In Search Of American Popular Song

At ParlorSongs, we are vitally interested in not only the performance of the popular music of America but also in creating a site that presents you with real history and information about the origins of American popular song. To accomplish that, we have published a series of articles about aspects of American popular song that help us understand the history and origins of the music that is uniquely our own. We add to these articles regularly and over time, we hope to provide a complete survey of many aspects of our music that can only be found here at ParlorSongs. In addition to our "in search of" series, we also are building a library of comprehensive biographies of some of the people who made American music what it was during the golden age of song. All of the biographies and articles or essays include musical examples and cover images where appropriate so you can also enjoy the best of ParlorSongs music as you read.

This directory provides you with a quick listing of all of our "In Search Of" articles and a listing of the major biographies prepared thus far. We hope you find the articles interesting and enjoyable. For a complete view of all our articles, be sure to visit our site map.

In Search Of Popular Song


American Popular Music, Pt 1. An analysis and discussion of popular music in America from a 1910 perspective. Posted January, 2002 Charles K. Harris; Published November, 2001, the life story of the man who started it all with the hit song, After The Ball. Learn how a man who could neither read nor write music became a popular music phenomenon.
American Popular Music, Pt 2. The conclusion of the analysis and discussion of popular music in America from a 1910 perspective. Posted February, 2002 Carrie Jacobs-Bond; Read about the life story and the music of America's first million selling woman composer, a story of tragedy and determination.
The Dead Zone of American Music; Explore the early origins of American popular music and look at an era in the late 19th century when the music seemed to die. E.H. Pfeiffer; Read the life history of one of American popular song's greatest illustrators. See examples of his finest works.
Countdown To The Dead Zone, The Dark Ages; A look at the earliest popular songs in America and some musical examples of our first songs.(Coming Soon) Anna Priscilla Risher; Read about one of America's "lost" woman composers, her music is beautiful and deserves more attention. An artist, patron of the arts, humanitarian and musician, see for yourself why she is one of our favorite composers
Tin Pan Alley; a look at the history of the music publishing business with a focus on the Tin Pan Alley era in New York. Discover the origins of "Tin Pan Alley." Scott Joplin. A short biography of one of Ragtime's greatest composers, a man who for many is the definition of ragtime itself. Included as a part of our Ragtime "In Search Of" article.
Collecting Sheet Music; a guide for finding, valuing and collecting antique sheet music. If you are into collecting sheet music, this is the best on-line guide you will find. E.T. Paull; a look at one of the early 20th century march composers whose work and publications were a phenomenon and whose works today command some of the highest collector prices.
Native American Music; read about native American music and instruments, explore the effect of native music on popular music; hear actual native American music as documented by early American musicologists. Percy Wenrich; Issued in September, 2001, this article reviews the music and life of one of the nation's most creative and versatile composers.
Cowboy Music; Discover the true origins of "Cowboy" music and western music and its effect on American popular song. Al Jolson, The Original Jazz Singer; Issued in December, 2002, this article reviews the music and life of one of the nation's most creative performers.
European Popular Music; Explore European popular music during the golden age of song and discover how it affected American music and vice versa. Irving Berlin, Dean of American Song; Issued in February, 2003, this article reviews the music and life of one of the nation's most prolific and influential songwriters.

The Music of World War One a look at the unique American music to come out of the great war, an in-depth three part series.
1. American Music Goes To War
2. "Over There"
3. Coming Home

Flo Ziegfeld & The Ziegfeld Follies; Issued in January, 2004, this article reviews the life of one of the nation's most influential stage producers. Features many examples of some of the musical works to come out of the famous Follies series of productions.
Music in Advertising; a look at music and its use in and as a form of advertising, also look at "vanity music", music written for and about companies. Harry Von Tilzer, The Man Who Launched A Thousand Hits; Issued in February, 2004, this biographical article reviews the life and music of one of Tin Pan Alley's most prolific composers and publishers.
Ragtime; A look at what constitutes Ragtime music and a little bit of history of the genre.. New!, for June, 2001, updated & expanded with musical examples, includes a bio on Scott Joplin. Albert Von Tilzer, His Life and Music; Issued in March, 2004, this biographical article reviews the life and music of the second son in one of Tin Pan Alley's most prolific composer and publisher families.
The Lost Verses; Read about how the verses to many familiar songs were dropped from performances and recordings over the decades so that many of us have never heard them. This is a great guest article by Rich Beil. Includes information about a companion CD of great old songs whose verses you may never have heard before. George M. Cohan, His Life and Music; Issued in July, 2004, this biographical article reviews the life and music of one of America's most loved and versatile performers from the Tin Pan Alley era.
The Blues; discover the origins of the blues and hear some of the early blues music from some of the greatest early blues composers. Harry Lauder, His Life and Music: A feature article about Harry Lauder, a Scot who became all the rage in America in the first two decades of the 20th century.
Songs of The Sea, Sea Shanties; a look at work songs and in particular, the sea shanty (chanty) which flourished from 1815 to ca. 1880. Hear some original and charming shanties from the early 19th century. Victor Herbert: Our biography of Victor Herbert (1859 - 1924) an Irish immigrant who became king of the light opera in America.
"Coon"Songs; a look at a period in American popular song that exploited African Americans and a style of song that created a shameful chapter in our musical heritage. Egbert Van Alstyne: Our biography of Egbert Van Alstyne (1878 - 1951) one of Americas greatest Tin Pan Alley Composers.
Music Printing; A short history of the printing of music and the role of lithography in printing both scores and covers. Published August, 2001.  
Digital Preservation and Restoration of Music Manuscripts; a look at how manuscripts are restored and preserved using today's scanning and digital technology.  
Patriotic Music In America, a look at the origins of patriotic music in America and a cross section of some of the popular music that was written in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Published as a monthy feature in July of 2002.  
Minstrel Songs Old and New, the story of the Minstrelsy movement in 19th century America with musical examples. Published September, 2011  
Music as Propaganda a well researched guest article about the use of music as a weapon of propaganda by governments. Includes a historic perspective with primary focus on the music of the First World War. Many musical examples are included. Published as a monthly feature in April of 2004.  

We hope you find these articles interesting and informative. This is only a small sampling of the over 130 articles about American songs that appear on our site. For a complete view of all articles, be sure to visit our site map.


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