Download American Popular Song Composers: Oral Histories, 1920s–1950s by Michael Whorf PDF

By Michael Whorf

During this quantity, 39 of the mythical composers from Tin Pan Alley, Hollywood and Broadway of the Twenties throughout the Fifties talk about their careers and percentage the tales of making the various so much loved songs in American song. Interviewed for radio within the mid-1970s, they contain such giants as Harold Arlen, Eubie Blake, Cy Coleman, George Duning, Sammy Fain, Jerry Herman, Bronislaw Kaper, Henry Mancini, David Rose, Arthur Schwartz, Charles Strouse, Jule Styne, Jimmie Van Heusen, Harry Warren, Richard Whiting, and Meredith Willson. images and infrequent sheet track reproductions accompany the interviews.

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From the Preface :

This publication illustrates a suite of tune manuscripts which used to be made in recent times to profit the basis for modern functionality Arts. the gathering was resolute through situations instead of any means of choice. therefore it exhibits the various instructions during which song notation is now going. The manuscripts are usually not prepared in keeping with sorts of tune, yet alphabetically in accordance with the composer's identify. No explanatory details is given.

The textual content for the publication is the results of a technique using I-Ching probability operations. those decided what percentage phrases relating to his paintings have been to be written by means of or approximately which of 2 hundred and sixty-nine composers. the place those passages (never greater than sixty-four phrases, occasionally just one) were in particular written for this booklet, they're preceded through a paragraph signal and via the author's identify. different feedback have been selected or written by way of the editors - John Cage and Alison Knowles. not just the variety of phrases and the writer, however the typography too - letter measurement, depth, and typeface - have been all decided unintentionally operations. This method used to be with a view to decrease the variation among textual content and illustrations. The composition of the pages is the paintings of Alison Knowles.

A precedent for the textual content is the Questionnaire. (The composers have been requested to jot down approximately notation or some· factor suitable to it. ) A precedent for the absence of knowledge which characterizes this publication is the modern aquarium (no longer a gloomy hallway with every one species in its personal illuminated tank separated from the others and named in Latin): a wide glass apartment with the entire fish in it swimming as in an ocean. the gathering of manuscripts constitutes an archive, the contents of that are indexed on the finish of this ebook. The editors are thankful to the numerous composers and song publishers who've made this presentation of mid-twentieth century tune notation attainable.

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Extra resources for American Popular Song Composers: Oral Histories, 1920s–1950s

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I never even considered becoming a songwriter. I did a little writing but I did it as a musician, all embellished with my style of playing. That was a gift I had, being able to do this, to improvise. ’ They had told me that the scene called for a group of Afro-American men in a jail cell, singing the blues. ’ I was troubled because if you listen well to a pianist or clarinetist play the blues, you could have used their playing those kinds of riffs in that jail cell scene just as well as anything I ever wrote.

At age 59, James Hubert Blake decided to attend college, but he was never far from the keyboard. He graduated in two years. For the next 35 years, the world was at his doorstep. He performed with headliners and celebrities of the day, appeared on television, in concerts and theater engagements, and always, the people wanted more. Eubie played right up until the time of his death in 1983. ” Eubie Blake, a ragtime composer, pianist, performer, raconteur ... that sounds about right, doesn’t it? It fits the man we watched on one of those television talk shows, regaling the host and audience with stories of the way it was during those ragtime years.

You know, one time I heard that Irving Berlin was very upset when he heard one of his songs arranged for today’s market. Someone told me that he was disturbed, that is, until he caught on to what these new arrangers were doing. “I can understand that a composer with some ability, or even if he hasn’t any, can get lucky and write a hit song, or he might get two songs published. If they’re any good he may get them recorded; and then miracle of miracles, he may become a ‘hot’ commodity. I don’t know what happens.

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