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The Golden Age of Tin Pan Alley Song

professional tunesmiths wrote some of the most influential and commercially successful songs of the period. The potential for fame and success lured composers and lyricists with diverse skills and backgrounds

Richard Rodgers

produced many of the finest songs of the period, with his lyricists Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstain II, was college educated and son of a doctor

Cole Porter

born into a wealthy family in Indiana, studied classical music at Yale, Harvard, and Schola Cantorum in Paris

George Gershwin

the son of an immigrant leatherworker, the songwriter who did the most ot bridge the gulf between art music and popular music. Studied European classical music but also spent a great deal of time listening to jazz musicians in NYC

Jewish Immigrants

from central and eastern europe. Played a central role in the music business during the early 20th century as composers, lyricists, performers, publishers, and promoters

Irving Berlin

born named Isadore Baline, the most productive varied and creative of Tin Pan Alley songwriters. His career started before WW1 and continued into 60s. Often composed from 3-7 songs a week. Catalog of his compositions available in print with 899 songs

Irving Berlin's Most Famous Songs

Alexander's Ragtime Band, Blue Skies, Cheek to Cheek, There's no business like show business, white Christmas, and God Bless America

Irving Berlin's Background

european immigrant, born in Russia, his family fled the anti-jewish pogrom in 1892. Began life in america in poverty, began his career as a song plugger

Alexander's Rag Time Band

published in 1911, the song that first brought Berlin mass acclaim. Actually had little to do with ragtime as performed by the great black ragtime pianists of the day. Sold 1.5 million copies almost immediately

Film

Berlin wrote songs for Film. Blue Skies was performed by Al Jolson in the first Talkie -the jazz singer. Berlin wrote the entire score of the Marx Brother's debut movie: The Cocoanuts. The Film Holiday Inn introduced 'white christmas'

Broadway

Broadway musical Annie Get Your Gun, Berlin was the most prolific and consistent of Tin Pan Alley Composers, career spanned almost 60yrs

Tin Pan Alley Song Form

AABA structure, verse and chorus form of After the Ball (verse-refrain form, with an AABA refrain), has 2 major sections: the verse and the refrain/chorus

Verse

the verse usually sets up the dramatic context or emotional tone of a song. Most important part of 19th century popular songs. They were regarded as mere introductions by the 1920s. Today, the verses of Tin Pan Alley songs are rarely performed.

Refrain

today is generally considered the 'song'. Made up of four sections of equal length, A- the main melody & basic pattern of lyrics and chords to support them. 'a' section is repeated with new lyrics and slight variation, bridge- new material (new melody and chord changes), A melody and chords are repeated

Listening 'My Blue Heaven'

performed by Gene Austin. This recording was one of the bestselling records of the era. Form was verse refrain; refrain was four AABA sections and all A sections end with 'my blue heaven'

Gene Austin

one of the first crooners (singers who mastered the intimate style of singing made possible with the electric microphone)

My Blue Heaven Depicts

the deepest aspirations of the Tin Pan Alley listening public. The lyrics poetically reinforce a familiar and comfortable motif of the american dream: home and family. Gene Austin's performance reinforces the sentiments expressed in the lyrics : quiet intimacy and tranquility

Listening; "April Showers'

performed by Al Jolson. This recording reveals the sound and style of the premicrophone period. Jolson's singing style reflects the performance techniques used on the vaudeville stage. His vocal style was declamatory rather than lyrical, form- verse refrain

April Showers Performed

the brief introduction played by the dance band does not present any music from the verse or the refrain. Jolson breaks into rhythmic speech during the repetition of the refrain, considerable heightening the impact of the performance

What are Tin Pan Alley Songs about?

predominantly aimed at white, urban middle and upper-middle class Americans. Said little in the way of social or political commentary. Were generally escapist, privacy and romance.

