How would you define optimistic jazz music
What is "Upbeat Music"?
In this context the commentator uses it in the sense of "happy, happy, optimistic music"; although I would tend to use more emotionally neutral terms like fast and active, full of movement, etc. - as you have noticed, "optimistic" is not always outright happy (for any listener).
Some of the details that make it upbeat in this sense are:
- The pace is over 240BPM,
- The first melodic content is cheeky, loudly synthesized horns, they alternate with a
- a little quieter, but still high and active melody.
In return, these melodic sections alternate with glitches - actually just the underlying rhythm to create tension and relaxation between the high-energy melodic content and the glitches that are less common in your face.
As far as I can tell, there is no strong correlation between this overall feel of the music and the more technical use of the term "optimistic" to refer to the unaccented subdivisions in the meter (or more and more strictly: the unaccented subdivision just before the beginning the measure). In fact, you would normally describe music that emphasizes the off-beats as "[highly] syncopated" rather than optimistic.
Apart from the technical definition of optimistic
Especially in classical music, the "prelude" refers to what the conductor does. Here is a diagram of the conductor's hand movements for the 4/4 time, with the prelude highlighted:
On the beat before the first beat of each measure (the downbeat marked with a 1), the conductor raises his hand / baton to prepare for it. the prelude (here marked 4).
Outside of classical music, people tend to be a little looser with language and can use "optimistic" to refer to any subdivisions that fall between the main beats - like in the OP, the & 's in "1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & ".
"Upbeat" can be used by music critics (not necessarily performers) to say that the rhythm is lively. This can include music that is "hot", "hard", etc., but can include music that is "soft" and "light" if the tempo of the music is sufficiently fast. Take Frank Mills "Music Box Dancer" as an example. "Hard" and "heavy" music can be considered "optimistic" if the rhythm of the song is comparatively higher than that of other songs of similar similarity.
Optimistic also has the connotation of making you jump for a dance. Fast marches are like that, as is fast jazz music that you see people doing Lindy Hop to. In terms of metal, an upbeat tune is likely to result in the audience being less beating up and perhaps more engaging in hopping and jumping.
This is the answer for the music critic's side. Positive can mean something completely different for the performers. This can mean the end of the bar where a conductor punctuates the end with a flick of his baton upwards. The downbeat is then the start of the bar.
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