Study Unit Progress

Ch. 03: Popular Music in its Infancy (Demo)

Between the composed and cultivated classical art music which was created for the elite upper class and the earthy and functional folk music which was crafted by the people in the lower class was a third category which, at times, blended elements of classical and folk into its own path: popular music.

If classical was music for the elite and folk music was music by the peoplepopular music can simply be defined as music created for the people.

The original printed popular songs in Britain were ballads which found their way onto single sheets containing just the lyrics (called “broadsides”) or collections containing both words and music (called “songsters”). These ballads were refined folk song stories which had been transcribed into music and sold to the public. Often dozens, even hundreds of variations on one folk ballads existed, which only helped to build the market demand for the most current broadside sheet or songster collection.

However, in early 18th century America, the printing presses were controlled by the religious community, which limited the type of music and songs being printed to proper hymns and sacred music. By the 1760s, when the first music store started in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, it stocked a variety of musical instruments as well as the availability of printed American popular ballads or story songs.

In the early 19th century, the musical difference between American cultivated music and American composed ballads was slight. American composers of “serious” music were modeling, borrowing and openly copying from their European counterparts, such as Mozart and Beethoven. At the same time, the writers of popular song ballads were also patterning their efforts after the more respected European musical literature.

Early in the 1800s, however, the split between the fine-art classical music and the vernacular popular music began to grow. Popular music, like folk music, was utilitarian in nature, for the purpose of entertainment. It was un-selfconscious, unpretentious and openly sentimental. Art music, on the other hand, was concerned with maintaining a cultural piety and sophistication which elevated the listening experience from mere entertainment to the level of esoteric experientialism. Popular music was designed to appeal to the most base elements of the masses. Art music invariably drew a distinction between those who appreciated Beethoven from those who appreciated bratwurst. During the course of the century, composed American music moved from one broad style of popular/art music to two very distinct genres a universe apart.

By the 1820s and ’30s, popular song in America was evolving into overly sentimental ballad songs with syrupy melodies and lyrics capable of wringing the hearts of growing middle class audiences in music halls. These audiences, more refined than the backwoods folk singers and less snobbish than the elite upper class, were finding the balance in saccharine songs like “Woodsman, Spare That Tree” and “The Lament of the Blind Orphan Girl.”

Aiding in the popularity of these songs was the availability of printed sheet music and the affordability of mass produced instruments – most importantly, the piano. For the first time, the public could buy a single printed copy of the lyrics and music for a song. Armed with the sheet music to the songs they had heard in the concert halls, the middle class could retire to their parlors to perform the songs on their pianos for family and friends. For this reason, these sheet music songs were called “parlor songs.” For this reason, the rise of the sheet music industry in the 1830s was the formal beginning of the modern American popular music era. But the first great American popular songwriter was still a decade from penning the first great American popular song.

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    Study Units

    An Overview

    Ch. 1: Understanding Pitch

    Ch. 2: Understanding Musical Pulse

    Ch. 3: Understanding Volume

    Ch. 4: Understanding Tone

    Ch. 5: Understanding Melody

    Ch. 6: Understanding Harmony

    Ch. 7: Understanding Rhythm

    Ch. 8: Understanding Bass

    Ch. 9: Understanding Countermelody

    Ch. 10: Understanding Structure

    Ch. 11: Understanding Instrumentation

    Ch. 12: Understanding Tempo

    An Overview

    Ch. 1: 19th Century: Pre-Foster

    Ch. 2: Folk Music by the People

    Ch. 3: Popular Music in its Infancy

    Ch. 4: Stephen Foster – “Father of American Popular Music”

    Ch. 5: The Importance of Stephen Foster

    Ch. 6: Scott Joplin – “King of Ragtime”

    Ch. 7: The Player Piano – Automated Music

    Ch. 8: John Philip Sousa – “The March King”

    Ch. 9: John Philip Sousa – Recording Artist and Activist

    An Overview

    Ch. 1: John Lomax – Recording American Roots Music

    Ch. 2: Woody Guthrie – “Father of Modern American Folk Music”

    Ch. 3: Leadbelly & Pete Seeger: End of the First Wave

    Ch. 4: The Kingston Trio – Beginning of the Second Wave

    Ch. 5: Joan Baez – “First Lady of Folk Music”

