Designed as a broad introductory survey, and written by experts in
the field, this book examines the rise of American music over the
past hundred years -- the period in which that music came into its
own and achieved unprecedented popularity. Beginning with a look at
music as a business, eleven essays explore a variety of popular
musical genres, including Tin Pan Alley, blues, jazz, country,
gospel, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, folk, rap, and Mexican
American corridos. Reading these essays, we come to see that the
forms created by one group often appeal to, and are in turn
influenced by, other groups -- across lines of race, ethnicity,
class, gender, region, and age.
The chapters speak to one another, arguing for the primacy of
such concepts as minstrelsy, urbanization, hybridity, and crossover
as the most powerful tools for understanding American popular
music. Moving beyond outdated music-industry categories and
misleading genre labels, while acknowledging the complexities of
the market, the book recovers and reinforces the essential
blackness of much popular music -- even a presumably white form
like country and western.
In addition to Rachel Rubin and Jeffrey Melnick, contributors
include Reebee Garofalo, Geoffrey Jacques, Kip Lornell, Mark
Anthony Neal, Millie Rahn, David Sanjek, James Smethurst, Elijah
Wald, and Gail Hilson Woldu.
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