MUSI 212: History of Jazz Music

Spring 2005, schedule #13456

M W 1:00-1:50
Wilson 402

various times, Friday/Monday

Prof. Scott DeVeaux

Office hours:
208 Old Cabell

Teaching Assistants:
Lee Bidgood
Michael Bishop
Loren Ludwig
Shana Goldin-Perschbacher
Allison Robbins

General Outline:

The first part of the class consists of a Listening Orientation in which basic musical concepts, as well as the special listening skills needed for the study and appreciation of jazz, will be explained and discussed.

The remainder of the course is a historical survey, proceeding chronologically from the origins of jazz at the beginning of the century to the present. Emphasis will be placed on important performers (and associated stylistic schools) and their musical achievements. Social and cultural issues will be discussed wherever relevant.


  • This course assumes no previous musical knowledge or experience.
  • This course satisfies the College of Arts and Sciences Area Requirements for
    • "Fine Arts"
    • "Non-Western Perspectives."
  • This course does not satisfy requirements for the major in music.


Required at Newcomb Hall Bookstore:

  • Ken Burns Jazz (5-CD anthology of jazz)

Texts will either be available as pdf files on the Toolkit web site (under "Materials"), or in a course reader Brillig Books (7 Elliewood Ave.)

Recommended at Newcomb Hall Bookstore (N.B.: all these items are optional!):

  • DeVeaux, The Birth of Bebop: A Social and Musical History
  • Freebridge Quintet, Spanning Time (CD) (John D'earth, trumpet; Jeff Decker, tenor sax; Bob Hallahan, piano; Peter Spaar, bass; Robert Jospé, drums)

Other CDs by members of the Freebridge Quintet (usually available at Plan 9 Records):

  • Robert Jospé/Inner Rhythm, Blue Blaze

  • Robert Jospé/Inner Rhythm, Playing for Time
  • Jeff Decker, I'll Know

  • John D'earth, Thursday Night: Live at Miller's

For detailed guides to these recordings, click here!

Weekly Assignments:

The required reading and listening for the course is divided up into assignments, arranged on a weekly basis. You should do the work by or during the week indicated on the assignment.

Please note that the contents of the Assignments page may change over the course of the semester!


The reading will be drawn from

  • the xeroxed anthology from Brillig Books
  • material on the relevant Assignments page.


The listening assignments will be made from:

  • the required anthology of recordings (Ken Burns Jazz)
  • sound files available on the web.

Because the assignments contain sound files, they are password protected. I will give you the proper password in class.

Given the size of the class, and the finitude of web space, please do not expect to be able to do all of your listening within 24 hours of any examination! (Click here for some hard statistics about MUSI 212 web site use during the Fall of 2002.)

A good deal of the material for this course is available only on the web site, so as above, please expect a certain amount of change during the semester. Some of the changes this semester will involve a shift in the means by which the sound files are delivered.

PLEASE NOTE: The digital files on this course site are intended to be viewed or played by class members only. Any copying or distributing of these files is a violation of copyright law and an Honor offense.

In-Class Attendance:

A significant amount of the course material will be covered only in the classroom. You are responsible for obtaining this material through regular classroom attendance, both in the lecture and in the T.A.-led discussion section. The instructor and the T.A. reserves the right to consider attendance as a factor in the final grading.

I expect the lecture to start classes on time, at 1 p.m. By the same token, I expect all students to stay attentively in class until it ends at 1:50 p.m.

Note: students with cell phones should turn them off before entering class.


The course may be taken for a grade or for CR/NC. For those students enrolled in Architecture, College of Arts and Sciences (undergraduate), Commerce, Continuing and Professional Studies (B.I.S. only), or Nursing, the deadline to choose the grading option is 17 September. For those enrolled in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Engineering, or Education, the deadline is 14 September. A grade of "D" or better is required for Credit under the CR/NC option. For more information, see the portion of the web site devoted to grading options.

Honor System:

Students in this course are expected to familiarize themselves with and follow the Honor System of the University of Virginia, a copy of which is found at the following website .

Additionally, if you have any questions regarding plagiarism--what it is and how to avoid it--please consult with Prof. DeVeaux or one of your TAs on this. You may also refer to a very informative article written by Julie Adcox for the UC Davis Student Computing Guide at the following website. Plagiarizing the work of others may result in expulsion from the University.

ADA Statement: (Americans with Disability Act)

If you have a physical, psychological, medical or learning disability that may impact on your ability to carry out assigned course work, I would urge you to contact Services for Students with Disabilities through the following website.

Course Requirements:


  • MIDTERM I: Wednesday, 6 October, 15% of the grade

  • MIDTERM II: Wednesday, 10 November, 25% of the grade

  • FINAL: Monday, 20 December, 9 a.m., 40% of the grade

NOTE: The date and time of the final cannot be changed.

Each exam will consist of a multiple-choice test, given on the dates above. In addition, the two midterms will include a take-home essay, to be graded by your TA. The question will be distributed separately, on the web site, and will be due a few days at a time to be designated in the assignment. The scores on your essay will count as one-third of the total score for each examination.

Discussion sections: 20% of the grade

The TA-led discussion sections will assign quizzes and written assignments: these will count toward the grade for the discussion section. Among these assignments will be two concert reports, due on the following dates (with a third extra credit report possible):

  • Report #1: Monday, 18 October

  • Report #2 (and extra credit report): Friday, 10 December

Course Outline for lectures:

Listening Orientation

1 September: Introduction, Basic Musical Concepts

6 & 8 September: Basic Musical Concepts

13 & 15 September: Form and Improvisation
(TBA: Freebridge Quintet, lecture/demonstration)

Wednesday, 15 September: Drop deadline
Friday, 17 September: Add deadline (see exceptions above)--
Last day to change to or from the "Credit/No Credit" option, last day to elect the AU (Audit) option.

Early Jazz:

20 & 22 September: Historical background; New Orleans

27 & 29 September: Jazz in the 1920s; Louis Armstrong

The Swing Era:

4 October: Swing bands: an overview
6 October: MIDTERM I

11 October: Fall break
13 October: Duke Ellington; Kansas City Swing

18 & 20 October: Swing Era soloists

Modern Jazz to 1960:

25 & 27 October: Bebop (Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie); Thelonious Monk

1 & 3 November: Cool jazz; Hard bop

8 November: Miles Davis (1950s)
10 November: MIDTERM II

15 & 17 November: Charles Mingus, John Coltrane

Jazz since 1960:

22 November: The jazz avant-garde
24 November: Thanksgiving

29 November & 1 December: Post-bop; Fusion

6 & 8 December: historicist jazz; summing up

Monday, 20 December, 9 a.m.
(Wilson Hall 402)