This volume in the new American History through Music reference series examines how popular music came to the fore during the Great Depression and explores the lives of the great musicians who contributed to making and performing the music that helped America through one of its most difficult times.
Prior to the stock market crash of 1929 American music still possessed a distinct tendency towards elitism, as songwriters and composers sought to avoid the mass appeal that critics scorned. During the Depression, however, radio came to dominate the other musical media of the time, and a new era of truly popular music was born. Under the guidance of the great Duke Ellington and a number of other talented and charismatic performers, swing music unified the public consciousness like no other musical form before or since. At the same time the enduring legacies of Woody Guthrie in folk, Aaron Copeland in classical, and George and Ira Gershwin on Broadway stand as a testament to the great diversity of tastes and interests that subsisted throughout the Great Depression, and play a part still in our lives today. The lives of these and many other great musicians come alive in this insightful study of the works, artists, and circumstances that contributed to making and performing the music that helped America through one of its most difficult times.
The American History through Music series examines the many different styles of music that have played a significant part in our nation's history. While volumes in this series show the multifaceted roles of music in our culture, they also use music as a lens through which readers may study American social history. The authors present in-depth analysis of American musical genres, significant musicians, technological innovations, and the many connections between music and the realms of art, politics, and daily life.
Features Chapters present accessible narratives on music and its cultural resonations • Music theory and technique is broken down for the lay reader • Each volume presents a chapter of alphabetically arranged entries on significant people and terms
Acknowledgments Introduction Music and Media: Radio, Sheet Music, and Recordings Popular Hits and Standards Music From Broadway and Hollywood The Rise of Swing and the Triumph of Big Bands Roots Music The Classical Tradition and the Federal Music Project Citations A Musical Timeline for the Period 1929-1940 Appendix I: Outstanding Bandleaders from the 1930s Appendix II: Outstanding Vocalists from the 1930s Appendix III: Outstanding Instrumentalists and Sidemen from the 1930s Appendix IV: Outstanding Songwriters, Lyricists, and Arrangers from the 1930s Selected Sources
Reviews "[A] comprehensive and extensively researched test which covers every facet of American music during the 1930s. There are few scholarly texts which present the topic in such detail ... [The] book not only builds on this scholarship but also allows a more rounded view of the era to coem to light... [A]n extremely useful reference book for the researcher. ^IMusic of the Great Depression^R is an invaluable resource for graduate students and non-specialist academics who wish to April, 1actual awareness of the era."—Journal of American Studies
"Comprising brief accounts of nearly every aspect of music in the 1930s, this encyclopedic survey covers popular, folk, and classical music; regional, national, and ethnic styles; and composers, performers, producers, and media....[t]his will be a handy supplementary resource for coursework in music and American studies. Recommended. Lower-/upper-division undergraduates; graduate students; general readers."—Choice