Welcome to Awakenings

Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Music in Leisure Times

Having visited Music Through the Centuries 1600s to the 1800s, let's continue into the 20th century...

Each and every part of the world embraces the happenings of the past...it is who we are and why we are here. There are many factors defining exactly who we are but one that is at the top of the list is music, which within itself has been defined and redefined throughout the ages. Each period of time carries its own music of the century but there is one century whose music underwent radical changes decade by decade. So, here we go into the 20th century where we will visit one decade at a time. . .

First Decade: 1900-1909

Leisure times were family timesbaseball, picnics, games and such. Long Sunday drives were common in the horse and carriage.

The piano was the center of attraction in the evenings as families gathered around for sing-alongs. This led to the craze of the daypurchasing sheet music to popular songs. On Saturday nights, Barbershop Quartets harmonized to  the tune of Sweet Adaline, one of the most popular songs of the decade.

Music began to reflect events taking place in the world outside brought about by the first automobiles and airplanes. Such songs of note included  In My Merry Oldsmobile, Come Josephine in My Flying Machine, and Meet Me in St. Louis. Racial prejudices existed during this period being echoed in songs, such as Bill Bailey Won't You Please Come Home and The Darktown Strutters Ball.

Crossroads sings the Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet's version of the barbershop classic. I think the audience, including myself, didn't realize that it was serious and just the style until about 30 sec in. Very cool song. I left in the beginning because it is a cool explanation of the song. p.s. Sean Divine gives a hearty "You Bet!" at the end.
Music trivia of the decade...

A Victor V phonograph, about 1907
Source: en.wikipedia.org

Radios brought music into the home all across the country. Then, with the invention of the hand-cranked Victrola many opera lovers could listen to recordings of their favorite opera stars right in the comfort of their own home.

This was the era of Broadway musicals with Irving Berlin and George M. Cohan opening on Broadway. Then, in 1907, came the Ziegfeld Follies'showgirls' whose figure and beauty would lend glamour and beauty when in full costume on stage. Vaudeville was in full swing! Memorable Vaudeville songs include She's Only a Bird in a Gilded Cage


Of course, one cannot leave this era without mention of ragtime! Having entered the music scene in the late 1800s, ragtime became popular by Scott Joplin's Maple Leaf Rag bringing it out of the red-light district onto the legitimate stage.

Maple leaf Rag, recorded on Pianola Roll actually played by Scott Joplin

What do you think of the music of this era? Its impact is still felt right into the 21st century even though different melodies and rhythm have evolved with the changing times!

And the music goes on beating to the rhythm of the changing times. . .