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Down Beat is an American
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
Magazines, periodicals, glossies or serials are publications, generally published on a regular schedule, containing a variety of articles. They are generally financed by advertising, by a purchase price, by pre-paid magazine subscriptions, or all three...
devoted to "jazz, blues and beyond" to indicate its expansion beyond the jazz realm which it covered exclusively in previous years. The publication was established in 1934 in Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...
. It is named after the "downbeat" in music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...
also called "beat one" or the first beat of a musical measure.
Down Beat publishes results of annual surveys of both its readers and critics in a variety of categories. The Down Beat Jazz Hall of Fame includes winners from both the readers' and critics' poll. The results of the readers' poll are published in the December issue, those of the critics' poll in the August issue.
Well-known features of Down Beat magazine include its "Reviews" section where jazz critics, using a '1-Star to 5-Star' maximum rating system, rate the latest musical recordings, vintage recordings, and books; articles on individual musicians and music forms; and its famous "Blindfold Test" column, in a which a musician listens to records by other artists, tries to guess who they are, and rates them using the 5-star maximum rating system.
In April 1979, Down Beat went to a monthly schedule for the first time since 1939.