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American Popular Song: The Great Innovators, 1900-1950 Hardcover – April 27, 1990
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"Provocative, informative, opinionated, and never dull" --Down Beat
"Wonderful" --The New York Times
"A joy to anyone who really cares about American popular music....An invaluable reference" --Max Morath
"A rewarding book, endowed with grace and wit" --Milton Babbitt
"Invaluable and pioneering" --Whitney Balliett, The New Yorker
"A singular book" --Studs Terkel
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Top Customer Reviews
Neither music lovers, nor especially fellow composers should take Wilder's words as the gospel, though, as I feel he'd be the first to implore. It's hard enough to compose and ignore the criticism in one's one head, let alone hear the muse over the strains of a duet. Another thing to consider in placing importance on even as eloquent and well-formed criticisms as these is Wilder's harrowing self-doubt about his OWN composing, and general worth (which comes through loud and clear in his autobiographical "Letters I Never Sent") And listeners should follow their own ears and hearts. Take Wilder's survey for what it is, very high quality opinion.Read more ›
People seem to have a knee jerk reaction whenever the name "Gershwin" is mentioned, but I agree with Mr. Wilder's assessment that RICHARD RODGERS' music was the most CONSISTENTLY masterful in the history of musical theater. Rodgers' range was incredible from the playful jazziness of "Manhattan" and "Lady is a Tramp" to the sophistication of "If I Loved You" and the lesser known, "Do I Hear A Waltz". Rodgers was an astonishing talent. Rodgers even wrote the lyrics and music to the lovely musical "No Strings". I get so tired of only hearing about Gershwin's greatness. Rodgers was every bit as good, if not better than Gershwin. I think Rodgers gets penalized at times because not only was his music great, but it was very accessible and popular with everyday audiences. A part of Gershwin's music strikes me as somewhat pretentions as are some of the tunes in "Porgy and Bess" and "An American In Paris". Rodgers seems to touch a familiar cord with audiences young and old, from generation to generation. As I video store owner, I know that people were willing to pay $50 or more for an out of print edition of the video "Sound of Music". None of my other videos could fetch such a good price.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Kindle Edition makes the book half as useful by failing to present sheet music excerpts clearly. They are the very subject of the book, and they cannot be read. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Steven Strauss
THE definitive book on the Subject of The Great American Songbook. Wilder actually talked to every composer in his book - they were all alive. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Michael E. Royal
This is the first and best of the stories of the American Songbook and its composers. This is my second copy of this
book because it not only tells the stories of the music... Read more
I was disappointed in the book. I was hoping for brief biographies of the composers of the Great American Songbook. Read morePublished on May 17, 2014 by t j meehan
not a good Kindle book because a musical staff doesn't work very well on a kindle. I think its hard-cover book comes with a cd. I found a more useful book.Published on February 11, 2014 by Joel
This book is, without question, the best of its type. The late Alec Wilder, (1907 - 1980) a well known and respected composer in his own right, has written an amazingly detailed... Read morePublished on August 10, 2013 by Les Ryan
"American Popular Song" is a "technical" review of most of the known songwriters of this period and their songs. Alec Wilder himself is a part of this group. Read morePublished on January 26, 2013 by Nick Conte
this is a great study of a neglected subject. I want to study music so i can understand the theory parts of the book, but the rest of it is plenty to make it worthwhile. Read morePublished on January 21, 2013 by Spears Mullen