Where do we start?
The history of New York City is writ large in the development of its music. Israel Zangwill first put forward the idea of the US as 'the melting pot' in his 1908 Broadway play of the same name, and nearly a century later it applies to music in New York. Rock, jazz, blues, folk, hip-hop, art-rock, US punk... if it wore shades and made a noise, it probably did it here first. And as you'd expect in so wealthy a city, classical music, opera and seriously big gigs are almost as easy to find as a street-corner coffee stand.
A Broadway show as an overture?
For many visitors, a trip to New York is made by seeing a Broadway musical. The Theater District fans out from Times Square and includes Broadway and streets north of 42nd Street. This is the place for mainstream musical entertainment and where you'll find the ghosts of Irving Berlin and George Gershwin, plus Andrew Lloyd Webber and Mel Brooks, still going strong.
Current favourites include Monty Python's Spamalot, which won this year's Tony award for best musical. New openings include The Color Purple, Sweeney Todd, and The Woman In White.
Listings of musicals and other productions are available online at www.livebroadway.com. Details are also published in a number of magazines, including Village Voice (www.villagevoice.com) and Time Out (www.timeoutny.com).
Tickets for the most popular productions will need to be bought months in advance, and this can be done online. Weekday matinees are always a good bet if you're shopping ahead; otherwise, join the queue at one of the TKTS booths (www.tdf.org/tkts), in Times Square at 47th Street and Broadway, or at the corner of Front and John Streets in South Street Seaport. They sell off discounted tickets " anything from 25 to 50 per cent of the normal price " for shows on the day of performance.
Something cool and mellow
The Big Apple has a thriving jazz scene. New York has played host to all the greats " Charlie Mingus, Miles Davis, Charlie Parker " and the legacy of these legends lingers to this day in venues across the city. …