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The Origins of
American Popular Music
American Musical Theatre
Tin Pan Alley
American Popular Music in all of its various
forms and periods, is one of the
most widespread musical genres in the
histor...
The American Music Theatre emerged
during the latter half of the 1800s,
deriving its influences from a number of
earlier f...
European Operettas, such as those composed by the
Viennese “King of Operetta,”
Johann Strauss, Jr., and the
French compose...
Minstrel Shows
Burlesque, a form of musical theatre which consisted of
parodies of serious works of art;
Vaudeville, a theatrical form of entertainment
in which a series of unrelated performers appeared
together in what later b...
Variety Shows
During the first decade
of the 20th
century,
the Irish-born
American composer
Victor Herbert
(1859-1924)
established an
Am...
Hungarian-born
American composer
Sigmund Romberg
(1887-1951)
Czech-born
American composer
Rudolf Friml
(1879-1972)
Other A...
Excerpts from Operettas by
American Composers
“Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life”
from Naughty Marietta
music by Victor Herbert
(c...
Excerpts from Operettas by
American Composers
“Indian Love Call”
from Rose Marie
music by Rudolf Friml / lyrics by Oscar H...
Excerpts from Operettas by
American Composers
“Stout Hearted Men”
from New Moon
music by Sigmund Romberg/ lyrics by Oscar ...
A decade later, the
Irish-American playwright,
composer, lyricist actor,
singer, dancer and
theatrical producer
George M. ...
The productions of
Cohan's shows in
New York's Broadway
theaters were
so successful
in the decade before
World War One
tha...
But unlike most of his contemporaries,
such as Victor Herbert, Rudolf Friml
and Sigmund Romberg,
whose music is largely fo...
Some of Cohan's best remembered songs today
are those that are unabashedly patriotic,
such as "Over There," (which became ...
On the next slide is a brief, but very moving
rendition of that song, performed in an
uncharacteristically slow, almost me...
George M. Cohan is considered the
“Father of the American Musical."
In 1942, a film was made about his
life, featuring act...
Tin
Pan
Alley
George M. Cohan
was one of the
earliest members of
a group of
popular American
composers based in
New York who were
part o...
Tin Pan Alley is the name given to the
collection of New York City music
publishers and songwriters who dominated
the popu...
The name Tin Pan Alley originally referred to
a specific place:
West 28th Street between
Fifth and Sixth Avenue in Manhatt...
The start of Tin Pan Alley is usually dated
to about 1885, when a number of music
publishers set up shop in the same distr...
The origins of the name "Tin Pan Alley"
are unclear. The most popular account
holds that it was originally a derogatory
re...
With time this nickname was
popularly embraced and many years later
it came to describe the U.S. music industry
in general...
Milton Ager
Thomas S. Allen
Ernest Ball
Irving Berlin
Shelton Brooks
Nacio Herb Brown
Irving Caesar
Hoagy Carmichael
Georg...
Notable
Composers
and
Lyricists
of
Tin Pan Alley
Irving Berlin
[1888–1989]
was an American
composer and lyricist of
Russian Jewish heritage,
widely considered one of the
g...
Jerome Kern
[1885–1945]
was an American composer of
musical theatre and popular
music; composed the music for
the landmark...
Cole Porter
[1891–1964]
was a highly successful
American composer
and songwriter; composed
hundreds of songs for his
hit B...
George Gershwin
[1898–1937]
was an American composer,
songwriter and pianist who
has been cited as the world's
most freque...
Ira Gershwin
[1896–1983]
was a lyricist and songwriting
partner with his younger brother
George Gershwin.
Together, they w...
Hoagy Carmichael
[1899–1981]
American composer,
pianist, singer, actor,
and bandleader.
He is best known for
composing "St...
Johnny Mercer
[1909–1976]
was a highly prolific American
lyricist, songwriter and singer
who wrote songs
with many compose...
Richard Rodgers
[1902–1979]
was an American composer
of classic Broadway shows
including The Sound of Music,
South Pacific...
Oscar Hammerstein II
[1895–1960]
was an American lyricist,
librettist, theatrical producer,
and theatre director of musica...
The Origins of American Musical Theatre
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The Origins of American Musical Theatre

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This presentation contains information and musical examples of the origins of American Musical Theatre.

