“Swing- From Verb to Noun” is the title Leroi Jones gives to his chapter on swing music in his 1963 book Blues People. In a 5-7 page paper, explore what Jones means by this formulation– swing as a verb, as a noun, swing going from verb to noun– and how he uses it to make arguments about music as an expression of race, capitalism, and power in the United States. Why is swing music such an apt style for this set of arguments? How does his formulation further the larger goals of his book? After your discussion of swing, discuss two other musical examples–styles, genres, specific artists/songs– from Blues People or any of the other readings so far this semester, where we might apply Jones’ formulation (bebop, rock, the career of Charles Mingus, etc). Lastly, do you think his formulation is still relevant to discussions of contemporary popular music?
In writing your essay, be sure to clearly state your thesis and to develop your argument with evidence clearly cited from the texts at hand. Papers will be evaluated on the strength of their arguments and the extent to which those arguments are developed and supported with properly cited textual evidence. You may refer to ideas presented in lecture, but these ideas cannot stand in for or replace your engagement with the readings. All papers must be proofread, spell-checked, double-spaced, and printed in an appropriate font and font size. For in-text citations and works cited, please follow MLA guidelines.
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