Presentation on theme: "The Beginnings of American Popular Music"— Presentation transcript:
1The Beginnings of American Popular Music Chapter 2The Beginnings of American Popular Music
2Sources of Popular Music African InfluencesNo hard evidence of music of slaves in the U.S. during the early 19th century.Comparing field recordings of African folk musicians to musicians of African descent living in New World show strong connections: Cubans singing in old Yoruba (Nigeria) dialect and Mississippi bluesman sounding like one from Senegal.
3African Roots “Song for Odudua” Prominent percussionComplex rhythms – constant syncopationsCall and Response – exchange between leader and groupMelody built on African pentatonic scaleSyncopation: accents that come between the beats of a regular rhythm rather than with them.
4From Senegal to Mississippi “Louisiana”/Field SongSimilarity in vocal styling between Henry Ratcliff, a Mississippi prison inmate, with a fieldworker in SenegalVocal timbre: basic sound and inflection of the voiceMelodic shapeRhythmic FreedomMelody built on pentatonic scaleUse of melismas: several notes sung to a single syllable
5Reconstructing a Heritage During the 20th Century, we hear prominent African- derived musical features in pop musicYoruba chorus/”Ladies Night”Dense, syncopated rhythmsMelismas in vocalsLayered texture made up of voice, percussion, and pitched instruments
6Reconstructing a Heritage, cont. Popular Music musical traits derived from African roots:Unvarying beat or other regular rhythmSeveral layers of rhythmic activity/syncopation/rhythmic conflictPercussion instruments and percussive techniquesRiff-like melodic ideasLayered textures
7Folk Music from the British Isles Folk Song from the British Isles“Barbara Allen” (1936)Ballad: simple song with a lyric that tells a storySimple four-phrase melodyAnglo-American pentatonic scaleStrophic: different words sung to same melodyImportant points: storytelling song, telling a “real” story, strophic form (leads to verse/chorus form), unpolished but effective vocal style.
8Folk Music from the British Isles, cont. Anglo-American Folk Dance“Old Joe Clark” (1927)Down-home, good-humoredStory told in everyday languageMelody set to danceable beatRough, untrained singing voiceVerse/chorus form
9Folk Music from the British Isles, cont. Upper- and Middle-Class European Music“Casta Diva” from Norma (1831)Aria from an operaSimple arpeggiated accompanimentFlorid, wide-ranging vocals“Woodsman, Spare That Tree” (1837)Simpler than “Casta Diva”, but unfolds similarlyStyle leads to use of chords/chord progressions, melody/accompaniment texture, form in which phrases coalesce into larger formal unitsMany of the instruments will be used in pop music: piano, several wind/brass instruments, violins, acoustic bass
10American Popular Music: From Sources to Synthesis Differences between African and European:URBAN EUROPEAN:Chord instrument (piano) is only instrumentChordal harmonyLong, flowing melodiesGentle rhythmic beat keeping, no syncopationWEST AFRICAN:Several percussion instruments (including handclaps); also plucked instrumentsNo chordsShort melodic phrases ending in long notesStrong rhythmic feelPrevalent syncopation in drum parts
11Popular Song in the Mid-19th Century Stephen Foster and the Parlor SongThe Early Minstrel ShowSocial Acceptance and Synthesis
12Stephen Foster and the Parlor Song Parlor song: resemble art songs of classical music, but more modest in their expressive range and musical requirementsTold sentimental stories, set to simple melodies with modest accompanimentMeant to be played in the “parlor” of the home.
