Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon

Course Number:
MUS 205
Course Title:
Introduction to Jazz History
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Covers the 90-year history of jazz, a truly American art form. Examines and analyzes eras, styles, and significant artists. Prerequisites/concurrent: WR 115 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon successful completion students should be able to:

  • Understand that the study of jazz involves an analysis of what motivates humans to create and how their creations reflect their values and world views
  • Experience jazz music €œdynamically,€ that is, to appreciate simultaneously the uniqueness of a work, its origins and precedent, its potential as an inspiration and influence on later music and its relationship to a particular cultural moment
  • Critically examine the impact of jazz on social interaction so as to encourage sensitivity and empathy toward people with different values or beliefs.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

At the beginning of the course, the instructor will detail the methods used to evaluate student progress and the criteria for assigning a course grade. These methods may include one or more of the following tools: Qualitative and/or quantitative examination, quizzes, listening assignment, and class participation

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  • Basic elements of:
    • Melody
    • Harmony
    • Rhythm
    • Form
    • Improvisation
    • Rhythm Section and Front Line
  • Pre-jazz roots
  • African and European components
  • Ragtime and City Blues
  • New Orleans Hot Jazz
  • Stride and boogie woogie piano
  • Early Big Band and Swing
  • Melodic and harmonic improvisation
  • Bebop
  • Cool and hard bop
  • Third Stream
  • Modal jazz
  • Free jazz and fusion

The following skills are expected to meet the minimum requirements ("C" or "Pass") for the course:

  • Identify the African and European elements of jazz.
  • Describe and identify the roles of the rhythm section and front line instruments.
  • Identify song forms including city and country blues.
  • Recognize and appreciate the contributions of key innovators.
  • Describe the evolution of styles within their social and cultural contexts.
  • Identify musical styles from recorded examples.