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Lec 3 - Sept 25:2012.docx

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Joshua Pilzer

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 Early Popular Music Industry  Importance of newness  Accessibility via mass production and mass media (emergence of popular music = emergence of mass media) Music Publishing 1710 (Britain):  First copyright law Late 1700s:  Composers begin to make living by sale of sheet music  mass mediation o i.e. Beck releases his new music as a book of sheet music as opposed to a recording  European mass-production and sale of pianos; salon culture o Element of participation – the music may have been mass produced and circulated, but you have to make it yourself at home  1842:  First International music copyright law After 1850:  North American sales of classical scores  *Industrial song production / publishing industry takes off in US Late 1800s:  Centralization of music publishing in Tin Pan Alley (NYC) o Many things begin to have their production centred in NYC Minstrel Shows  Origins in 1830s  Peaks in years surrounding the Civil War  Lasts into the 1910s  Supplanted by Vaudville (turn of the century)  NY Many principal composers of early popular song Audience  Urban (prominence of NY)  Country-to-city migrants  European immigrants *Blackface – racist caricatures  White people in drag as African Americans performing caricatures of African American culture and music  The role of the blackface performer (one who parodies African American cultural forms and life) becomes an established role that then African Americans themselves can step into  Instruments: o Banjo played backwards o Fiddle o „Bones‟ (percussion) o Tambourine  Racist caricature of Af. Am.‟s has transformed over time – some of these things look archaic: o Banjo is generally seen as a „white‟ instrument now; stereotypically an Af. Am. instrument, then being adopted by white people o Fiddle is associated with Ireland, the British Isles (folk music); NA with „white folk music‟ or classical music o Well-establish tradition of Af. Am. fiddlers and violinists o Idea being that the things being caricatured in Minstrel times are not so much in existence anymore; these shows are important because they‟re part of the history of early travelling musicians and have a kind of system of music circulation, yet they‟re circulating parodies of Af. Am. music and life – consequences for the whole shape of popular music  Thus led to the mainstream appropriation of African American music  Core audience of Minstrelsy is the United States and Canada o Became a convenient way of selling products (Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben)  why? Focus on the domestic, basic food material, down-home aspect, sentimentality, quaintness, rural aura adhering to these things  *Audience: A kind of white, urban nostalgia (for a rural past) o Europeans: imagining a new kind of blackness to make a new kind of whiteness o “Perfect blackness” – by laughing at this image, that laughing creates a new sense of whiteness o Literal way that people could become considered a part of popular culture by parodying minority culture – through parodying, minority culture is created and thus popular culture is created  Romanticized, preindustrial slave o Jim Crow – romanticized vision of a post-emancipation African American who is still basically content to do rural kinds of work o Nostalgia for this kind of rural past that people have left behind o JC picture – circulated on sheet music, therefore disseminating the image  “Zip Coon” – emancipated African Americans with pretentions of American civilization o Minstrelsy audience being the industrialized, working class – as the middle class grows in the US and has more of a say in terms of popular entertainment (transition from Minstrelsy to Vaudeville), they begin to want more of this „sophisticated entertainment‟ (racist parodying) o Song that talks about how Zip Coon has aspirations to become the president of the US – song for „white people‟ to say “we have a civilization” and if blacks were to „put on the clothes‟ of white civilization, they‟re merely making a mockery o Stereotypical view of Af. Am.'s playing violins is not around anymore o Fiddle, guitar, lead vocal
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