast
b. Race as a factor in access to recordings
2. Vocabulary of early 20th century musical styles
a. Technical characteristics of jazz (including pitch, rhythm, melody, dynamics, timbre, texture, form and harmony)
b. Changes in technical characteristics due to social change and expanded access to music education for African American musicians
B. Style
1. Rhythmic variation in early jazz vs. ragtime. African musical tradition influence on early jazz and the establishment of a codified jazz rhythmic syntax
2. Melodic variation as practiced by Louis Armstrong, et. al., and developed through the swing, bebop, cool, hard bop, modal and avant-garde eras, taking into consideration changes in African-American musical style from 1900-1969
3. The introduction and assimilation of other American and European musical styles into the jazz idiom and the subsequent disintegration of the classic jazz idiom as an art form
C. Rhythm
1. Early non-swing jazz styles and syncopation
2. The development swing in the Ellington, or early big band style
3. The variation of the Kansas City Style of swing and territory bands, and its development into the bebop style
4. "Texas Swing" and commercial big bands
D. Melody and harmony
1. Diatonic melodic variation and note choice
2. Expanded melodic variation and the introduction of modal jazz by Miles Davis
3. Basic harmonic structures and the "Ellington Code"
4. Bebop expanded harmony and chord substitution
5. The mediant relationship and Coltrane substitutions
E. Major innovators and performers
1. Louis Armstrong and Early Jazz in New Orleans
2. Duke Ellington and the Cotton Club Era
3. Lester Young, Count Basie and the Kansas City Style
4. Benny Goodman and the development of commercial swing
5. Glenn Miller and swing as pop music
6. Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie and Bebop
7. Gil Evans, Miles Davis and the development of the jazz orchestra
8. Bill Evans as performer and developer of Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization
9. John Coltrane and the introduction of expanded forms
10. Miles Davis and the development of fusion

Lab Content

Lab content includes directed listening from the following areas:
A. Traditional Jazz
1. Buddy Bolden, et al.
2. Joe Oliver with Louis Armstrong
3. Louis Armstrong
4. Jelly Roll Morton
B. Swing
1. Fletcher Henderson
2. Duke Ellington
3. Count Basie
4. Benny Goodman
C. Bebop
1. Charlie Parker/Dizzy Gillespie
2. Thelonious Monk
D. Hard Bop
1. Sonny Rollins
2. Horace Silver
3. Miles Davis
E. Modal
1. Miles Davis
2. John Coltrane
3. George Russell
F. Post Bop
1. Miles' second quintet
2. Charles Migus
3. Ornette Coleman

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

A. When taught on campus: classroom sound equipment for compact discs, audiotape and records, screen, overhead projector, slide projector, VCR and DVD.
B. When taught via Foothill Global Access: on-going access to computer with Email software and capabilities; Email address; Java-script enabled internet browsing software.

Method(s) of Evaluation

A. Weekly quizzes on class modules
B. Written essay assignments researching jazz music and musicians
C. Midterm exam
D. Final exam

Method(s) of Instruction

Lecture, Discussion, Electronic discussions/chat, Laboratory, Audio examples.

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Gioia, Ted. The History Of Jazz. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011.

Although this text is older than the suggested "5 years or newer" standard, it remains a seminal text in this area of study.

Other written materials provided by the instructor and delivered online.


Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. Written critiques and analyses of selected jazz recordings 1929-1969.

B. Written concert/DVD reports.

C. Web/library research on major jazz figures and styles.