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20th Century American Music The 1950s

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1 20th Century American Music The 1950s
E.J. Russell Elementary School 5th Grade Music Mrs. Sandor

2 LAUNDRY LIST 1. Melody 2. Harmony 3. Rhythm 4. Form 5. Style 6. Mood 7. Timbre: Instrumentation / Vocal 8. Tempo 9. Dynamics Elements of Music

3 LAUNDRY LIST Melody: A logical succession of musical tones, also called the tune. Harmony: Combination of musical notes sounded at the same time. Rhythm: The patterns of sounds & silences. Form: The overall plan of a piece of music.

4 LAUNDRY LIST Style: unique way in which the elements of melody, rhythm, timbre, texture, harmony and form are handled to create a special “sound.” Mood: state of mind or emotion that is relayed in composed music. Timbre: Tone color, the unique quality produced by a voice or instrument. Tempo: Speed of beat Form: The structure of a musical composition.

5 LAUNDRY LIST Dynamics: The volume of sound, the loudness, or softness of a musical passage; intensity, power.

6 1950s - FACTS The United States was the leading military power after World War II. Americans rejoiced that the economic challenges of the 1930s and 1940s were over. The population boomed as families left the cities for new suburban housing. Source: Silver Burdett Making Music, pg. 356

7 1950s - CONFLICTS The 1950s were also marked by strife, however. American troops were sent to Korea to fight communism. African Americans protested against racial segregation in schools and businesses. Scientists and politicians scrambled to catch up to Russian advances in space technology. Source: Silver Burdett Making Music, pg. 356

8 1950s - CONFLICTS Clashes between communism and capitalism dominated the decade, especially in the Northern Hemisphere. The Vietnam War began in 1959. Source:

9 1950s - CONFLICTS The foundations for the dynamic social changes of the 1960s began in the 1950s. During the 1950s, American education underwent dramatic changes. The Brown vs. Board of Education lawsuit was started in 1951 in Kansas. The parents of the African American children thought that their school was not treated fairly because they were African Americans. They did not have the most current textbooks, not enough school supplies, and overcrowded classrooms. Sources: Silver Burdett Making Music, pg. 356, and J /brown_v__board_of_education.htm

10 1950s - CONFLICTS After three long years the case finally ended on May 17, 1954 with the court finding in favor of Linda Brown and the other African American children like her. The Supreme Court said that it was not fair to have African American and Caucasian students separated in different schools. Sources: Silver Burdett Making Music, pg. 356, and J /brown_v__board_of_education.htm

11 1950s - FACTS The television became a fixture in households during the 1950. Average Salary: $2,992 (compared with $1,299 in the 1940s.) Source: Silver Burdett Making Music, pg. 356 and

12 1950s - FACTS In the 1950s, the Life expectancy (how long people were expected to live) was 65.6 years for men, and 71.1 years for women. (To compare, in 2010, the life expectancy for women is 81.1, and 76.2 for men). Source: American Cultural History, Lonestar College

13 1950s - POLITICS 12 nations agree to the creation of North Atlantic Treaty Organization / NATO for the defense of the United States and Europe. Source:

14 1950s - LEISURE In the 1950s, Americans enjoyed an increased choice of leisure time activities. The 1950’s also saw the rise of 'fast food' restaurants and drive-ins (Jack in the Box - founded in 1951; McDonalds – the first franchise was in 1955 in Des Plaines, IL; and A&W Root Beer Company - formed in 1950. Source:

15 1950s – ROCK ‘N ROLL Rock 'n' roll first appeared on the pop music charts in the mid-1950s. Early rock songs were often new arrangements of existing music. For example, Elvis Presley's first single, "That's All Right," was a blues song played at a fast tempo. Source: Silver Burdett Making Music, pg. 356

16 1950s – ROCK ‘N ROLL Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and Buddy Holly were some of rock's first star performers. Their hits contained elements of rhythm and blues (R&B), country, and gospel music. Source: Silver Burdett Making Music, pg. 356

17 1950s – FAMOUS ROCKERS Many artists became known for their onstage antics as well. Little Richard wore makeup and sequined vests. Chuck Berry “duck walked" across the stage. Elvis shook his hips. Rock music spoke to teenagers, and their frenzied reaction created a youth market that is still courted by today's record companies. Source: Silver Burdett Making Music, pg. 356

18 1950s – FAMOUS ROCKERS Johnny Cash was the first Southern rocker. who combined country with rock. Ritchie Valens was a Mexican-American singer, songwriter and guitarist. He was the pioneer of the Spanish-speaking rock and roll movement. “La Bamba” is one of his hits. He died in an airplane accident with Buddy Holly and the “Big Bopper”. Source:

