Recorded Music in American Life: The Phonograph and Popular Memory, 1890-1945 / Edition 1

Recorded Music in American Life: The Phonograph and Popular Memory, 1890-1945 / Edition 1

by William Howland Kenney
Pub. Date:
Oxford University Press, USA
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Recorded Music in American Life: The Phonograph and Popular Memory, 1890-1945 / Edition 1

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780195171778
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date: 11/28/2003
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 9.20(w) x 6.00(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Recorded Music and Collective Memoryxi
1Two "Circles of Resonance": Audience Uses of Recorded Music3
2"The Coney Island Crowd": The Phonograph and Popular Recordings before World War I23
3"His Master's Voice": The Victor Talking Machine Company and the Social Reconstruction of the Phonograph44
4The Phonograph and the Evolution of "Foreign" and "Ethnic" Records65
5The Gendered Phonograph: Women and Recorded Sound, 1890-193088
6African American Blues and the Phonograph: From Race Records to Rhythm and Blues109
7Economics and the Invention of Hillbilly Records in the South135
8A Renewed Flow of Memories: The Depression and the Struggle over "Hit Records"158
9Popular Recorded Music within the Context of National Life182

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