Origin of Jazz

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AFTER SILENCE, THAT WHICH COMES NEAREST TO EXPRESSING THE INEXPRESSIBLE IS MUSIC — Aldus Huxley

There are many theories on how Jazz started but there is only one place from where the music originated and that is New Orleans in the United States in the year of 1895. Critic Joachim Berendt defines Jazz as a “form of art music which originated in the United States through the confrontation of blacks with European music.”

Jazz was born over hundred years ago in New Orleans but its roots can be found in both musical traditions of Africa and Europe. Jazz was the first American music style to influence worldwide. It combined elements of Blues, marching band music and Ragtime. Many music scholars share the opinion that the early Jazz influences came from the post Civil War and Emancipation era when the former slaves were free to travel and spread their African Heritage of rhythm and tonality with them. They were now able to earn a living for their family by playing music in hotels, restaurants, brothels, dance halls and clubs. Instruments from the bands of Civil War armies also became available to the African Americans around this time. According to ‘A Study in Jazz Historiography: The New Grove Dictionary of Jazz’ by Eileen Southern, the plantation music of anti- bellum days was one of the forebears of Jazz. A three-piece group of Fiddle, Banjo and Drum was the basic instrumentation. By 1890’s, the combo grew to include, Banjo, Cello, Cornet, Drum, Fiddle and Upright Bass. By the early 1900’s the fiddle was discarded and the Trombone and Clarinet were introduced, sometimes with the Tuba.

Music experts say, “Jazz is a combination of African and European music. From African music, Jazz got its rhythm and feel, blues quality and tradition of playing the instrument in your own expressive way, making it an expression of your own human voice. From European music, Jazz got its harmony – the chords that accompany the tunes played on the piano. The instruments used in Jazz, the piano, saxophone and trumpet originated in Europe. Musical improvisations came from both cultures. New Orleans was the perfect city for all these elements to come together as it was a port city and people from all parts of the world arrived there. It was a meeting place for people from different ethnic groups. It was a city with nightlife where musicians had the opportunity to play together, learn from each other and blend all the elements.

Jelly Roll Morton an American ragtime, bandleader and composer was widely recognized as a pivotal figure in early Jazz. His composition ‘Jelly Roll Blues’ was the first published Jazz composition in 1915. The most important jazz originator and first truly great jazz soloist (improviser) was trumpet player Louis Armstrong.

Today, Jazz is played and listened to by people of all cultures and ethnicities and includes musical elements and styles from all over the world. Jazz has become World music from America’s music.

 © THE TIMES OF INDIA

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Mental Arithmetic System

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The Abacus is a counting frame with beads sliding on wires and is used as a calculating tool. The Abacus was in use centuries ago before the modern numeral system came into existence. It helps provide a thorough understanding of counting, adding, subtracting, multiplying and dividing. Children initially start calculations, using the Abacus frame and then when the mind is conditioned, they start calculating visualizing the Abacus. In the Abacus system of mental calculation, users mentally visualize the Abacus to do the calculations. Mental calculation is said to improve mental capability, response speed, memory and concentration. Abacus mental arithmetic system is believed to promote all round development of a child. Mr. Wu Yanhua of China has been teaching mental arithmetic since 1990 and says, “It is proved by several years’ of teaching results that Abacus mental arithmetic is remarkable for developing children’s potential intelligence. It has strengthened children’s memory, attention, imagination and logical thinking capacity.”  He further adds, “The benefit of Abacus Mental Arithmetic Education is to strengthen the fundamental knowledge and basic skills. Arithmetical competence is a key point for the mathematic subject in primary schools, using abacus as a calculation tool is the most effective method in improving student’s calculation ability. Exploring the new knowledge by applying the skill of manipulation is to cultivate the student’s logical thinking ability. From the point of psychology, the understanding and interest of children to something new is due to the effectiveness of interaction between the subject and the object. A body movement is the initial step of mind thinking. Without a proper linkage between body movement and mind thinking, mind thinking can hardly be developed well. Learning abacus is a proper way to form an energetic initiative by manipulating the beads. This calculation method relies on the function of mind thinking and utilizes the image of beads in mind, improving the mind thinking ability” Mr. Somendra Gupta has been running Abacus coaching center successfully in Aligarh for the past four years and says. “A remarkable difference can be seen in children who use Abacus for calculations. They are hundred times faster than average children are. They can solve 150 sums in eight minutes. They have pinpoint concentration with high intelligence levels and their results are exceptional.” He says the ideal age to introduce children to the Abacus system of mental arithmetic is six years. Dr. Anis Jahan Sherani, an Associate Professor with the Education Department says, “Seeing the result of abacus on my children, I strongly recommend parents to introduce their children to the system.”

Priyanshi Somani of Gujarat is called a mental calculator. She won the Mental Calculation World Cup 2010 being the youngest participant at the age of 11. She multiplies strings of 10-digit numbers and finds the square root of a six-digit numbers by manipulating an imaginary abacus in her mind. Her name is also added in the Limca Book of World Records.

© THE TIMES OF INDIA

Mass Communication – An Enviable Career

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MASS COMMUNICATION IS CREATIVITY AT ITS BEST

There has been a phenomenal explosion in communication technology and media over the time. All boundaries have been transcended and the entire global community has been unified as a single entity. Mass-communication, as a stream of study and career, is exciting and enviable for everyone.

Many think Mass Communication is limited to journalism and film-making but the fact is that it has several interesting options. To a great extent, mass media is a modern reality which covers all aspects of human life. Moreover, a great change can be observed in the concept of people working in mass media. Careers in Mass Communication are not only high paying but also bring in a great deal of job satisfaction and expression of creativity.

Mr. Ashar Khan, a professor who teaches Integrated Media says, “There are no preparation strategies or set formulae for making a career in mass communication, it is unlike what we do for a career in engineering or medical. A graduate degree in the field is an advantage but a postgraduate degree or diploma is essential to be considered for responsible positions in any organization.” Creativity is not a slave to any degree but formal education in the stream opens a perspective. While pursuing the degree you need to start blogging or work as a freelance contributor to newspapers and a host of online publishing sites to develop your communication skills. Maturity, objectivity and a sensible train of thought are essential.

Opting the career requires a critical self-evaluation. You need to have creativity, a way with words and excellent communication skills as you will be required to explain and inform the most complex issues, in simple terms to a large number of people. A great deal of patience is also needed because in this field, it takes a lot of hard work, and quite some time, to make it to the top.

Raj a successful media professional says, “Job prospects are excellent after a professional course in mass communication. It opens several avenues for a career in films & TV, publishing, public relations, photography, journalism, editing, advertising, direction, film making, script writing, production, event management and corporate communication etc. An individual is free to choose his job depending upon personal interest.”

Mass Communication professionals never encounter monotony in their jobs as it is a fast paced job, is creative, includes constant learning due to ever evolving technologies and the professionals are always free to build and pursue different skills together. For instance, a journalist can also be a photographer, a public relations executive can also be a writer, you can choose whatever combination or combinations you are interested in. It all depends on your will and capacity to work hard. Ritwik a sound engineer, music composer and documentary maker says, “Creativity is an addiction, a creative person is constantly productive and does not work in boundaries, so the outcome that he derives from work is pure satisfaction.”  Hence, if you think you are high on energy, have constant creative sparks and like to challenge yourself then Mass Communication is the best career option for you.

© THE TIMES OF INDIA. Anyone who tries to copy, use or reproduce the article in any way will be liable to legal action.