Many musicologists consider jazz the only purely American form of music. Others, however, argue that jazz is rooted in a history similar to that of America itself, a history of confluence.
The immigration of Europeans and the slave trade of West Africans to America resulted in a convergence of cultures, traditions, and art forms, including music. Jazz, first played in New Orleans in the early 1900s, borrowed heavily from the European musical scale and harmonic system. Jazz ensembles were built predominantly on European instruments, such as the trumpet, trombone, saxophone, and piano. The West African influence on jazz was manifested primarily in its performance. Scatting, a technique used by jazz vocalists to mimic the sounds of instruments, had its origin in West African vocal traditions. The emphasis on improvisation in jazz music, in addition to group participation, also came from West African music.
Proponents of the argument that jazz is purely American often point to its genesis in New Orleans as evidence for this perspective. The irony, however, is that the essence of America lies in the plurality of its roots. To deny the rich and complex history of jazz, and the true origins of the art form, is in effect denying the very aspects of the art form that make it undeniably American.
According to the passage, all of the following statements about jazz music are true EXCEPT:
A. Jazz music was first played in the twentieth century.
B. Jazz music was first played in New Orleans.
C. The instrumentation used in jazz music includes horns as well as stringed instruments.
D. Impromptu elements are a common characteristic of jazz performance.
E. There is disagreement among musicologists as to whether jazz music should be called an American art form.
It can be inferred from the passage that the author would be less inclined to label jazz an American art form if which of the following were true?
A. New Orleans was not the place where jazz music was first played.
B. Jazz music was first created in New Orleans when four avant-garde musicians from different musical backgrounds came together to experiment with unprecedented musical concepts.
C. With the influx of West Africans to the Americas came a very specific West African musical style that was later renamed “jazz” by Americans who heard this style of music being played in New Orleans.
D. Jazz music actually draws more of its character from South American and Native American traditions than from those of Europe or West Africa.
E. West African musical styles are heavily influenced by the musical traditions of a variety of middle eastern cultures.
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