Tin Pan Alley and Broadway

mutually beneficial relationship, close proximity, fruitful relationships in the 20s and 30s, the so called Golden Age of Tin Pan Alley Song (20s-30s)

Revues

featured sequences of diverse skits, songs, dances, and performers. Shows that were obvious successors to vaudeville, with titles such as 'follies' and 'scandals', remained popular with audiences of the time

Show Boat

a music, with score by Jerome Kern and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, tremendous success. For its time, it was a show of unprecedented seriousness and depth. Attempt to tie songs to characters and situations

Musicals

conceived as a highly integrated whole. On the rise in the 40s. Partnership between Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers, beginning in 1943 with Oklahoma! marks the triumph of this conception

Rock N Roll

when rock n roll took over the pop charts in the later 1950s, the connection between broadway and mainstream popular song had completely dissolved

Standards

1. songs that remain an essential part of the repertoire of today's jazz musicians and pop singers 2. possess a continuing appeal that surpasses nostalgia 3. Tin Pan Alley composers produced many standards

George Gershwin's songs

set new standards in excellence in terms of harmonic complexity and melodic flow. He was more classically trained and ambitious than other songwriters. Sought and achieved success in the world of concert music and popular music, influenced by jazz and blues

I Got Rythm

written by George Gershwin, performed by Ethel Merman, an up tempo Tin Pan Alley song. Verse Refrain form. Refrain: syncopation, conveys a jazz influenced flavor, shifts to a major key, unlike anything before. Verse is slow, minor key, little syncopation

Ethel Merman

sings in a style similar to Al Jolson, she is a belter.

Embraceable You

written by George and Ira Gershwin, performed by Nat King Cole. Instrumentation; trio of piano, guitar, and bass. The verse is omitted, after a brief instrumental introduction

Conclusion of the Golden Age

popular song both reflected and helped shape the profound changes in American society

Intermixing of high and low cultures

the adoption of new technologies, expansion of corporate capitalism, increasingly intimate interaction of white and black cultures during a period of virulent racism, the emergence of a truly national popular culture

Musical Diversification

record companies targeted new audiences between WW1 and WW2. Recorded music derived from folk traditions of the American south, millions of people from rural communities migrated to northern cities after WW1

Race Records and Hillbilly Music

terms used by the American music industry to classify and advertise southern music

Race Records

recordings of performances by African American musicians produced mainly for sale to African American listeners

Hillbilly or Old-Time

music performed by and intended for sale to southern whites

Mamie Smith

Queen of the Blues, pioneer blues singer, pianist, black vaudeville performer. Success as a recording artist opened up the record industry to recordings by and for African Americans.

Mamie Smith's bestsellers

Crazy Blues, Its Right Here For You, If you Dont Get It, Tain't no fault of mine

Ralph Peer

first person to apply the term Race Music, a missouri-born talent scout for Okeh Records. Had worked as an assistant on Mamie Smith's first recording sessions

Race Records

performances included a variety of musical styles: blues, jazz, gospel choirs, vocal quartets, string bands, jug and washboard bands. Verbal performances included: sermons, stories, comic routines

The Blues

1. describes a feeling, 2. refers to the blues style of singing or playing (vocals are intensified speech, narrow range, rough, highly inflected timbre),3. indicates a musical form, 12 bar chorus AAB

Blues Form

A standard rhythmic harmonic structure in which a 12 bar chord progression is tied to the AAB text in 3 four bar phrases. Also called "twelve bar blues"

Text of a Blues Song

rhymed couplet, each chorus of a blues song contains two lines of text with the first line repeated, AAB

Form of a Blues Song

Melodic form- each line is sung to its own melodic idea
Rhythmic Form- each phrase of a standard chorus lasts 4 bars. One chorus of a blues song is 12 measures long
Harmonic Form- the harmony of a blues song is I, IV, and V chords

Classic Blues

songs were performed by high-class nightclub singers (Alberta Hunter and Ethel Waters). Singers performed in a rougher style.

