Course Notes History of Rock and Roll

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January 9, 13- Lecture 2
Blackface Minstrelsy
Betrays simultaneous fascinations and repulsion for African American culture (don’t imitate unless admire) •Appeared in the 1830’s and onward
As much a matter of class as a matter of race
Live entertainment in which white performers darkened their skin to imitate what they thought African American music sounded like (didn’t know much about African American culture or the south in general) •Ridiculed blacks and made profit

Northern cities such as New York was emergence
Blacks represented as lazy, overly sexual, and uneducated •Both performers and audience had mainly European American men and some blacks •Made a less guilty conscience for slavery and also allowed newly arrived immigrants to “prove they were white” by proving they were not black •Typical minstrel Band:

oSingers
oViolin
oBanjo
oTambourine
oBones
Dan Emmett
oComposer of “Dixie”
oBanjo virtuoso
oFounding member of the Virginia Minstrels
“De Boatman’s Dance”
oStrong bones and banjo
oDuplo meter
oTexture between monophonic and heterophonic
oDoesn't sound very African American but rather Irish even though it was supposed to mimic African American music •Tim D. Rice
oWrote “Jim Crow”
oFamous for singing his song while doing the cakewalk (slaves used to make fun of master’s dancing and cakewalk is white imitation of the black imitation of the master’s dancing) oCounterpart of Jim Crow was Zip Coon

Ragtime
Distributed as sheet music so people could play at home •First piece officially identified as a rag in USA was published in 1896 •Accentuated up beats is known as ragging
Syncopations (excitement)
1,2,3,4 (down beats)
Ands (up beats)
Scott Joplin
oMost famous ragtime composer
o“Maple Leaf Rag”
Most famous rag of Joplin’s
Form AABBACCDD
Left hand steady bass and right hand creates syncopations •Ragtime was eclipsed by Jazz at the beginning of WWI

Jazz
Around 1910
Emerged in New Orleans around the turn of the 20th century •Transformation of ragtime
oaddition of improvisation
onot as rigid
ohas a nice “swing”, meaning fluidity
Early Jazz Ensemble
oTrumpet or Cornet
oClarinet
oTrombone
oBanjo
oTuba or String Bass
oDrums
Spread of Jazz
oGreat migration of blacks from south to northern cities meant spread of jazz oRapid growth of radio networks after WWI
oInvention of shellac record (4 minutes of music)
Original Dixieland Jazz Band
oAll white band so unclear if truly representative of early jazz in New Orleans ofirst to record Jazz music (1917)
oReplicate animals sounds with instruments
oPolyphonic music (each instrument plays something different) •Paul Whiteman
o“king of Jazz”
o1890-1967
oGentle syncopations and little improvisations
o An Experiment in Modern Music (1924)
Feat. George Gershwin
"Rhapsody in Blue" (mixing of classical and jazz)
The Jazz Singer (1927)
oStarring Al Jolson
oMovie is about a cantor’s son who wants to become a vaudeville actor oBlack minstrelsy still around

January 14, 13- Lecture 3

Musical Mainstream in 1920’s and 1930”s
Gene Austin, “My Blue Heaven” (1927)
oJoy of family life
oAmerican dream
Tin Pan Alley
oMany songs composed here had escapists lyrics
oStreet in Manhattan where lots of music publishing industry was centered •Crooning
oBecame the dominant singing style around this time
oSounds as if singer is singing right next to you (intimate) oInvention of electric microphone in 1925

Race Records
Race Music
oBlack targeted music
oDoes not describe sound of music but rather who made the record and who the music was marketed to oIdea started in 1920’s with OKeh Records
Ralph Peer was a producer
He convinced them to record Mamie Smith singing “Crazy Blues” (1920) oBlack Swan Records
Founded in 1921 by Harry Pace
Black recording company
•...
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