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Katherine K. Preston and Michael Mauskapf

This article addresses the history of individuals and organizations devoted to the management of musical artists and their careers in the United States.

Musicians who toured the United States during the first half of the 19th century relied on individuals to manage their tours. Some of the most important early impresarios included William Brough, ...


Anne Beetem Acker

Term related to music made by the eight-bit soundchips in 1980s and early 1990s gaming systems and microcomputers, as well as music composed using modified (‘modded’) gaming systems or environments designed to emulate the capabilities of early soundchips. (A chip, or microchip, is an integrated circuit packaged in a usually flat rectangular body with input and output pins for attachment to a larger circuit system.) The original systems include the NEC PC-8801, Commodore 64, Nintendo Entertainment Systems, Amiga, Game Boy, and Mega Drive/Genesis. The distinctive sound of music from these systems arises from their use of only a few simple waveforms, white noise, and beeps, as well as unreliable pitches and limited polyphony. Despite these restrictions, inventive chiptune composers in the 1980s emulated many styles of music using flutelike melodies, buzzing square-wave bass lines, rapid arpeggios, and noisy primitive percussion. Game music is designed to loop indefinitely and then quickly switch depending upon the characters or scenes of the game, requiring the music to be simple yet evocative. Composers used software ‘trackers’, tediously entering the note and other information in numerical codes that the hardware chip could use....


John Cline

A term coined by the radio DJ and author Irwin Chusid in 1996 to describe a loosely related set of recordings that do not fit well within any pre-existing generic framework. The art critic Roger Cardinal first used the term “outsider” in 1972 in relation to visual art. His usage translated into English the French artist Jean Dubuffet’s term ...



Beth E. Levy

Although the term “pageant” has a substantial history in reference to European liturgical drama and postwar beauty contests, the dramatic form known as the pageant held special significance for American composers between the 1910s and the 1930s. Combining spoken dialogue, dance or pantomime, and musical numbers, pageants were most often staged outdoors and were usually characterized by some type of civic or social aim and by amateur or community involvement, sometimes on a massive scale....


Susan Key

Parlor music generally refers to music composed for domestic use from c1820 to World War I, consisting primarily of songs for voice and piano but also including compositions for solo piano as well as transcriptions and arrangements adaptable for a variety of instruments. Both vocal and instrumental music were aimed at an amateur market and intended for performance in the home, primarily but not exclusively by females. Instrumental music for the parlor was most commonly for piano or melodeon but demonstrated flexibility according to circumstances, with interchangeable parts for a variety of popular domestic instruments such as flute, guitar, or violin. The music was published in individual ...


Bruce Gustafson

A term documented by 19th-century German lexicographers for a light harpsichord piece in the first half of the 18th century. It was not common as a title, much less as a genre with specific characteristics. In France, the word was not understood to be a musical term, and there are no known French harpsichord pieces that use it in a title....


David K. Dunaway

While much American political music has roots in traditional song and balladry, the category includes many other kinds of music. From electoral songs of the 1730s to punk rock protests of the 1980s, political music belongs to no one form nor does it fall entirely into any one of the categories of popular, traditional, or art music. Music may be deemed political when its lyrics or melody reflect a political stance or evoke a political judgment in the listener. Thus in some cases, depending on the period, performer, and audience, a single piece may or may not qualify as political music. Any comprehensive definition of political music must also take into account the context in which it is performed. “Who killed Cock Robin?,” for example, and many other pieces now regarded as nursery rhymes, began as political allegories and have themselves since been parodied. Yet among the most common types of political music are campaign songs and music of political protest, including labor, populist, suffragist, and abolitionist songs....


Susan Feder and Michael Mauskapf

Orchestral programs modeled after European promenade concerts of the 19th century, in which light classical music was played while the audience was served refreshments. The development of pops concerts in America reflected an emerging emphasis on the audience and an explicitly articulated division between so-called serious and light classical music propagated by conductor Theodore Thomas and others. Such concerts were traditionally structured in three parts, in which lively pieces—overtures, marches, and galops—were played in the outer sections while the middle section typically included waltzes and occasionally more serious works; encores were a regular feature. These concerts often took place in outdoor venues during the summer season, and featured audience promenades during the intermissions. Initially, works by European composers such as Rossini, Grieg, Liszt, and J. Strauss dominated the programs of pops concerts, but excerpts from musicals and operettas by De Koven and Herbert, among others, soon became a significant component. In general these concerts were understood as a vehicle to reach new audiences and broaden the appeal of orchestras and orchestral music....


Shane K. Bernard

Musical genre combining New Orleans rhythm-and-blues, country-and-western, and Cajun and black Creole music. Invented in the mid-1950s by teenaged Cajuns and black Creoles, the sound hails from the 22 parish Acadiana region of south Louisiana, as well as a small portion of east Texas.

Most swamp pop pioneers were born during the period ...


Mark Clague and Dan Archdeacon

Growing out of the Detroit Artists Workshop (founded 1964), Trans-Love Energies (TLE, formally, Trans-Love Energies Unlimited, Inc.) was an anti-establishment commune founded in Detroit in February 1967. Its mission was to “produce, promote, manage, and otherwise represent musical and other artists, in recordings, concerts, tours, media, and related fields of culture and entertainment, including films, books, posters, light and sound environments—all on a cooperative, non-profit basis, for the purpose of educating and informing the general public in terms of contemporary art forms and cultural patterns.”...