Alberta Hunter

Billed as the Marian Anderson of the blues

Ethel Waters

entertained the growing African American middle class in NY, Chicago, and other Northern cities

Gertrude 'Ma' Rainey

popularly known as the Mother of the Blues, developed singing style at black vaudeville and tent shows

Bessie Smith

empress of the blues, developed singing styles in black vaudeville and tent shows. Most important and influential woman in blues. Stylistically a blues singer even when in vaudeville shows. Centerpiece of Columbia's race record labels

W C Handy

father of the blues. Most influential of classic blues composers. Cofounded the first African American owned publishing house. His music owed much to Tin Pan Alley as well as African American folk traditions. his biggest hit: St Louis Blues

Listening: St. Louis Blues

written by W C Handy, sung by Bessie Smith. Introduced White America to the blues. A Hybrid approach to the blues, removed from the down home interpretation like country blues

Accompaniment of St Louis Blues

reed organ and cornet, Louis Armstrong on Cornet. Call and response between cornet and Smith.

The Country Blues

rural, down-home, or folk blues. Itinerant male folksingers traveled the rural South/Delta region. The blues was the music of this impoverished black work force. The rural musicians who played this style of music were not recorded until the mid 1920s

Charley Patton

one of the earliest known pioneers of the Mississippi delta blues style. Son of Sharecroppers. Charismatic figure whose performances included rapping on the body of his guitar and throwing it into the air. Rasping voice, strong danceable rhythms, broad range of styles made him ideal for dances and picnics.

Listening: Tom Rushen Blues

performed by Charley Patton. Recorded by Paramount Records, 12 bar form, 3 chords. AAB text. Patton sings in a rough heavy voice. Empathetic approach to guitar playing also represents delta blues. Lyrics focus on Patton's incarceration in Mississippi for moonshine.

Blind Lemon Jefferson

the 1st country blues star. Traveling performer. 1st records released in 1926. East Texas style, vocal quality is more nasal and clearer than Delta. Guitar is sparse and less rhythmically steady, but used as extension of the voice. Denied any profits form his hit records, died destitute

Listening: That Black Snake Moan

written and performed by Blind Lemon Jefferson. Recorded by paramount records. Melody consists of brief repeated ideas. Each of the stanzas has same melody. Call and response between voice and guitar

Lyrics to That Black Snake Moan

no precise chronological order of events. Obviously a sexual encounter is being described

Robert Johnson

No country blues artist has greater influence on later generations of blues and rock. Complete output was reissued on CD in 1990 and was a surprise million-seller. His early years are a mystery, supposedly sold his soul to the devil to play guitar. Only released 11 records in his lifetime. Died a victim of poison from jealous husband.

Robert Johnson Influenced

Keith Richards, guitarist of rolling stones. and Eric Clapton whose band Cream released a celebrated cover of Johnson's 'Cross Road Blues'

Listening: Cross Road Blues

vocal like intensified speech, melody/vocal moves freely over rhythm. Guitar Accompanies and answers voice, call and response with voice and guitar. Rough untrained vocal timbre, free approach to the blues, not always 12 bar chorus

Hillbilly or Country Music

commercially produced music associated with the rural white south and southwest. Reflects values and traditions of the performers who were rural, poor, southern whites. Its a regional music with international following

Musical Elements of Country Music

clear honest vocal style, southern dialect (accent), nasal vocal timbre, no vibrato. Most other elements of country come from other sources like european folk, parlor songs, jazz, and blues. Balance between traditional and outside elements has defined the fundamental tension in country music, old country vs. new country

Hillbilly Records

the designation for recordings of early country music. The first commercially successful hillbilly record featured Fiddlin' John Carson. Made by Okeh records during expedition to Atlanta led by Ralph Peer.

Radio

important in rapid growth of hillbilly market. made music accessible to larger audience. played a lesser role in popularizing race music (most stations owned by whites). 1st station to feature country artists was WSB in Atlanta

Grand Ole Opry

Nashville, center of country music. It was a radio show braodcast from Nashville on WSM

Vernon Dalhart

light-opera singer who recorded 1st big country music hit. Recorded a hillbilly record to cash in on the new genre. He recorded two songs; Wreck of the old 97 and The Prisoner's song

Pioneers of Country Music

The carter family and Jimmie Rodgers were both discovered at a recording session in Bristol, Tennessee. Their fame was boosted by hit records and radio appearances. They had a profound impact on generations of country and western musicians

The Carter Famiily

regarded as one of the most important groups in the history of country music. Presented more conservative elements - god, home, high moral values. They were from isolated Clinch Mountains, Virginia. The carters were not professional musicians when career started.

