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A&M  

David Buckley

American record company. It was founded in Los Angeles in 1962 by the former US army trumpeter Herb Alpert and the promoter-producer Jerry Moss. For first few years, A&M depended largely on revenues from Alpert's own recordings. His easy-listening instrumental music recorded with the Tijuana brass had sold over 20 million copies by 1968, when the company's turnover was $50 million. In 1966 A&M also scored a big success with Sergio Mendes and the Sandpipers' single, Guantanamera. Moss, however, was keen to broaden the appeal of A&M, and began recording such West Coast artists as Captain Beefheart and Dr John. In 1969 the label opened its first British office and by the early 1970s A&M also signed American recording deals with such artists as Procol Harum, The Move, Joe Cocker, Jimmy Cliff and Cat Stevens.

By the 1970s A&M were established as the most successful independent record label in the USA. In ...

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Jean M. Bonin

Firm of music publishers. It was founded in New Haven in 1962 by Gary J.N. Aamodt and Clyde Rykken to provide modern critical editions of music of historical interest and artistic integrity for scholars, students, and performers of Western art music. The “Recent Researches” series were launched in 1964 with volumes of music from the Renaissance and Baroque periods; it has since expanded to span the history of Western music. Another series is dedicated to oral traditions in music. The series Recent Researches in American Music was initiated in 1977 in collaboration with the Institute for Studies in American Music. In 1968 the firm moved to Madison, Wisconsin, and the same year took over the production and distribution of the Yale University Collegium Musicum series of historical editions. Starting in 1988, the company has served as publisher for Music of the United States of America (MUSA), a set of scholarly editions, in collaboration with the American Musicological Society and with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Other projects have included A-R Special Publications (for performers) and a three book series co-published with the Music Library Assocation....

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Michael Sayer

English firm of organ builders. It was established in Leeds in 1869 by Isaac Abbott, who had worked for 20 years with William Hill in London. William Stanwix Smith, also a former Hill employee, was the firm’s manager until Abbott retired, in 1889; thereafter Smith and Abbott’s son continued the firm, which subsequently passed to Smith’s sons and grandson. In 1964 the firm was sold to its foreman, J.H. Horsfall, and in 1975 it moved to the premises of Wood Wordsworth & Co. Up to 1964, Abbott & Smith built or rebuilt hundreds of organs throughout Britain, including some 250 in Yorkshire, and more than 60 around Leeds. James Jepson Binns was head voicer from 1875 until 1880. Their earlier instruments, using mechanical action through the 1880s, have a robust singing quality suited to Yorkshire Methodist congregations, though several were in town halls, including those in Leeds and Ryde. Their organ for St Mark’s, Manningham, had four manuals and 48 speaking stops. The firm also built organs in St Albans Cathedral (...

Article

Christopher Doll

[ABC]

Record company. Founded in 1955 in New York by American Broadcasting-Paramount Theaters, it was coeval with the birth of rock and roll, although a couple of years passed before the label produced hits in that genre, with such songs as Danny and the Juniors’ “At the Hop” (1957) and “Rock and roll is here to stay” (1958). It achieved sustained success with less boisterous pop music, particularly the work of Paul Anka (“Diana,” “Put your head on my shoulder,” and “Puppy Love”). The rest of the company’s output comprised children’s, spoken word, ethnic, jazz, and rhythm-and-blues records.

From the late 1950s the label attracted many successful African-American artists, including Fats Domino and B.B. King; after signing in 1959 Ray Charles scored his first number one pop single in 1960 with “Georgia on my Mind” and his first number one album in 1962 with Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music...

Article

Anne Beetem Acker

German firm of piano hammer manufacturers. Helmut Abel GmbH was founded in 1982 in Frickhausen by Helmut Abel (b Sonneberg, Thüringen, 6 July 1936), who had earlier worked for Renner. His son Norbert (b Schalkau, Thüringen, 24 March 1957) has managed finances, marketing, and research since the beginning. In 1985 the business name was changed to Abel Hammer Company. Helmut Abel’s younger son, Frank (b Wernau, Baden-Württemberg, 21 Sept 1963), joined the firm in 1986. In 1993 the company moved to a larger facility in Frankenhardt. After Helmut’s retirement as technical manager, in 2001, Frank assumed that position. Norbert’s son Alexander (b Ruit, Baden-Württemberg, 14 March 1990) completed an apprenticeship as a piano technician and in 2001 entered a course to become a piano master, with the intention of joining the firm after completion.

