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American Popular Music: From Minstrelsy to MTV Text & Audio CDs Paperback – October 31, 2002

5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195108545 ISBN-10: 019510854X

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Editorial Reviews

Review


"American Popular Music: From Minstrelsy to MTV is a tremendous accomplishment. A vast array of styles and contexts are skillfully brought together in a coherent and thoroughly readable narrative, and the authors' delight in their subject matter is palpable on every page. For the student, teacher, or general reader interested in pop, this book unquestionably becomes the definitive survey text."--Daniel Sonenberg, University of Southern Maine, in the Institute for Studies in American Music Newsletter, Spring 2005


About the Author

Lawrence Starr is at University of Washington. Christopher Waterman is at UCLA.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (October 31, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 019510854X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195108545
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.9 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #194,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Tobin Sparfeld on May 27, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book is designed to be an introductory college-level text for courses about Popular Music in America. It's good overall, but not great.

The book begins with the initial "split" in America between "Classical" and "Popular" music in the nineteenth century, with minstrel shows and brass band music. The following chapters cover social dance and jazz, Tin Pan Alley, "race" records and "hillbilly" music, swing, postwar era music, Rock `n' Roll, the British Invasion, the 1960s, the 1970s, outside influences on 70s music (reggae, punk, funk, progressive country, etc.), the 1980s and MTV, and the rise of "alternative" music.

There are some great aspects about this textbook. First the prose is well-written, informative, entertaining, and thorough from a social/cultural standpoint. The book does not make any significant omissions, which is not easy considering all the subject matter which must be covered. Also, with two CDs included with the book price, the textbook does provide a good value. This is a nice feature.

I was able to find some serious drawbacks to the book, however. The book seems to focus more on the cultural aspects and less on the musical aspects of each section. The analyses of the musical tracks on the included CDs are too fluffy. It is likely that students will not get enough from the book to understand why the music is so special. Also, while 2 CDs may seem like a lot of music, it is really inadequate to chronicle the history of jazz, blues, musical theater, rock `n' roll, alternative rock, and so on.

There was one minor aspect of the book which also cropped up repeatedly. The authors seemed a little too eager to inject race into every nook and cranny.
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Format: Paperback
This was very helpful when I was teaching a "History of Rock and Roll" class because the text the school chose (and another they gave me) both started with too little information for the time prior to the 1950's and the book filled in (as most jazz texts would). I was glad I had this to give students a deeper, earlier foundation, which I think they didn't expect, but I transitioned over to be more be rock-centered after about the third week, and it worked. The book is not jazz focused after swing arrives, but it does a good job weaving the whole early picture together - you just need to get a history of jazz to have depth about all the later styles of jazz. I got the CD's included in the cover, and found one glitch so far...no Benny Goodman track even though the text offers a "listening guide" to him, but the same song is on YouTube anyway.
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By D. Dahlbeck on January 21, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This product arrived in great shape from the seller and is well written and organized. I plan on using it with a high school class and think that it is clear and concise for that purpose.
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This book contains a wealth of knowledge about popular music. It also comes with a CD (this make it convenient for listening to the music examples that were given).
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jenny Little on August 4, 2005
Format: Paperback
American Popular Music is a book that is easy to read and is very useful when wanting to learn more about Music History. I would recommend this book for people who would like to brush up on their music skills and who want to learn more about different music that has developed over the years.
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