19 1950s – FAMOUS ROCKERS Elvis Presley Little Richard Chuck Berry

20 1950s – FAMOUS ROCKERS The Big Bopper Ritchie Valens Johnny Cash
Source: Various,

21 1950s – FAMOUS ROCKERS Buddy Holly & The Crickets Fats Domino

22 1950s – DANCE Dance underwent major changes in the 1950’s. Martha Graham is an American modern dancer and choreographer “whose influence on dance has been compared with the influence Picasso had on modern visual arts, Stravinsky had on music, or Frank Lloyd Wright had on architecture.” Source: "Martha Graham: About the Dancer". American Masters. NPR. September 16, and

23 1950s – DANCE Alvin Ailey created the “American Dance Theatre” which featured all African American casts and dance styles that were culturally based and truly American in style. Dance crazes were also common from 1950 – Popular dances in the 1950s included "The Swim", the "Mashed Potato", "The Twist", and "The Frug." Source:

24 1950s – TV & MOVIES During the 1950s, television became the dominant mass media as more people brought television into their homes. Along with TVs came TV dinners! In the late 1950s, drive-in theaters grew to a peak number of over 4,000 outdoor screens. Source:

25 1950s – TV & MOVIES Teenagers started watching more and more TV (this has not changed over the years.) Popular shows - I Love Lucy, Honeymooners, Father Knows Best, Lassie, and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet – introduced characters and families that looked like ideal families. Many people believed that was how most families were. Source:

26 1950s – TV & MOVIES The 1950s also introduced “Variety Shows” that offered a mixture of talent and skits. The Ed Sullivan Show was famous for introducing rising music stars. Americans also enjoyed daily soap operas such as The Guiding Light. Source:

27 1950s – AMERICAN BANDSTAND What we came to know as “American Bandstand” with Dick Clark first began as a local program for teens on WFIL-TV in Philadelphia in early October, 1952 called Bandstand. With Dick Clark, the “American Bandstand” was aired nationally, and became a venue for rock groups and individuals to perform. Source:

Dick Clark in 1955 and He passed away this year. Source:

29 1950s – POPULAR MOVIES •Cinderella (1950) •Alice in Wonderland (1951)
Peter Pan (1953) Lady and the Tramp (1955) Sleeping Beauty (1959) Old Yeller (1957) Around the World in Eighty Days (1956) The King and I (1956) Source:

30 1950s – MUSICALS Musicals were an important and popular component to the American theater scene in the 1950s. Rogers and Hammerstein produced Carousel, Oklahoma!, South Pacific, The King and I, Flower Drum Song, and The Sound of Music. Source:

31 1950s – MUSICALS Lerner and Loewe created two popular Broadway musicals during the 1950s - Paint Your Wagon and My Fair Lady. Other famous musicals included: Guys and Dolls, Wonderful Town, Kismet, The Pajama Game, Peter Pan, The Music Man, and West Side Story. Source:

32 1950s - FASHION 1950’s fashion trends were clean, classic and conservative. These included Single- or dual-piece dresses adorned with small collars; circle or poodle skirts, prom-style evening dresses, and button-up sweaters. Rock ‘n Roll brought teenagers their own style for the first time – jeans, for example. Leather jackets became a huge rage, thanks to Elvis. Sources:

33 1950s - FASHION New fabrics invented: · Acrylic (1950)
· Polyester (1953) · Spandex (1959) Source:

34 1950s – HAIR STYLES Longer Women’s Hair Elvis Presley
Source: Various

35 1950s – FASHION Saddle Shoes Poodle Skirts Cat eye glasses

36 1950s – FASHION Source

37 1950s – MEN’S FASHION Men’s clothing during the 1950s was generally very conservative and traditional. Mens’ Suit Source:

38 1950s - CARS Powerful, stylish and packed with features the classic cars of the 1950s were a product of the quickly evolving motor industry. 1955 Lincoln 1950s automobiles were characterized by chrome, fins, huge engines and white wall tires. Source:

39 1950s – HOT RODS The 1950s was the golden age of “hot rods”. Drivers would modify older, less effective and slower cars. 1950 Mercury A popular magazine of the time was the “Hot Rod” magazine. Source:

40 1950s - AVIATION During the 1950s the first turbo-propeller airliners ('prop-jets' in the USA) were introduced followed shortly by the first jet airliners. Charles A. Lindbergh carved a place in Aviation history when he flew a tiny plane, "The Spirit of St Louis", from Long Island to Paris in 1927, to create the first non-stop solo transatlantic flight. Source:

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