    Ch. 6: Peter, Paul & Mary – Balancing the Message

    Ch. 7: Robert Zimmerman – The Beginning of an American Icon

    Ch. 8: Dylan in New York City

    Ch. 9: Dylan after Newport

    Ch. 10: The Importance of Dylan

    Ch. 11: Folk Music in the 21st Century

    An Overview

    Ch. 1: The Roots of Country

    Ch. 2: Bristol Beginnings

    Ch. 3: The Grand Ole Opry

    Ch. 4: Cowboys and the Movies

    Ch. 5: Western Swing

    Ch. 6: Bluegrass: Hillbilly on Caffeine

    Ch. 7: Honky-tonk: Merging Two into One

    Ch. 8: The Nashville Sound: Country-Pop

    Ch. 9: Rockabilly – Country meets R&B

    Ch. 10: Country Feminists Find Their Voice

    Ch. 11: The Bakersfield Sound

    Ch. 12: Austin “Outlaw” Country

    Ch. 13: Neo-Traditionalists at the end of the 20th Century

    Ch. 14: Mainstreaming Country in the ‘90s

    Ch. 15: Redesigning Country in the 21st Century

    An Overview

    Ch. 1: What is Jazz?

    Ch. 2: Before It Was Jazz

    Ch. 3: Jazz is Born!

    Ch. 4: Early Jazz Musicians

    Ch. 5: Louis Armstrong

    Ch. 6: Chicago and Harlem – Hub of 1920s Jazz

    Ch. 7: Big Band – Jazz Swing!

    Ch. 8: Big Band Musicians and Singers

    Ch. 9: Jump Blues and Bop

    Ch. 10: Cool Jazz

    Ch. 11: Hard Bop

    Ch. 12: Free Jazz – Breaking the Rules

    Ch. 13: Fusion – The Jazz-Rock-Funk Experience

    Ch. 14: Third Stream and World Jazz

    Ch. 15: New Age & Smooth Jazz

    Ch. 16: Summary – Jazz Lives!

    An Overview

    Ch. 1: Blues – The Granddaddy of American Popular Music

    Ch. 2: Where Did the Blues Come From?

    Ch. 3: What Are the Blues?

    Ch. 4: How to Build the Blues

    Ch. 5: Classic Blues – The Early Years

    Ch. 6: Delta Blues – Authentic Beginnings

    Ch. 7: Blues in the City – Migration and Power

    Ch. 8: Blues in Britain – Redefining the Masters

    Ch. 9: Contemporary Blues – Maturity and Respect

    Ch. 10: The Relevancy of the Blues Today

    Ch. 1: Timelines, Cultures & Technology

    Ch. 2: Pre-Rock Influences

    Ch. 3: Rock is Born!

    Ch. 4: Rock is Named

    Ch. 5: Doo-Wop

    Ch. 6: Independent Record Labels

    Ch. 7: Technology Shapes Rock ‘n’ Roll

    Ch. 8: The Plan to Mainstream Rock ‘n’ Roll

    Ch. 9: Payola – Rock ‘n’ Roll’s First Scandal

    Ch. 1: Crafting Sound in the Studio/Producers and Hit Songs

    Ch. 2: West Coast Sound: Beach, Surf, and Teens

    Ch. 3: The British Invasion: Two Prongs – Pop & Blues

    Ch. 4: Motown and the Development of a Black Pop-Rock Sound

    Ch. 5: Soul Music: Gospel and R&B in the Deep South

    Ch. 6: The Sounds of Bubble Gum Pop-Rock

    Ch. 7: The Arrival of Folk-Rock

    Ch. 8: Psychedelic Rock ‘n’ Roll

    Ch. 9: Early Guitar Gods of Rock

    Ch. 10: Rock Festivals: The Rise and Fall of Music, Peace, and Love

    Ch. 11: Anti-Woodstock and Shock Rock Movements

    Ch. 1: Technological Breakthroughs

    Ch. 2: Electronic Dance Music

    Ch. 3: Hip-Hop & Rap – An Introduction

    Ch. 4: The Beginnings of Rap

    Ch. 5: Old School Rap – Up From the Streets

    Ch. 6: Rap’s Golden Age

    Ch. 7: East Coast – Political Rap

    Ch. 8: West Coast – Gangsta Rap

    Ch. 9: The Fragmentation of Rap – Pop, Party & More

    Ch. 10: Further Fragmentation – Different Directions

    Ch. 11: The Importance of Rap

    Ch. 1: Musical Stage Productions in America before the 1800s

    Ch. 2: Minstrel Shows and Melodramas

    Ch. 3: Stage Presentations in the Late 19th Century

    Ch. 4: Early 20th Century: Revues and Operettas

    Ch. 5: The Arrival of the Modern American Musical

    Ch. 6: Great Partnerships in Book-Musicals

    Ch. 7: Musical Theatre Composers in the mid-Century

    Ch. 8: Fresh Voices on the Stage in the 1960s

    Ch. 9: Two Dominant Forces at the End of the Century

    Ch. 10: New Voices at the End of the Century

    Ch. 11: New Voices, New Sounds in the New Century

    Ch. 12: Musical Theatre Glossary

    Ch. 13: Is it “Theatre” or “Theater”?

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