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The Origins of American Musical Theatre

  1. 1. The Origins of American Popular Music American Musical Theatre Tin Pan Alley
  2. 2. American Popular Music in all of its various forms and periods, is one of the most widespread musical genres in the history of music. It developed from a number of sources over a long period of time, beginning in the 19th century. One of the most significant precursors of American Popular Music was the early American musical theatre.
  3. 3. The American Music Theatre emerged during the latter half of the 1800s, deriving its influences from a number of earlier forms of musical theatre including:
  4. 4. European Operettas, such as those composed by the Viennese “King of Operetta,” Johann Strauss, Jr., and the French composer Jacques Offenbach;
  5. 5. Minstrel Shows
  6. 6. Burlesque, a form of musical theatre which consisted of parodies of serious works of art;
  7. 7. Vaudeville, a theatrical form of entertainment in which a series of unrelated performers appeared together in what later became known as the Variety Show.
  8. 8. Variety Shows
  9. 9. During the first decade of the 20th century, the Irish-born American composer Victor Herbert (1859-1924) established an American form of operetta with such shows as Babes in Toyland in 1903 and Naughty Marietta in 1910.
  10. 10. Hungarian-born American composer Sigmund Romberg (1887-1951) Czech-born American composer Rudolf Friml (1879-1972) Other American Operetta Composers
  11. 11. Excerpts from Operettas by American Composers “Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life” from Naughty Marietta music by Victor Herbert (composed in 1910 / filmed in 1935) (begin at 2'26” – end at 3’48”) (Next Slide) [Note the brief appearance in this scene at 3'26" by actor Frank Morgan, who would go on in 1939 to play the title role in the film, The Wizard of Oz.]
  12. 12. Excerpts from Operettas by American Composers “Indian Love Call” from Rose Marie music by Rudolf Friml / lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II (composed in 1924 / filmed in 1936) (Begin at 1’16” – end at 2’12”) (Next Slide)
  13. 13. Excerpts from Operettas by American Composers “Stout Hearted Men” from New Moon music by Sigmund Romberg/ lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein (composed in 1928 / filmed in 1940) (Begin at 0’57”; 3 min.) (Next Slide)
  14. 14. A decade later, the Irish-American playwright, composer, lyricist actor, singer, dancer and theatrical producer George M. Cohan (1878-1942) developed a new, distinctly American style of musical comedy.
  15. 15. The productions of Cohan's shows in New York's Broadway theaters were so successful in the decade before World War One that he was known as "the man who owned Broadway." (October 9, 1933)
  16. 16. But unlike most of his contemporaries, such as Victor Herbert, Rudolf Friml and Sigmund Romberg, whose music is largely forgotten today, Cohan's songs are still very much part of contemporary American culture.
  17. 17. Some of Cohan's best remembered songs today are those that are unabashedly patriotic, such as "Over There," (which became a sort of "theme song" of the American soldiers during both World War I and World War II) "You're A Grand Old Flag," "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and "Give My Regards To Broadway" (1904) which was named by National Public Radio in 1999 as one of the 100 most important works of American music of the 20th century.
  18. 18. On the next slide is a brief, but very moving rendition of that song, performed in an uncharacteristically slow, almost melancholy style in a performance by singer Judy Collins. This is actually a television commercial made by the Visa company shortly after September 11, 2001. It shows how deeply this song and other songs of this genre are imbedded in the American culture.
  19. 19. George M. Cohan is considered the “Father of the American Musical." In 1942, a film was made about his life, featuring actor James Cagney, (1899-1979) who won an Academy Award for his portrayal. In 1968, 26 years after his death, a musical about the life of Cohan called George M! was produced on Broadway in New York. The music and lyrics were, of course, by the composer himself. Posters for that show are still being sold on the Internet and it is frequently still performed today in high school theatre productions.
  20. 20. Tin Pan Alley
  21. 21. George M. Cohan was one of the earliest members of a group of popular American composers based in New York who were part of what was known as "Tin Pan Alley."
  22. 22. Tin Pan Alley is the name given to the collection of New York City music publishers and songwriters who dominated the popular music of the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
  23. 23. The name Tin Pan Alley originally referred to a specific place: West 28th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan. Today, a plaque on the sidewalk on 28th Street between Broadway and Sixth Avenue commemorates it. This block is now considered to be part of Manhattan's "NoMad" neighborhood and the Flower District of Manhattan.
