Recorded Music in American Life by William Howland Kenney
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Recorded Music in American Life
By William Howland Kenney

Recorded Music in American Life

The Phonograph and Popular Memory, 1890-1945

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Format: Paperback

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Recorded Music in American Life by William Howland Kenney

Book Description

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 dual process of documentation and dissemination? How would our lives be different without these machines? Such are the questions that arise when we stop taking for granted the phenomenon of recorded music and the phonograph itself. Now comes an in-depth cultural history of the phonograph in the United States from 1890 to 1945. William Howland Kenney offers a full account of what he calls "the 78 r.p.m. era"-from the formative early decades in which the giants of the record industry reigned supreme in the absence of radio, to the postwar proliferation of independent labels, disk jockeys, and changes in popular taste and opinion. By examining 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. Throughout the book, Kenney 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 in which various sorts of people found a new kind of pleasure. To this end, Recorded Music in American Life effectively illustrates how recorded music provided the focus for active recorded sound cultures, in which listeners shared what they heard, and expressed crucial dimensions of their private lives, by way of their involvement with records and record-players. Students and scholars of American music, culture, commerce, and history-as well as fans and collectors interested in this phase of our rich artistic past-will find a great deal of thorough research and fresh scholarship to enjoy in these pages.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780195171778
ISBN-10: 0195171772
Format: Paperback
(235mm x 152mm x 15mm)
Pages: 288
Imprint: Oxford University Press Inc
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Publish Date: 1-Nov-2003
Country of Publication: United States

Other Editions...


Books By Author William Howland Kenney

Jazz on the River by William Howland Kenney Jazz on the River, Paperback (December 2013)

Just after World War I, jazz began a journey along America's waterways from its birthplace in New Orleans. This title brings to life the vibrant history of this music and its newfound mainstream popularity among the American people.

Recorded Music in American Life by William Howland Kenney Recorded Music in American Life, Hardback (May 1999)

This title examines the interplay between recorded music and social, political, and economic forces in the US in the era of the phonograph's rise and decline as the dominant medium of popular recorded sound, from the appearance of first commercial recordings to the postwar years when the industry yielded its primacy to newer forms of mass media.

» View all books by William Howland Kenney

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Author Biography - William Howland Kenney

William Howland Kenney is Professor of History and American Studies at Kent State University. He is also a jazz clarinetist and the author of Chicago Jazz: A Cultural History (OUP, 1993).

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