Many Musics of America

Category: Topics

How Did Publishing Help Gospel Music Grow?

Pace Jubilee Singers
Img. 1: The Pace Jubilee Singers, ca. 1930, with Charles H. Pace in the back row on the far left. Gospel music became a hit after the Second World War. Mahalia Jackson, the Soul Stirrers, and the Staple Singers made Black church singing known to [...]
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Black History and the Creative Arts of Rhiannon Giddens

Rhiannon Giddens, credit John Peets
Rhiannon Giddens. (Credit John Peets) Blending traditional folk music with Black musical traditions, Grammy-award winning Rhiannon Giddens has made Black history more audible to diverse audiences.  As a co-founding member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Giddens contributed her knowledge of banjo, fiddle, viola, and traditional [...]
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What is Kansas City Jazz?

Count Basie at the piano in 1955.
Count Basie at the piano in 1955. (James J. Kriegsman, CC) The city of Kansas City, Missouri, is known around the world for its barbecue, its beautiful parks and fountains, and its legacy of jazz. Located between the Midwest and the Southwest, Kansas City was [...]
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Why are the ladies in The Music Man posing?

The “Grecian urn” ladies in the movie, The Music Man (1962) Meredith Willson’s Broadway musical, The Music Man, has been staged many times since 1957. A revival staring Hugh Jackman recently finished its New York run. Audiences enjoy the story of con-man Professor Harold Hill [...]
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What does it mean to “revive” old-time music?

Samantha Bumgarner, fiddler, banjoist, and guitarist from Asheville, North Carolina, 1937. (Library of Congress) A “music revival” takes place when people who were not born into a tradition choose to adopt it. Often, the music being revived comes from a rural area; but the people [...]
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What is “old-time” music?

Hog-Eyed Man, composed of Rob McMaken (dulcimer) and Jason Cade (fiddle), play Old-time music at the Kennedy Creek Old Time Music Workshops, organized by the American Musicological Society in partnership with the AMS South-Central Chapter. The phrase “old-time” describes the music played on fiddles and [...]
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What is a “sea shanty”?

Illustration of sailors singing sea songs, British National Maritime Museum at Greenwich In December 2020, a Scottish singer named Nathan Evans made a TikTok video of an Australian sailor song called “The Wellerman.” Over the next few weeks, using the TikTok app’s layering function, thousands [...]
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Music in Diplomacy: Just a Show?

University of Michigan Jazz Band members discuss their instruments with interested spectators after a workshop. Photograph courtesy of Lanny Austin. Just as the U.S. government sends diplomats abroad for political negotiations with foreign countries, it also sends musicians abroad to entertain foreign audiences. In 1965, [...]
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