Which Instruments are used in Jazz Music?10th October 2019
As with all different genres of music, Jazz music tends to use a certain selection of instruments, known for blending that perfect jazz-style sound that has made the jazz genre so popular and well loved. Jazz is certainly known for a specific sound and style – and that’s what makes the music so well loved.
However, because the genre of jazz music is so flexible and unpredictable, it’s a genre that generally tends to be quite experimental with instrument choices. This means that a lot of modern jazz try to vary their instrumental choices – saying that though, there does tend to be a few instruments that feature in the majority of jazz bands, so we’ll discuss these below in more detail.
Trumpets are well-known in jazz music for creating that bold and bright sound that the genre is well known for. You’ll often find that trumpets can also be swapped out and replaced with cornets too – as they also give that bright sound. Trumpets are relatively inexpensive and start from around £200 to buy new, or you can hire a trumpet for £15 per month.
Saxophones are one of the most well known jazz instruments, and the saxophone is often the instrument that springs to mind when imagining a jazz band. Saxophones come in a variety of sizes (if you didn’t know already) which all produce slightly different tones and notes. The most popular size to start on is Alto, then Tenor. This is commonly due to the size, ease of play and available repertoire. You can hire a Saxophone from around £30 per month.
The piano is a flexible instrument that seems to appear in many genres of music across the globe. The flexibility of the instrument makes it a great choice for jazz.
The trombone adds a level of theatre to a jazz band, and because of the size of the instrument, it’s often one of the most recognised members of a jazz band too. The trombone was first used in jazz during Dixieland Jazz as a supporting role within the Dixie Group. In fact, the trombone really took off during 1930’s jazz era when the instrument reached peak popularity in the genre.
Most players start on a Tenor Trombone (often used primarily in Jazz), then with experience they may add a Bass Trombone or Bb/F model if playing more classically.
The clarinet may not be as dramatic or as big as the saxophone or trombone, but the clarinet actually had a huge role in the evolution of jazz music. Some people argue that the clarinet had a huge impact on the impact and visibility of jazz, especially during the early jazz area in cities such as New Orleans.
The double bass is a beautiful (and very large) strong instrument, which has a unique and distinct sound. The double bass is actually larger than the cello, and so requires the players to be standing when playing it. You’ll like see jazz ensembles with a double bass, and the player will be quite the presence on stage, that’s for sure!
The drums have always been part of jazz, because the beat and sound of the drums is so integral to the cultural history of where jazz music originated and evolved from. The drums are essentially the rhythm section of the jazz ensemble, and includes the bass drum, snare drum and cymbals.
As time has gone by, and as jazz music has become more modern and moved with the time, you’ll often now find electric guitars playing in jazz bands too.