Supremely American: Popular Song in the 20th Century: Styles and Singers and What They Said about America

By Moody, Laura L. | Notes, June 2006 | Go to article overview

Supremely American: Popular Song in the 20th Century: Styles and Singers and What They Said about America


Moody, Laura L., Notes


Supremely American: Popular Song in the 20th Century: Styles and Singers and What They Said About America. By Nicholas Tawa. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2005. [xvi, 352 p. ISBN 0-8108-5295-0. $40.00.] Selected bibliography, index.

Nicholas Tawa, professor emeritus at the University of Massachusetts in Boston, is the author of numerous volumes on the history of music in America. His most recent book, Supremely American: Popular Song in the 20th Century: Styles and Singers and What They Said About America, is a study of popular music and how it has been influenced by changes in American life and culture. Tawa examines the way popular music fits within the context of twentieth-century society, why musical styles changed, and what the new styles that emerged suggested. Songs of the jazz age and swing era are considered in terms of their relationship to the time, while post-World War II songs are classified more by styles and the audiences the variations in styles created. The book is written for the general reader with little or no formal training in music. As the author states: "I have not concentrated on a technical analysis and explanation of songs" (p. ix).

The arrangement of the first three chapters of the book seemed to flow more fluidly than later chapters, as Tawa's survey of popular song is organized chronologically. Beginning around chapter 4, the emphasis is on popular music after World War II, with the chronological arrangement being replaced by classification of styles and the audiences the variations in styles created. Perhaps there are just too many overlapping musical styles that flourished after World War II, but I found that I had to reread passages in some places to remember where I was and to what the author was referring.

As the title suggests, the book examines many types of song that were popular throughout the twentieth century. Preliminary consideration is given to the close of the nineteenth century, and Tawa continues his survey with the jazz and swing eras. He explores the torch song, novelty and dance songs, and both light and serious love songs. There is early emphasis on the art of the crooner, and in the variety of singing styles that arose in the early to mid-1900s.

As America changed, popular music changed with it. Prohibition, war, crisis, and controversy led people to seek out entertainment like never before (p. 31). The types of entertainment sought by the American public varied according to ethnicity and economic status. Brought to the fore are influences from African American musical styles such as soul, funk, the Motown sound, reggae, hip hop, and rap. Influences derived from British traditional music are discussed as precursors to the more political folk music that gained popularity in the United States after the Vietnam War, with singer-songwriters such as Bob Dylan, Judy Collins, and Joan Baez. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Supremely American: Popular Song in the 20th Century: Styles and Singers and What They Said about America
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.