Jazz Standard

Pronunciation: jaz STAND-erd

What is a Jazz Standard?

A jazz standard is often used to describe a song that has become popular with jazz musicians, as well as listeners. These songs are well-known, performed frequently, and remain a popular part of many jazz musicians over several years.

Key Takeaways

  1. A jazz standard is any song that is a popular part of a jazz musician’s repertoire.
  2. A jazz standard may change depending on which compositions are popular and frequently performed in a given time period.
  3. A jazz standard doesn’t have to be composed by a jazz composer. Any song can be a jazz standard as long as it is popularly being used as a foundation for improvisation or jazz arrangements.

Understanding a Jazz Standard

Jazz standard compositions change over time, depending on which songs are popular within a given time period.

Compositions don’t have to be written by a jazz composer to be called a jazz standard. Any song that is used as a foundation for jazz arrangements or improvisations can be given the title of a jazz standard.

The most recorded jazz standard is W.C. Handy’s “St. Louis Blues,” which became a standard from the 1930s and 20 years onwards.

Popular Jazz Standards

Related Terms

Hymn A hymn is a type of song specifically used for religious purposes and sung in a place of public worship. more

Encore An encore is a performance played at the end of a concert, which is often a response to an audience’s prolonged applause or request. more

Ensemble An ensemble is also known as a music group. more

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