Rhythmic Analysis of Langston Hughes’ Poems from the Perspective of Jazz爵士乐视角下兰斯顿休斯诗歌中的节奏特征分析毕业论文
Langston Hughes was an American poet, autobiographer, novelist, dramatist, essayist, folklorist, translator, writer of children’s books and lyric writer in a sense. As one of the earliest innovator of a new literary art called Jazz Poetry that time, he was considered as the leading poet of the Harlem Renaissance in New Year City. Langston Hughes had published sixteen books of poetry during his literary career, winning him the titles of “Shakespeare in Harlem”,and“the Poet laureate of the Negro”. Being heavily influenced by jazz music, Hughes embedded many jazz elements mainly including improvisation, blues stanzas, flexible rhythm, syncopation, jazz related expression and holler, repetition and variation, into his poetry. This paper mainly analyzes the rhythmic techniques of jazz being used in Hughes’ poetry and tries to conclude the effects of them. By using these techniques, Hughes made his poems more dynamic, impressive and the most important, more jazz-liked.
Key Words: Langston Hughes; Jazz music; rhythm
1 Introduction 1
2 Literature Review 1
2.1 Previous studies on Langston Hughes and His Poems 1
2.2 Description of Rhythm and Jazz’s Defining Features 1
2.2.1 Rhythm in Poetry and music 1
2.2.2 Defining features of Jazz 1
3 Jazz Structures and Rhythmic Techniques in Langston Hughes’ Poetry 1
3.1 Jazz Structures 1
3.2 Rhythmic Techniques of Jazz 1
3.3.1 Improvisation 1
3.3.2 Repetition and Variation 1
3.3.3 Jazz-related Expression 1
3.3.4 Syncopation 1
4 Effects of Jazz Music to Langston Hughes’ Poems 1
4.1 Enhancement to Poetic Rhythm and Musical Aesthestics 1
4.2 Promotion to Black Racial Pride 1
5 Conclusions 1
Rhythmic Analysis of Langston Hughes’ Poems under the Perspective of Jazz
James Mercer Langston Hughes (February 1, 1902 – May 22, 1967) was an American poet, autobiographer, novelist, dramatist, essayist, folklorist, translator, writer of children’s books and lyric writer in a sense. As one of the earliest innovator of a new literary art called Jazz Poetry that time, he was considered as the leading poet of the Harlem Renaissance in New Year City. From The Weary Blues(1926), his first book of Poetry, to The Panther and the Lash: Poems of Our Times (1967), his final volume of verse which was published posthumously, Langston Hughes had published sixteen books of poetry during his literary career, winning him the titles of “Shakespeare in Harlem”,and“the Poet laureate of the Negro”.
The Jazz poetry of Langston Hughes had been noticed by many scholars who had produced a great amounts of research results. But rarely did the researchers tend to study Langston Hughes’ poetry over its poetic musicality such as rhythm. Although some scholars have rightly focused their attention on the role music plays in Langston Hughes’ poems, most of the researchers were inclined to explore the incentive of Langston Hughes’ creating so many Jazz poems or the meaning of Hughes’ Jazz poetry to the arising of Negro’s national awareness, rather than taking the concept of Jazz poetry as the point of studying.
Originated in African Americans in New Orleans, United States, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Jazz is a music genre developed from roots in Blues and Ragtime and had derived many forms of Jazz music as Jazz spread around the world, such as bebop, chamber jazz, cool jazz, ECM jazz free jazz, gypsy jazz, hard bop, Latin jazz, mainstream jazz, modal jazz, rhythm and blues(Ramp;B), progressive jazz, soul jazz, swing, etc. Although some theorists categorize Blues as a different music genre from Jazz, this paper regards Blues as a kind of Jazz and will analyze the poems written with Blues skill by Langston Hughes.
2 Literature Review
2.1 Previous studies on Langston Hughes and His Poems
Academic studies on the influence of Negro music, mostly the blues music, to Langston Hughes’ poetry are quiet abundant by now for Hughes important role playing in the Harlem Renaissance and his unprecedented artistic and intellectual achievement among black Americans during 1920s. According to Randy Weston, one of the Jazz artists most engaged with Africa, “Langston Hughes was the only one of our writers who wrote about the music.” A lots of critics had discussed how Langston Hughes utilized the Jazz musical form, rhythm, some characteristic expressions of Jazz music and the sprite of blues into his poetry, and how these techniques enhance the musical aesthetic, rhythmical, and especially the sociopolitical effects of his poems. During recent decade, more detailed and extensive analyzation between Langston Hughes’ poetry and Jazz music had been supplemented by scholars from the world, such as: “Bitter Jazz in Langston Hughes’ DREAM BOOGIE” (2012) written by Rick Brown and “The Riffs, Runs, Breaks, and Distortions of the Music of a Community in Transition: Redefining African American Modernism and the Jazz Aesthetic in Langston Hughes’ Montage of a Dream Deferred and Ask Your Mama: 12 Moods for Jazz” (2003) written by Gü; nter H. Lenz.