The American Popular Ballad of the Golden Era, 1924-1950: A Study in Musical Design

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Overview

In this pathbreaking book, Allen Forte uses modern analytical procedures to explore the large repertoire of beautiful love songs written during the heyday of American musical theater, the Big Bands, and Tin Pan Alley. Covering the work of such songwriters as Jerome Kern, Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Richard Rodgers, and Harold Arlen, he seeks to illuminate this extraordinary music indigenous to America by revealing its deeper organizational characteristics. In so doing, he aims to establish it as a unique corpus of music that deserves more intensive study and appreciation by scholars and connoisseurs in the broader fields of American popular music and jazz.

Expressing much of the traditional tonality associated with European music in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the love songs of the Golden Age are shown to draw on a rich variety of elements--popular harmony, idiomatic lyric-writing, and Afro-American dance rhythms. His analyses of such songs as "Embraceable You" or "Yesterdays" in particular exemplify his ability to convey the sublime, unpretentious simplicity of this great music.

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Editorial Reviews

The Times Literary Supplement
He brings the technique to bear on American popular ballads of the 'Golden Age.'... The book is brilliantly planned and ... elegantly written.
From the Publisher
Co-Winner of the 1997 Wallace Berry Distinguished Book Award, Society for Music Theory

"He brings the technique to bear on American popular ballads of the 'Golden Age.'... The book is brilliantly planned and ... elegantly written."—The Times Literary Supplement

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691043999
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 10/16/1995
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 7.33 (w) x 10.31 (h) x 1.29 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 Introduction 3
2 The Harmonic Language of the Popular Ballad 6
3 Rhythmic Features of the Popular Ballad 18
4 Melodic Design: Descriptive Categories 24
5 The Lyric: Its Qualities and Melodic Roles 28
6 Form: Nomenclature and Templates 36
7 The Large-Scale View: A Primer 42
8 Ballads of Jerome Kern 52
9 Ballads of Irving Berlin 86
10 Ballads of Cole Porter 117
11 Ballads of George Gershwin 147
12 Ballads of Richard Rodgers 177
13 Ballads of Harold Arlen 209
14 Ballads of Richard Whiting, Walter Donaldson, Harry Warren, Jimmy McHugh, Vincent Youmans, Duke Ellington, and Kurt Weill 237
15 Ballads of Hoagy Carmichael, Arthur Schwartz, Vernon Duke, John Green, Burton Lane, and Jimmy Van Heusen 275
16 Ballads of Kay Swift, Bernice Petkere, Ann Ronell, Dana Suesse, and Ruth Lowe 310
17 Concluding Reflections 331
Notes 337
Bibliography 349
Copyright Credits 351
Index 359
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