Have records, compact discs, and other sound reproduction equipment merely provided American listeners with pleasant diversions, or have more important historical and cultural influences flowed through them? Do recording machines simply capture what's already out there, or is the music somehow transformed in the process of documentation and dissemination? How would our lives be different without these machines? Such questions arise when we stop taking for granted both the phenomenon of recorded music and the phonograph itself.
In Recorded Music in American Life, historian and musician William Howland Kenney examines the interplay between recorded music and the key social, political, and economic forces in America during the phonograph's rise and fall as the dominant medium of popular recorded sound. He addresses such vital issues as the place of multiculturalism in the phonograph's history, the roles of women as record-player listeners and performers, the belated commercial legitimacy of rhythm-and-blues recordings, the "hit record" phenomenon in the wake of the Great Depression, the origins of the rock-and-roll revolution, and the shifting place of popular recorded music in America's personal and cultural memories. Kenney convincingly argues that the phonograph and the recording industry served neither to impose a preference for high culture nor a degraded popular taste, but rather expressed a diverse set of sensibilities whereby people from every social strata found a new kind of pleasure. Students and scholars of American music, culture, commerce, and history -- as well as fans and collectors interested in this phase of our nation's rich artistic past -- will find a great deal of thorough research and fresh scholarship to enjoy in these pages.
|Publisher:||Oxford University Press, USA|
|Edition description:||New Edition|
|Product dimensions:||9.20(w) x 6.00(h) x 0.80(d)|
Table of Contents
|Introduction: Recorded Music and Collective Memory||xi|
|1||Two "Circles of Resonance": Audience Uses of Recorded Music||3|
|2||"The Coney Island Crowd": The Phonograph and Popular Recordings before World War I||23|
|3||"His Master's Voice": The Victor Talking Machine Company and the Social Reconstruction of the Phonograph||44|
|4||The Phonograph and the Evolution of "Foreign" and "Ethnic" Records||65|
|5||The Gendered Phonograph: Women and Recorded Sound, 1890-1930||88|
|6||African American Blues and the Phonograph: From Race Records to Rhythm and Blues||109|
|7||Economics and the Invention of Hillbilly Records in the South||135|
|8||A Renewed Flow of Memories: The Depression and the Struggle over "Hit Records"||158|
|9||Popular Recorded Music within the Context of National Life||182|