Popular music may be viewed as primary documents of society, and America's Musical Pulse documents the American experience as recorded in popular sound. Whether jazz, blues, swing, country, or rock, the music, the impulse behind it, and the reaction to it reveal the attitudes of an era or generation. Always a major preoccupation of students, music is often ignored by teaching professionals, who might profitably channel this interest to further understandings of American social history and such diverse fields as sociology, political science, literature, communications, and business as well as music.
In this interdisciplinary collection, scholars, educators, and writers from a variety of fields and perspectives relate topics concerning twentieth-century popular music to issues of politics, class, economics, race, gender, and the social context. The focus throughout is to place music in societal perspective and encourage investigation of the complex issues behind the popular tunes, rhythms, and lyrics.