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The History of Tin Pan Alley

Added on - 16 Jun 2021

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Surname1Name:Tutor:Course:Date:The Role of Tin Pan Alley in American MusicIntroductionTin Pan Alley is genre of music that sprang up in the latter years of the 19thCentury. Itarose in the song publishing industry whose capital was in Manhattan on West 28thStreetbetween Broadwayand 6thAvenue in New York. These were performers who usually worked inmusic shops and played the latest releases much like record stores play new CD releases todayIn what ways did Tin Pan Alley enrich American Music?Tin Pan Alley played a key role in the printing and distribution of sheet music. Most ofthe early publishers of the time also played church music. This helped to spread the message ofChristianity. Also several music publishers of the time made music instruction material, classicalitems and study pieces for use at home and in schools (Skipper, 825). Tin Pan Alley claimed itsplace in history for the growth of music in America. After the end of the civil war in Americaover 25000 pianos were sold each year in America. Over 500000 young people were takingpiano lessons I n 1887(Loots et al., 22). This also saw an increasing number of young peopleventuring into a career in music. As a direct consequence the popularity of the sheet music andits demand rose exponentially. More publishers then started entering the market in response tothe growing demand for sheet music. In the last decade of the 19thCentury New York wasquickly getting a new reputation as an emerging center of popular music publishing.
Surname2Indeed Tin Pan Alley transformed American music from an art into an industry. As moreand more music publishers came in to New York the city began to emerge as a center for musicalperforming arts. Much of the musical a talent in America was found here (as is it in modern dayHollywood and actors). Tin Pan Alley gave birth to what is today dubbed American popularmusic. Various companies in collaboration with the Tin Pan Alley concentrated much of theirtime in developing American popular music by that time. These companies include E. B. MarksMusic Company, Shapiro, Berstein & Co., Irving Berlin, Inc. Robbins Music Corp and RemickMusic Co. These were trailblazers who employed market research as tool to their success; inselecting music as well as marketing the same aggressively.On the other hand the activities at Tin Pan Alley overlooked other genres of music. It isaccurate to argue that much of the time was devoted to the creation of popular music at theexpense of other genres of music (Epps et al., 12). In this way it limited the growth of Americanmusic in terms of diversity.Like it has been correctly pointed out, the Alley was the engine that powered thetransformation of American music from an art to an industry. Herein lay one of the greatestlimitations to music in America even to date. At the time, music composers were hired oncontracts. Music publishers retained exclusive rights over the composers. It is during this timethat vaudeville replaced minstrel which had been a leading form of stage entertainment for a longtime. Enormous amounts of money were paid out by publishers at these shows in order topopularize the music. This is where American music industry lost it. It was no longer about theart, rather the money; industry (Ward, 54). Even to date plenty that does not qualify as goodmusic receive a lot of airplay on mainstream media thanks to similar tactics as were employed inthe Alley.
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