Music in American Life

An Encyclopedia of the Songs, Styles, Stars, and Stories That Shaped Our Culture

by Jacqueline Edmondson, Editor


Music is absolutely intrinsic to American culture, in modern culture and across history.

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October 2013


Pages 1270
Volumes 4
Size 8 1/2x11
Topics Popular Culture/Music and Performing Arts
  • Award Winner!




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A fascinating exploration of the relationship between American culture and music as defined by musicians, scholars, and critics from around the world.

Music has been the cornerstone of popular culture in the United States since the beginning of our nation's history. From early immigrants sharing the sounds of their native lands to contemporary artists performing benefit concerts for social causes, our country's musical expressions reflect where we, as a people, have been, as well as our hope for the future. This four-volume encyclopedia examines music's influence on contemporary American life, tracing historical connections over time.

Music in American Life: An Encyclopedia of the Songs, Styles, Stars, and Stories That Shaped Our Culture demonstrates the symbiotic relationship between this art form and our society. Entries include singers, composers, lyricists, songs, musical genres, places, instruments, technologies, music in films, music in political realms, and music shows on television.


  • Contains contributions from American and international contributors who are musicians, scholars, and critics
  • Includes timelines, sidebars, and lists for further reading
  • Features photographs that capture musicians and events
  • Covers 500 alphabetically arranged entries, including censorship, torture, film music, radio, and theatre
Author Info

Jacqueline Edmondson is associate dean for undergraduate and graduate programs and professor of education in the College of Education at Pennsylvania State University, University Park. She has written several volumes in the Greenwood Biographies series, including Venus and Serena Williams, Condoleezza Rice, and John Lennon.



"[R]eaders will discover many excellent articles and thought-provoking perspectives. This set is appropriate for public, community college, and undergraduate libraries, and would be useful for courses in American popular music. Recommended."Choice

"This superbly written and edited set is full of pleasant surprises. . . . [T]his title does a commendable job of presenting the story of the American condition, past and present, as told through the universal language of melody."Library Journal, Starred Review

"This set serves as a fine introduction to various influences, venues, forms, genres, and styles of music that affected American life, and the musicians with whom these forms are associated."ARBA

"This resource is intended for general, high school and undergraduate students and music students to discover various topics and genres associated with music in the USA. . . . This particular resource . . . is of use and interest in most public and undergraduate college libraries."Reference Reviews


2014 Outstanding Reference Source — RUSA/ALA

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