A.P. 'Doc' Carter

Leader, collected and arranged folk songs that formed inspiration, also sang bass.

Sara Carter

sang most lead vocal parts and played autoharp or guitar, had a classic singing style like english ballad.

Maybelle Carter

sang harmony, played steel guitar and autoharp. developed an influential guitar style which involved playing the melody on the bass strings while brushing the upper strings on the offbeats for rhythm

Gospel Ship

by the carter family, gospel recording. Features a straightforward unadorned performance style. Dark vocal timbre of Sara, clean guitar style of Maybelle

The Carter Family Music Style

preserved traditional music of their native home by adapting old folk music songs. Repertoire also included old hymns and sentimental songs reminiscent of the Tin Pan Alley tradition at turn of the century. They made over 300 recordings for half a dozen companies

Jimmie Rodgers

1st inductee to Country Music Hall of Fame. Most versatile progressive and widely influential of all early country recording artists. Known for his blue yodel and railroad image.

Listening: Blue Yodel No 11

written and performed by Jimmie Rodgers. particularly close to rural black models. Typical blues song (text, melodic style, form). Highly personal tone. Singing style rooted in blues, Yodels between stanzas. Uses guitar strictly as accompaniment, no attempt to set up melodic response or rhythmic counterpoint to his vocal

Listening: Waiting for a Train

written and performed by Jimmie Rodgers. A hobo song with a dark mood reinforced by Rodger's lonesome yodel. Song is based on strophic form, but rodgers employs a number of strategies to avoid monotony. He freely varies the basic melody as he goes along

Structure of Waiting for a Train

varies the close of every 3rd strophe to produce a firm cadence, while allowing other strophes to end inconclusively

Listening: Dreaming with Tears in my Eyes

written by Jimmie Rodgers and Waldo L O'Neal, performed by Jimmie Rodgers. prominent triple meter clearly recalls the waltz songs of the late 19th century. Jimmie died 8 days after recording this song

Lyrics to Dreaming with Tears in my Eyes

provide a wonderful example of humble, virtually invisible artistry. Abundant open vowel sounds that 'sing' beautifully. Triple meter of the music already explicit in the natural rhythms of the words

Popular Music and the great Depression

Threw millions of Americans out of work, had a major impact on the music industry. Race record market crushed by economy. Hillbilly record sales also effected but not as severely. Hillbilly and blues singers injected a note of social realism into popular music

Woodrow Wilson 'Woody' Guthrie

one of the muscians most closely associated with the plight of American workers during the great depression. Began his career as a hillbilly singer, performing the songs of the Carter Family and Jimmie Rodgers.

The life of Woodrow Wilson 'Woody' Guthrie

Known primarily as a protest singer. migrated to Cali as part of the stream of impoverished 'okies' described in John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath. Wrote songs overtly political in nature. Sign on guitar said 'this machine kills fascists'. He had direct influence on later urban folk musicians such as Weavers and Bob Dylan

Woodrow Wilson 'Woody' Guthrie songs

This Land Is your Land, Talking Dust Bowl Blues, and Ludlow Massacre

The Swing Era

beginning in 1935, a new style of jazz-inspired music called 'swing' transformed American Popular music. Initially developed by black dance bands in NY, Chicago, and Kansas City

The Word Swing

like jazz, blues, and rock n roll, derives from African American English

Big Bands

hundreds of large dance orchestras directed by celebrity bandleaders dominated the national hit parade. Many of the bands crisscrossed the country in buses, playing for dances and concerts at local dance halls, theaters, and colleges

Swing and the Music Business

the record industry began to recover from the Depression, well over half the records that sold more than a million copies were made by big dance bands. Swing music pulled the American music industry out of the great depression

The Lindy Hop

named in honor of Charles Lindbergh's solo transatlantic flight. Differed from popular jazz dance styles of the early 1920s. Smoother, with more fluid horizontal movements, provided greater scope for improvisation including the 'breakaway' when dancers would part company and dance solo