  24. 24. The start of Tin Pan Alley is usually dated to about 1885, when a number of music publishers set up shop in the same district of Manhattan. The end of Tin Pan Alley is less clear cut. Some date it to the start of the Great Depression in the 1930s when the phonograph and radio supplanted sheet music as the driving force of American popular music, while others consider Tin Pan Alley to have continued into the 1950s when earlier styles of American popular music were upstaged by the rise of rock & roll.
  25. 25. The origins of the name "Tin Pan Alley" are unclear. The most popular account holds that it was originally a derogatory reference in the New York Herald newspaper referring to the sound made by many pianos all playing different tunes at once being exactly like the banging of many tin pans in an alleyway.
  26. 26. With time this nickname was popularly embraced and many years later it came to describe the U.S. music industry in general. According to popular music author Katherine Charlton, “The term ‘Tin Pan Alley’ referred to the thin, tinny tone quality of cheap upright pianos used in music publisher's offices."
  27. 27. Milton Ager Thomas S. Allen Ernest Ball Irving Berlin Shelton Brooks Nacio Herb Brown Irving Caesar Hoagy Carmichael George M. Cohan Scott Joplin Con Conrad J. Fred Coots Buddy DeSylva Walter Donaldson Paul Dresser Dave Dreyer Al Dubin Dorothy Fields Ted Fio Rito Max Freedman Cliff Friend George Gershwin Ira Gershwin Charles K. Harris James P. Johnson Isham Jones Gus Kahn Jerome Kern Al Lewis Sam M. Lewis F.W Meacham Johnny Mercer Theodora Morse Ethelbert Nevin Bernice Petkere Maceo Pinkard Lew Pollack Cole Porter Richard Rodgers Harry Ruby Al Sherman Lou Singer Ted Snyder Kay Swift Albert Von Tilzer Harry Von Tilzer Fats Waller Harry Warren Richard A. Whiting Harry M. Woods Jack Yellen Vincent Youmans Joe Young Hy Zaret
  28. 28. Notable Composers and Lyricists of Tin Pan Alley
  29. 29. Irving Berlin [1888–1989] was an American composer and lyricist of Russian Jewish heritage, widely considered one of the greatest songwriters. Composed the highest-selling song in the history of recording, "White Christmas," reported to have sold over 100 million copies.
  30. 30. Jerome Kern [1885–1945] was an American composer of musical theatre and popular music; composed the music for the landmark Broadway show, Showboat in 1927 with songwriting partner Oscar Hammerstein II.
  31. 31. Cole Porter [1891–1964] was a highly successful American composer and songwriter; composed hundreds of songs for his hit Broadway shows in the 1930s, 40s and 50s, many of which are considered "standards" today.
  32. 32. George Gershwin [1898–1937] was an American composer, songwriter and pianist who has been cited as the world's most frequently-performed composer. George Gershwin had two careers: first as a phenomenally successful songwriter and then later as a phenomenally successful composer of classical music.
  33. 33. Ira Gershwin [1896–1983] was a lyricist and songwriting partner with his younger brother George Gershwin. Together, they wrote dozens of classic hit songs in the 1920s and 30s. After his brother's death in 1937, Ira Gershwin continued writing hit songs with composers Harold Arlen and Arthur Schwartz.
  34. 34. Hoagy Carmichael [1899–1981] American composer, pianist, singer, actor, and bandleader. He is best known for composing "Stardust" and "Georgia on My Mind," two of the most-recorded American popular songs.
  35. 35. Johnny Mercer [1909–1976] was a highly prolific American lyricist, songwriter and singer who wrote songs with many composers including Harold Arlen, Hoagy Carmichael and Henry Mancini. He is said to have had more hit songs than any other lyricist.
  36. 36. Richard Rodgers [1902–1979] was an American composer of classic Broadway shows including The Sound of Music, South Pacific, Oklahoma, Carousel and others. In his songwriting partnerships with lyricists Lorenz Hart and Oscar Hammerstein, he produced more hit songs than any other composer.
  37. 37. Oscar Hammerstein II [1895–1960] was an American lyricist, librettist, theatrical producer, and theatre director of musicals for almost forty years. His legendary songwriting partnerships with Richard Rodgers and Jerome Kern changed the tone of American musical theatre and American popular music.

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