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Article

Katherine K. Preston and Michael Mauskapf

[music management]

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, max Maretzek , bernard Ullman , and maurice Strakosch . These men travelled the musicians’ routes, sometimes with the performers and sometimes a week or two ahead, and were responsible for renting a performance venue, arranging publicity, and engaging supporting musicians and needed instruments. Managers also made travel arrangements, secured lodging, and negotiated terms with the managers of local theaters or halls. Some of these managers were themselves performers; the pianist Strakosch frequently toured with singers, and Maretzek was the conductor for his opera companies. This style of management essentially replicated the modus operandi of itinerant theatrical stars. (...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

[chip music]

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....

Article

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 art brut, which arose from Dubuffet’s interest in the artwork of criminals and the mentally ill. The term “outsider art” was in wide circulation during the 1970s and 80s, when many examples of what became now known, after Chusid, as “outsider music” were first being analyzed by collectors of outré records; Lester Bangs mentioned two key outsider musicians, Wild Man Fischer and Jad Fair, in his essay “A Reasonable Guide to Horrible Noise” (1981). V. Vale explored similar terrain in the early 1990s. Outsider music does not involve any definite stylistic qualities; criteria for inclusion are generally either negational or relational. Much outsider music exhibits idiomatic characteristics of established genres, ranging from opera (Florence Foster Jenkins) to country music (the Legendary Stardust Cowboy), although in an idiosyncratic fashion. Other examples defy precedent, leaving the critical listener understanding initially only what the music is not (as with Fischer’s a cappella compositions). The term “outsider” is, almost by definition, controversial. From Dubuffet to Chusid, it has concurrently carried connotations of both psychological pathologies and an assumption of a purity of expression at the boundaries of culture....

Article

Pageant  

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.

The most widely propagated type of pageant was the community or historical pageant. Bringing the ideals of the new pageantry movement in Great Britain across the Atlantic, William Chauncy Langdon and the American Pageant Association (founded in 1913) advocated an episodic, locally generated drama in which “the place is the hero and its history is the plot.” For such productions the music was often a pragmatic pastiche of old favorites, contrafacta, and newly composed scores. Ernest Richard Kroeger and Frederick Shepherd Converse wrote music for the gargantuan ...

Article

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 Sheet music editions, often with elaborate engraved covers. All aspects of the genre—music, texts, and the material cultural of sheet music and instruments—both reflected and affected the technology, social mores, and cultural values of this period.

The emergence of parlor music in the 19th century was a result of three interrelated phenomena: technological developments, the growth of the middle class, and changes in domestic architecture. Technical advances in the manufacture and dissemination of sheet music and musical instruments fostered music-making in American homes. In the 18th century, only a few hundred musical titles were published in the United States; the first quarter of the 19th century saw the publication of 10,000 titles, and the industry continued to expand until World War I. The growth of a middle class with more leisure time led to greater opportunities for music lessons and domestic entertainment. The 19th century saw sharp increases in the number and frequency of native-born music teachers who offered music training in school, home, and church settings. Finally, changes in domestic architecture created a room removed from the daily functions of cooking, eating, and sleeping, which served as a marker of social stature for Americans. Derived from the French word ...

Article

Bruce Gustafson

(Fr: ‘pleasantry’, ‘simplicity’)

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....

Article

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....

Article

Susan Feder

revised by Michael Mauskapf

[Pop, Promenade]

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....

Article

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 1935 to 1945. As children they imbibed French-language performances by Cajun and black Creole musicians; some played Cajun or black Creole music. They also listened to country-and-western music, and, coming of age in the 1950s, the new rhythm-and-blues and rock-and-roll sounds. Putting aside the fiddle and accordion, young “swamp poppers” embraced the lilting piano triplet style of Fats Domino’s love ballads. They also borrowed from Domino and other New Orleans artists the emotive saxophone sections, the electric guitar and bass, and the modern drumming trap set.

Swamp pop, however, is more than merely a duplicate of New Orleans rhythm-and-blues. Country-and-western roots help to set swamp pop apart from its more urbane counterpart, as do, most importantly, the infusion of Cajun and rural black Creole elements. For example, swamp pop musicians recorded rock-and-roll versions of Cajun and black Creole songs, and they sang both in French and Cajun-accented English. Swamp pop has thus been described wittily as “half Domino and half fais do-do” (the latter term referring to the Cajun house dance tradition)....

Article

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.”

An umbrella corporation, TLE included a production company, a light show and poster company, the Artists’ Workshop Press (distributor and publisher of underground newspapers, including the Warren-Forest Sun), and many side enterprises that helped fund commune operations. Inspired by rock music’s potential to catalyze social change, TLE managed musical acts including the Up, Iggy and the Stooges, and most notably the MC5. The activist leader John Sinclair (...