Harlem

had many famous night clubs and dance halls, The Savoy Ballroom, The Cotton Club, The Apollo Theater. Originally populated by European immigrant groups. Home to a substantial well educated and relatively prosperous black middle class

The Cotton Club

black and tan nightclub, generally owned and operated by Italian and Jewish mobsters. Audiences were predominantly white. Most successful dance orchestra was led by Duke Ellington and Cab Calloway, provided musical accompaniment for stage acts featuring scantily clad 'brown beauties' men in ape costumes and jungle scenery

Black and White in the Swing Era

a step forward in cultural communication across racial boundaries. Blacks attended concerts by white dance bands. White people began to study and imitate black culture with greater passion and in greater numbers than ever before

Not Full Equality in the Swing Era

only a handful of dance bands were racially integrated, even the most popular of black dance bands faced serious economic and social disadvantages

What Big Bands Brought

youthful energy back to American popular music, its core audience initially consisted of college-age adults and teenagers. Swing was exciting, brash, vital music, inspired by black aesthetics and consonant with the growing optimism of a nation emerging from a devastating economic depression

Call-and-response

one of the signal features of swing music. Central to AA musical traditions.Black dance band arrangers began to apply this principle to ensemble writing, treating brass and reed instruments as separate sections and setting them off against one another. The basic approach in which conversations were set up between parts of a band was later adopted by white bands.

Features of Big Band Swing Music

rhythmic feeling of swing music is more continuous and flowing. Bass plays on all four beats in a measure - walking the bass. Drummer plays all four beats with the bass drum pedal - four on the floor. and playing a regular tapping pattern on the largest cymbal - a ride cymbal

Listening: Wrappin' It Up

music and arrangement by Fletcher Henderson. Performed by Henderson and his Orchestra. Has all characteristics of swing music, smooth ensemble. call and response patterns between brass and reeds, steady flowing groove, bass and drums on all four beats. ABAC structure.

The Henderson Band

considerably larger than most syncopated dance bands. Five brass instruments, four reed instruments, rhythm section consists of piano, bass, drums, and guitars. Total of 13 musicians

Wrappin It Up Example

great example of the rhythmic flow and texture of swing music but also of the balance between simplicity and complexity that characterizes the best big-band arranging. Arrangement was later provided to Benny Goodman, who recorded it in 1938

Benny Goodman

king of swing, born in chicago son of working class eastern european jewish immigrants. Made 1st record under his own name, freelance musician during the depression years

Benny Goodman career with John Hammond

Hammond boosted Goodman's career. Arranged Goodman's first recording dates with Columbia. Pushed the band in the direction of more strongly jazz influenced music.

John Hammond

influential jazz enthusiast and promoter, was an artist and repertoire man with Columbia Records. Helped Benny Goodman, Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Bruce Spingsteen secure recording contracts with Columbia Records

The Goodman Band tour

appeared on NBC radio show: Lets Dance. Summer tour 1935, tour didn't begin successfully, audiences were not interested in the 'hot arrangements', bottomed out in Denver Audiences wanted their money back. Huge success in Cali, their success signaled the birth of the swing era

William 'Count' Basie

Basie's band was the most closely associated with the blues tradition. Born in NJ, early experience was as a piano player and bandleader in Kansas City

Kansas City

had a famously crooked mayor, Boss Pendergast. Many of the greatest jazz musicians honed their improvisational skills at competitive all night jam sessions. Black dance bands in Kansas city had developed their own distinctive approach to playing hot dance music

The Bennie Moten Orchestra and Andy Kirk's Blue Devils

toured southwestern US developing a hard-swinging powerful style with lots of improvised solos. Linked to country blues tradition, relied heavily on riffs.

Kansas City Bands

tended to swing more intensely and with greater abandon than East Coast dance bands. relied heavily on 'head charts', few had formal music education

Boogie Woogie

blues piano tradition. from southwest territory. developed in the environment of the barrelhouses, solo pianists developed a powerful style that could be heard over the crowd noise.

