Many Musics of America

Mexican Music and the South

What kind of music do you think about when you think about the Southern U.S.? Your answer might include country music, bluegrass, the blues, or southern rock–but you probably didn’t think of Mexican music! The U.S. South has a growing Latinx community that has brought [...]
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How Have Recording Technologies Changed Music-making?

Moog Synthesizer
In 1887, Thomas Edison wrote about a new machine: the phonograph. He described how the machine worked and what this new technology might be good for. On a list of 13 potential uses, he placed “Music” fifth, after “Letter-writing,” “Dictation,” “Books,” and “Educational Purposes.” The future of the phonograph, he speculated, was [...]
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Listening to Dayton Funk

Tilt Shift Photo of Acoustic Drum Set
Listening to the band Lakeside’s #1 R&B hit “Fantastic Voyage” in 1980, one can hear lead singer Mark Wood chant that he was taking you “To the land of funk!”  At the time, many of us fans figured it was a figurative allusion to the metaworld that [...]
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How Are Songs Used in Seminole Legends?

James E. Billie (Seminole Tribune) Legends of the Seminole Tribe of Florida have been passed down orally from one person to the next. Sometimes these stories include songs. Seminole legends have traditionally been retold in two languages, i:laponki (Mikasuki) and Muscogee (Creek). They usually have [...]
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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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