About music in the 1940s

By | April 10, 2021


Popular big bands of the decade included Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, The Dorsey Brothers and Count Basie. Large bands usually played swing music and featured a bandleader along with 10 to 20 musicians.


In the early to mid 40’s, bebop was at the forefront of the jazz scene. Popular artists included Charlie Parker and Thelonius Monk. Bebop presented complex harmony and chord changes along with the use of dissonance and syncopation.

Time frame

Cool jazz followed bebop during the latter part of the decade. Miles Davis’ album, ‘The Cool’s Birth,’ has created a softer and smoother sound.


1940s music can be seen as the forerunner of 1950s rock ‘n’ roll. Boogie woogie blues and bebop jazz became popular in the 1940s and had a major influence on rock music from the 1950s.


1940s music – especially the mid-40s – can be characterized as ‘fun’. Swing, bebop and pop music tried to be optimal to counteract the stress during World War II. Jazz artists and big bands dominated 1940s music. Jazz music from the 40’s finally gave way to rock’n’roll, but its influence is eternal. Along with instrumental jazz, singers such as Frank Sinatra, Perry Como and Dean Martin were also popular.