Count Basie's Band

john hammond helped them get a new recording contract with new record company Decca, interested in capitalizing on the swing craze

Listening: One O Clock Jump

written by Count Basie and Harry James, performed by Count Basie and his Orchestra, recorded by Decca. Orchestra's theme song. Excellent example of Kansas City band's relaxed but energetic rhythmic feel. flexible arrangements, improv

Structure of One O Clock Jump

heavy use of riffs and call and response patterns. succession of improvised jazz solos. Melody only appears in the next to last chorus

Edward Kennedy (Duke) Ellington

widely regarded as one of the most important American musicians of the 20th century. Born in DC, son of a navy blueprint maker. middle class background. received formal training.

The Washingtonians

Duke Ellington's first band, played syncopated dance music. 3 years later the band was heard by a song publisher and promoter named Irving Mills, arranged a recording contract for them.

Ellington Band at the Cotton Club

band had to accompany 'exotic' revues, developed a style called 'jungle music' characterized by dense textures, unusual harmonies. Stereotypical music of black culture provided the basis for a unique approach to arranging for the big band.

Ellington's Individual Approach to Writing

devised unusual musical forms, combined instruments in unusual ways, distinctive tone colors, extreme registers of instruments, dissonant chord voicings. Aided by the stability of his band, he wrote parts for specific musicians

Less Commercial Success for Ellington

well respected but less commercial success, his idiosyncratic approach meant that his band enjoyed less commercial success than more mainstream sounding dance orchestras

Listening: KoKo

music and arrangement by Ellington, 12 bar blues. Mood is not the typical happy upbeat feel, ensemble sound is dark and thickly textured

Glenn Miller

trombonist/bandleader. Miller Orchestra was the most popular dance band in the world, record breaking record sales and concert attendance. Songs are still popular with swing dancers, developed a peppy clean sounding style that appealed to small town mid-western people as well as to the big city. Led a military band, died in plane crash in WWII

Listening: In The Mood

performed by Glenn Miller and His Orchestra. number 1 on record charts for 12 weeks. best known recording of swing era, tune based on a short riff featured in the saxophones. 12 bar blues. famous improvised trumpet solo later became permanently written in music. 'Trick' ending, the band getting quieter and quieter exploding into a big finish

Mills Brothers

african American vocal harmony group. The most successful and longest-lived of the swing era vocal groups. Perfected a secular version of the African American jubilee quartet tradition. Their smooth jazz influenced style appealed to a broad audience. one of the 1st black musical groups to broadcast on network radio and score commercial success in mainstream pop

Listening: Paper Doll

performed by the mills brothers, their biggest hit record. Sold over 6 million copies. stayed on pop charts for 36 weeks, 12 at number 1. sophisticated vocal arrangement of a Tin Pan Alley long song

Decline of the Big Bands

the swing era lasted almost a decade, ending suddenly. 1946 top dance bands had either broken up or formed smaller more economical units, related to changes in music business as well as shifts in popular musical taste

Broadcast Music Incorporated (BMI)

allowed songwriters outside of Tin Pan Alley to collect royalties from the use of their songs in the broadcast media. Boosted country and western and rhythm and blues musicians.

ASCAP

feud with radio network over royalties. Called a strike withdrawing rights to broadcast any material composed by their members. Strike put many dance band musicians out of work

Country Music in the Swing Era

white southerners migrated in search of industrial employment, forming enclaves in urban centers and creating a new urban audience for hillbilly music. Country music also appears to have spread among many people who were not born in the south. Country music on the radio

Expansion of Country Music during The War

formation of BMI provided opportunities for country songwriters to publish their own compositions to receive royalties. American federation of musicians recording ban created more recording opportunities for hillbilly musicians, most of whom were not allowed to join the union, small independent record labels

Country Music's popularity during the war

themes of sentimentality, morality, and patriotism were prominent in hillbilly records.