13Stephen Foster and the Parlor Song, cont. Most important songwriter in the 19th century American popular musicVersitile and skillful, his songs were well-written and often inspiring and innovative“Oh, Susanna!”, “Camptown Ladies”, “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair”
14Stephen Foster and the Parlor Song, cont. “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair”Style: Parlor SongForm: AA1BA2Long flowing lines, ending in clearly punctuated phrasesSentimental textSongs for home useIrish connection – British Isles – pentatonic scaleBeautiful melody
15The Early Minstrel Show Def.: A form of stage entertainment distinguished by cruel parodies of African Americans.Early 1840’s to end of 19th century.Lacked consistent form and evolved quickly.Crowds were often rowdy (rock concerts/soccer-match hooligans)Loosely structured:At least three minstrels: the interlocutor and two endmen, “Tambo and Bones” (one played tambourine, one played bones)Troupe sat in semicircle with interlocutor in middle and endmen at either side.No plot or storyline, though there were stock routines and charactersInterlocutor spoke with proper diction, rich vocabularyEndmen spoke in caricature of African American speech.Interlocutor controlled the pace of show.Grew out of blackface entertainment of late 1820’s and 1830’s.Two stock characters: city slicker Zip Coon and country bumpkin Jim Crow
16The Early Minstrel Show, cont. Show evolved into three parts:Highly ritualized material w/pop parlor songsOlio: (from Sp “olla” for stew) variety portion w/wide range of acts from novelty acts to burlesques (humorous parodies) of cultured material (Shakespeare, etc.)Walkaround: entire troupe in grand finale of song and dance
17The Early Minstrel Show, cont. “De Boatmen’s Dance” (1843)Dan EmmettWritten for Virginia Minstrels show in 1843Similar to “Old Joe Clark”Unison: more than one voice or instrument playing the same melodic part
18The Early Minstrel Show, cont. Black Faces and Black SoundsBones and tambourine formed proto “rhythm section”Song “Zip Coon” became the fiddle tune “Turkey in the Straw”Majority of minstrel performers had only incidental contact with the African Americans whom they supposedly portrayedAfter Civil War, white minstrels “did not capture the quality of African American music making…show evolved away from traditional minstrelsy”
19Routes to Popularity: Written and Oral Traditions In mid 19th century, two outlets for minstrel show songs were sheet music and live performanceMany of the melodies were so simple, audience members could simply remember themTo take advantage of this, publishers put out songters: books with just the lyrics to popular songs of the day“Camptown Ladies” : original sheet music vs. contemporary version
20Social Acceptance and Synthesis Most “respectable” people felt minstrel show to be low- class entertainment, though some still wentFoster created new genre – “plantation song” – brought sentimentality of middle-class song into rough world of minstrel show and ended up with a more human portrayal of blacks.
21Popular Entertainment after the Civil War Tin Pan AlleyArea of New York City where music publishing house song pluggers, house pianists playing pieces for pro singers or possible customers, could be heardIn 1890, Gussie Davis – first black songwriter to achieve songwriting success in Tin Pan Alley“After the Ball” (1892) first big Tin Pan Alley hit – sold more than 5 million sheet music copies.
22Popular Entertainment after the Civil War, cont. Waltz songs: songs popular around 1900 in which a flowing melody is supported by a simple, waltz-time accompaniment“Take Me Out to the Ballgame” (1908)Waltz time = OOM-pah-pah
23Popular Entertainment after the Civil War, cont. Stage EntertaimentVaudeville: variety show.Singers, dancers, comics, acrobats, magicians, jullgers, etc.No dramatic unityOperetta: Originally a kind of European musical drama that was less serious than opera, with more speech instead of singing between songs, but with more dramatic integrity than musical comedy. Generally a fariy-tale type story. Show Boat began American operetta tradition.
24Popular Entertainment after the Civil War, cont. Revue: topical, upbeat, aimed at the masses, full of comedy, song, and danceInterpolation: plot of musical comedy was adapted to include a currently popular songPatriotic Songs: “Yankee Doodle Boy”, George M. Cohan (1904)Energy of a march, vigorous melody, hint of syncopation, clever lyrics without trace of sentimentality
25The Concert Band Instrumental ensemble In an era w/out TV, radio, etc., touring bands and municipal bands were found in almost every townPrimary source of musical entertainmentBroad range of music – from classical to current pop songs and marchesJOHN PHILIP SOUSA ( )Gave over 10,000 concerts in U.S. and Europe.composed 136 marches, 15 operettas, 70 songs and many other pieces“The Stars and Stripes Forever” (1897)
26Looking Back, Looking Ahead The infusion of rhythm into pop musicDance rhythms innovation of minstrel show music; by end of century in almost all kinds of musicImpact of “low-brow” stylesImpetus for change comes from more marginalized segments of American society: rural folk traditions, white and black, at mid-century, then African American traditions at end of centuryInnovation through synthesisInnovation mainly a matter of integrating diverse, even contradictory, musical elements into a new sound: the minstrel show song and Foster’s plantation songs evidence this trend.Increased role of blacksPresence of African Americans in pop music industry (post Civil War) continues during later part of 19th century. Blacks being breaking into genres other than minstrelsy around 1900
27Terms to Know Call and response Unison Melisma Songster Ballad Song pluggerStrophicTin Pan AlleyParlor songWaltz songMinstrel showVaudevilleInterlocutorOperettaTambo and BonesRevueEndmenInterpolationOlioPatriotic songBurlesqueConcert bandWalkaroundMarch trioCakewalk