American music in the 20th century chapter 1 introduction 4 music communicates the hopes sorrows and convictions of ordinary people in their everyday lives and its words and melodies were typically passed down from generation to generation through oral tradition american popular music american popular music is music conceived and performed as a commercial. Scholarly research on 20th century music in the united states is ubiquitous unfortunately a majority of these works simply focus on american composers inheritance of european technique kyle ganns book american music in the 20th century breaks this trend although gann spends an obligatory amount of time on the forefathers of contemporary music in the us the main portion of this book . Period of mass proliferation of genres and styles pianist arthur rubinstein in 1962 american jazz singer and songwriter billie holiday in new york city in 1947 russian cellist mstislav rostropovich in 1978 during the 20th century there was a large increase in the variety of music that people had access to. Distinctive styles of american popular music emerged early in the 19th century and in the 20th century the american music industry developed a series of new forms of music using elements of blues and other genres of american folk music these popular styles included country rb jazz and rock the 1960s and 1970s saw a number of important changes in american popular music including the
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