Roy Claxton Acuff

most popular hillbilly singer of the swing era. Began his career with a traveling medicine show. Formed his own band Crazy Tennesseans. Performed in a style that was self consciously rooted in southern folk music. southern twang. fiddle, banjo, and guitar

Roy Claxton Acuff's rise to fame

due to the popularity of two songs that are still closely associated with him: Wabash Cannon Ball, Great Speckled Bird. Traditionalist, accepted only innovations that fit within the framework of musical traditions he knew from Tennessee

Listening: Great Speckled Bird

widely regarded as the national anthem of country and western music. Acuff's first hit record. Recorded in Chicago. Acuff's rendition crossed over to the mainstream pop charts reaching #13.

Lyrics to Great Speckled Bird

composed by a southern preacher. portray the church as an embattled group of individuals. The speckled bird is a metaphor for the church, a sign of God's word, and a vehicle for the salvation of the faithful

Traditional Ethos of Great Speckled Bird

one sourth of appeal to southern listeners. Acuff's straightforward unadorned vocal performance. Melody is similar to a song by the carter family, familiar to listeners. Strophic ballad pattern

The dobro

new version of the six string guitar. blunt edge of a steel knife is used to play melodic patterns, allowing the player to glide between pitches, interweaving with the singer's voice, called 'bottleneck guitar' - used in Great Speckled Bird

The Singing Cowboy

heroic image of the old cowhand adopted by many country musicians during the depression years. Many country singers wore cowboy hats and shirts and adopted nicknames such as Tex, Slim, Hank, or the Lone Cowboy

Gene Autry

1st successful singing cowboy. Born in texas. Musical career received a boost from regular appearances on The National Barn Dance, broadcast on radio from Chicago. Autry moved to hollywood and got a big part in a cowboy movie.

Sons of the Pioneers

originally a vocal trio at instigation of Len Slye who later left the group and became a film and tv star by name Roy Rodgers. Sang in many cowboy movies and represented the cosmopolitan end of western music. Specialized in sophisticated vocal harmonies, wrote their own songs composed by group member Bob Nolan

Songs by Sons of the Pioneers

Tumbling tumbleweeds, at the rainbows end, cool water.

Listening: Cool Water

written by Bob Nolan, performed by Son's of the Pioneers. Bestseller in the country music market. Reached 25. Features the trio's smooth, carefully rehearsed harmonies. Recording opens with the guitar and fiddle playing the hook of song

Structure of Cool Water

strophic, series of verses consisting of solo line sung by Nolan. Repeated chorus sung in unison. Example of musical craftsmanship, songwriting, arrangement, and studio recording are brought together with the imagery derived from Hollywood to create something that is more than just a song

Western Swing

blended the country string brand with blues and jazz. developed in Texas and accordingly reflected that state's diverse musical tradition

Bob Wills

seminal figure in the national popularization of western swing. A fiddler from East Texas. Raised in a family of fiddle players, played with several dance bands in the Southwest before forming his own group, the Texas Playboys.

The Texas Playboys

established itself in Tulsa Oklahoma. Making daily radio appearances, playing nightly in a local ballroom and going on tours of the 'southwest territories'. After being discharged from the army, relocated to Cali

Style of the Texas Playboys

southern string band music. Old fiddle tunes and other dance songs. Combined with elements from big band swing, including call and response riffs and instruments such as trumpets, saxophones and drum set

Listening: New San Antonio Rose

written by Bob Wills, performed by Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. Biggest hit, a country bestseller, #11. exemplifies the unique blend of stylistic elements achieved by Wills. AABA

Western Swing's Influence on Country

permanent influence. introduction of amplified steel guitar and drum set. Incorporated African American and Latin American influences. Live performances and improv instrumentals

Latin Music in the Swing Era

crucial period for the development of Latin music in the US. Latin Americans immigrated to NYC. Cuban musicians created novel fusions of African music. Led to rise of mambo, latin jazz, and salsa

Xavier Cugat

Rhumba King. bandleader who did the most to popularize latin music during the swing era. spanish born violinist, bandleader, film star, and unabashed showman. Band from Waldorf NY

Listening: Brazil

Written by Ary Barroso, performed by Xavier Cugat and his Waldorf Astoria Orchestra. most recorded songs of all time. Musical logic centered on 2 elements: repeated syncopated pattern hook, sweeping cinematic melody with ABCD form. Vitality of Afro-brazilian and composition of European

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