This volume of essays by the distinguished musicologist Charles Hamm focuses on the context of popular music and its interrelationships with other styles and genres, including classical music, the meaning of popular music for audiences, and the institutional appropriation of this music for hegemonic purposes. Specific topics include the use of popular song to rouse anti-slavery sentiment in mid-nineteenth-century America, the reception of such African-American styles and genres as rock 'n' roll and soul music by the black population of South Africa, the question of genre in the early songs of Irving Berlin, the attempts by the governments of South Africa and China to impose specific bodies of music on their populations, and the impact of modernist modes of thought on writing about popular music.
Acknowledgements; Preface; 1. Modernist narratives and popular music; 2. Rock and the facts of life; 3. Changing patterns in society and music: the US since World War II; 4. 'If I Were a Voice': or, the Hutchinson family and popular song as political and social protest; 5. Some thoughts on the measurement of popularity in music; 6. Elvis, a review; 7. Home cooking and American soul in black South African popular music; 8. Rock 'n' roll in a very strange society; 9. African-American music, South Africa and apartheid; 10. 'The constant companion of man': Separate Development, Radio Bantu and music; 11. Privileging the moment of reception: music and radio in South Africa; 12. Music and radio in the People's Republic of China; 13. Towards a new reading of Gershwin; 14. A blues for the ages; 15. Graceland revisited; 16. Dvorak in America: nationalism, racism and national race; 17. The last minstrel show?; 18. The Role of Rock, a review; 19. Genre, performance and ideology in the early songs of Irving Berlin; 20. Epilogue: John Cage revisited; Index.
"This essay should help guide the study of popular music into the next century....This wonderful book deserves to be read, hashed over, and-perhaps most importantly-taught to students who will become the next generation of popular music scholars." Timothy D. Taylor, I.S.A.M. Newsletter
"...Hamm's taxonomy of narratives is clearly presented, well documented, and largely convincing.... ...an illuminating glimpse of how those engaged in musical research have responded to challenges issuing from other disciplines in the humnanities and social sciences." David Brackett, JAMS