Segregating Sound: Inventing Folk and Pop Music in the Age of Jim Crow

Segregating Sound: Inventing Folk and Pop Music in the Age of Jim Crow

by Karl Hagstrom Miller
     
 

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ISBN-10: 0822347008

ISBN-13: 9780822347002

Pub. Date: 02/11/2010

Publisher: Duke University Press Books

In Segregating Sound, Karl Hagstrom Miller argues that the categories that we have inherited to think and talk about southern music bear little relation to the ways that southerners long played and heard music. Focusing on the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth, Miller chronicles how southern music—a fluid complex of sounds and styles in

Overview

In Segregating Sound, Karl Hagstrom Miller argues that the categories that we have inherited to think and talk about southern music bear little relation to the ways that southerners long played and heard music. Focusing on the late nineteenth century and the early twentieth, Miller chronicles how southern music—a fluid complex of sounds and styles in practice—was reduced to a series of distinct genres linked to particular racial and ethnic identities. The blues were African American. Rural white southerners played country music. By the 1920s, these depictions were touted in folk song collections and the catalogs of “race” and “hillbilly” records produced by the phonograph industry. Such links among race, region, and music were new. Black and white artists alike had played not only blues, ballads, ragtime, and string band music, but also nationally popular sentimental ballads, minstrel songs, Tin Pan Alley tunes, and Broadway hits.

In a cultural history filled with musicians, listeners, scholars, and business people, Miller describes how folklore studies and the music industry helped to create a “musical color line,” a cultural parallel to the physical color line that came to define the Jim Crow South. Segregated sound emerged slowly through the interactions of southern and northern musicians, record companies that sought to penetrate new markets across the South and the globe, and academic folklorists who attempted to tap southern music for evidence about the history of human civilization. Contending that people’s musical worlds were defined less by who they were than by the music that they heard, Miller challenges assumptions about the relation of race, music, and the market.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822347002
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
02/11/2010
Series:
Refiguring American Music
Pages:
384
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments VII

Introduction 1

1 Tin Pan Alley on tour 23

The Southern Embrace of Commercial Music

2 Making Money Making Music 51

The Education of Southern Musicians in Local Markets

3 Isolating Folk, Isolating Songs 85

Reimagining Southern Music as Folklore

4 Southern Musicians and the Lure of New York City 121

Representing the South from Coon Songs to the Blues

5 Talking Machine World 157

Discovering Local Music in the Global Phonograph Industry

6 Race Records and old-time Music 187

The Creation of Two Marketing Categories in the 1920s

7 Black Folk and Hillbilly Pop 215

Industry Enforcement of the Musical Color Line

8 Reimagining Pop Tunes as Folk Songs 241

The Ascension of the Folkloric Paradigm

Afterword "All Songs is Folk Songs" 275

Notes 283

Bibliography 327

Index 351

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