The American music of twentieth century.

Essay by magicnr May 2003

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Through out this century in America, many kinds of music have been born, developed and lost. The style, purpose and effect of music has changed. Why do musical styles change? The evolution of music is at least partly shaped by the evolution of the trends and styles of the time. With the turn of each generation comes a turn of the style of music. Within each decade the music has been influenced by the artists of that time.

Music of the 1900's

Phonographs and gramaphones were making their way into the home, with cylinders and disks selling from fifty to seventy five cents. At first, all sound recordings were made by the acoustic process, without amplification or electricity. The musician had to play or sing directly into the recording horn. Electric recording with microphones and amplifiers replaced the acoustic process after 1925. In 1899 Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag" became the first Ragtime composition to become a sheet music best-seller, detonating an explosion which made Ragtime the big noise in American music.

Jazz flourished in Storyville, the red light district in New Orleans. Buddy Bolden is often credited for being the first of the great Jazz figures. He ushered in an era which saw a long succession of artists who helped make New Orleans the capitol of Jazz. Medicine shows in the late 19th and early 20th centuries provided exposure for mountain music. The good doctor sold sure-fire cures for ailments to the sound of southern rural musicians turning Anglo-Irish ballads into a uniquely American music. The Hillbilly music heard at barn raisings, quilting parties, log rollings and fiddle conventions was soon to become, (with the help of radio in the 1920s) the multi-million dollar Country Music Industry. The ragtime music from New...