The firm makes piano hammers based on historical methods, yet employing modern technology for consistent quality. Abel also restores and duplicates hammer parts and recovers original hammer heads, using an old Dolge hammer press imported in ...

Article

Ableton  

Brandon Smith

Music production software company based in Berlin, with a branch in New York. Ableton (Ableton AG) was founded in 1999 by Gerhard Behles, Robert Henke, and Bernd Roggendorf. Its main product is a computer program called Live, which was released in 2001. This is a digital audio workstation (DAW) environment for recording audio and MIDI with an emphasis on working in real time, essentially allowing the user to play the software as an instrument. Practically any operation can be controlled via MIDI. Since its introduction, Live has become popular among electronic music artists for its ability to allow spontaneous manipulation of audio in a performance situation. Many manufacturers of MIDI controllers have developed control surfaces for Live, bridging the gap between software and hardware.

Live is equally suited to arranging and production applications, with abilities similar to those of other popular recording platforms such as Cubase and Pro Tools. It can run in tandem with most other DAW systems using the ReWire protocol by Steinberg Media Technologies (the creators of Cubase), allowing Live and other programs to share audio and MIDI information with a host DAW. In many ways Live has redefined the role software and computers in general have had in music creation and production. It was among the first programs able automatically to ‘beat match’ (synchronize audio files with different tempos). An integrated Max/MSP platform (a visual programming language) allows users to program their own virtual instruments by linking together pre-made blocks or ‘objects’. Ableton also produces virtual instrument plug-ins and libraries of samples for their Live platform....

Article

Sandra Jean Graham

From the mid-1830s through the Civil War, abolitionists systematically deployed songs as spiritual weaponry in the fight to eradicate slavery in the United States. Although anti-slavery sentiment was apparent as early as the 1680s, among the Quakers and Mennonites, and gained momentum as anti-slavery legislation was gradually enacted in the North, music became central to the movement only when anti-slavery societies proliferated in the 1830s. With slavery virtually eliminated in the northern states, William Lloyd Garrison engaged northern white abolitionists and African Americans in agitating for slavery’s complete and immediate end, using poetry and music to intensify the evangelical theology and fervor of this moralist crusade. In 1834 he compiled the first anti-slavery songster, A Selection of Anti-Slavery Hymns. To be sung at meetings of the American Anti-Slavery Society (founded by Garrison in 1833) and at monthly Concerts of Prayer, the hymns united formal poetry by white authors with a suggested classic hymn tune (such as “Old Hundred” or “Italian Hymn”). The last hymn in the collection was an exception: written in the voice of a slave, it was topical—decrying repatriation to Africa—and was assigned a popular rather than a sacred tune (John Payne Howard’s “Sweet Home,” ...

Article

French institution. Created as the Petite Académie in 1623, the organization that was to become the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres was initially dedicated to the glory of the king and to the history of his reign. Its scope was enlarged in 1703 by Gros de Boze, who called for the study of all aspects of civilization, from its origins to the 18th century. Discussions of music seem to have taken place from the end of the 17th century under the aegis of Charles Perrault, although documentation of such discussions dates only from 1706. The study of ancient music was begun under Galland and Fraguier and continued under Burette. The music of the ancients constituted the favourite subject of the academicians throughout the first half of the 18th century, and was revived by Michel de Chabanon and J.B. Rochefort between 1770 and 1780. A prize was established by Durey de Noinville in ...

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Academy  

Howard Mayer Brown

revised by Iain Fenlon

At various times in musical history, the word ‘academy’ has meant diverse things, including (i) a formal association of people interested in mutually communicating their opinions on various philosophical, intellectual or cultural issues (most such academies sponsored theatrical events with music and some included discussions of musical questions on their regular agenda), or even, in some few cases, a formal association devoting itself primarily to the study of music; (ii) a more loosely formed circle of intellectuals interested in holding lively discussions on various topics; (iii) an official national society that serves as an arbiter of tastes and standards; (iv) a society formed specifically to sponsor musical performances (including opera); (v) a single concert, either public or private; or (vi) an institution for the training of musicians.

The first of these definitions must be considered the original and therefore the primary meaning. The word itself derives from the mythological character Akademos, after whom a garden or grove in Athens was named, where it is said that the Greek philosopher Plato met his students to discuss philosophy, although recent scholarship has shown that exclusive reference to Plato was never intended by users of the word (Chambers, ...

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[Amateur Chamber Music Players]

Association founded as the Amateur Chamber Music Players in 1947 by Leonard A. Strauss of Indianapolis as an information center for those who play chamber music at home. Its directory, established in 1949, facilitates the meeting of ensemble participants, who rate their performing proficiency by responding to a detailed questionnaire. Singers and piano-duet players were included in ...

Article

Adams  

James Holland

Dutch manufacturer of percussion instruments. Adams Musical Instruments was established at the end of the 1960s by André Adams at Thorn in the Netherlands. Adams has become one of the leading percussion manufacturers in the world. Its list of products range from lightweight, low-priced pedal timpani designed for schools and bands, through to top of the range professional timpani and concert marimbas. A great deal of thought is given to the adaptability and portability of the instruments, as well as to their quality. For example, playing height of their keyboard instruments is adjustable, and their tubular bells may be adjusted both for height and range. In the contemporary world of percussion these refinements are invaluable for the player. Adams now manufactures timpani, xylophones, marimbas, tubular bells, bell plates, concert bass drums, temple blocks and a range of sticks....

Article

Karen Monson

revised by Michael Baumgartner

Ensemble. Formed in New York in 1961 by the violinist Lewis Kaplan, the Aeolian Chamber Players were the first American ensemble of mixed instruments to perform together on a permanent basis. The group, which first played at Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts, in October 1961 and made its New York debut shortly thereafter (Town Hall, January 1962), originally consisted of Kaplan, flutist Harold Jones, clarinetist Robert Listokin, and pianist Gilbert Kalish. A cello was added in 1966, with the flute rarely used since 1977. The group has been the resident ensemble at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, since 1964, where the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival, co-founded and directed by Kaplan, takes place. Former members of the ensemble include Jennifer Langbaum and Ronald Thomas (cello), and Charles Neidrich and Thomas Hill (clarinet). The present group includes Kaplan (violin), André Emelianoff (cello), and Peter Basquin (piano). The group, which is recognized for its commitment to both traditional and contemporary repertoire, has toured throughout the United States and Europe. At the Salzburg Festival of ...

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Tully Potter

English string quartet. It was founded in 1926 as the Stratton Quartet by George Stratton, William Manuel, Lawrence Leonard and John Moore, and developed from the Wood Smith Quartet, in which Stratton and Moore played. It found fame after Carl Taylor and Watson Forbes took over the inner parts in 1932 and it was chosen to record Elgar's Quartet and Piano Quintet (with Harriet Cohen). The records were a great solace to the composer in his last illness. Moore remained with the ensemble until 1956 and Forbes until 1962; but Taylor was killed in the war and in all the quartet had 11 second violinists. The leadership also changed hands a few times after Stratton withdrew in 1944 and the title Aeolian Quartet was adopted. The later incumbents, all highly distinguished, were Max Salpeter (1944–6), Alfred Cave (1946–52), Sydney Humphreys (1952–70) and Emanuel Hurwitz. Many of the various formations were perpetuated on records. In particular the line-up of Humphreys, Trevor Williams, Forbes and Derek Simpson made beautiful recordings of Mozart's ‘Dissonance’ and Beethoven's last quartet in ...

Article

Barbara Owen

American organ building firm. It was formed in 1931 when the firm of Ernest M(artin) Skinner & Co. acquired the organ department of the Aeolian Co., which had made its reputation building organs with self-playing mechanisms for private houses, changing its name to Aeolian-Skinner. In 1933 there was a reorganization in which G(eorge) Donald Harrison, who had joined Skinner in 1927, became technical director and Skinner’s activities were curtailed. In the same year Skinner, after increasing disagreement with Harrison over tonal matters, began a new company in Methuen, Massachusetts, with his son, Richmond, who had purchased the former Methuen Organ Co. factory and Serlo Hall the previous year.

During the 1930s the Aeolian-Skinner Co. continued to rise in popularity, and in 1940 Harrison became president, succeeding Arthur Hudson Marks (1874–1939), a wealthy businessman who had become its owner and president in 1919. Under Harrison the firm became a leader in the trend away from orchestral tonal practices and towards a more classical sound. It was Harrison who coined the term ‘American Classic’ to refer to this more eclectic type of tonal design. On his death, Joseph S. Whiteford (...

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Gregory F. Barz

The now defunct African Music Society was founded in 1948 by Hugh Tracey and anthropologist Winifred Hoernle, whose principal objective was to encourage research in traditional and popular musics in Africa. The society emphasized the importance of recordings to document the range and character of African indigenous music, much of which has been extremely localized due to barriers of distance and language, and through dependence on oral tradition. The society also encouraged the dissemination of musical styles through education and radio programmes. It developed into the ...