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Even so Nott brings a fresh eye to the material and, in his account of commercial radio, has uncovered new and important information. His study of the emergence of the gramophone business is particularly useful.


But the really original part of his study concerns the impact of the music industry on music-in- performance and the phenomenal rise of dance music. The talkies killed off live cinema music, but dance bands offered new opportunities.

It deals thoroughly with the business side of the dance craze, and the growth of ballroom chains, dominated by the legendary Mecca Company whose founder, Carl. Heimann, arrived in England in , aged sixteen, unable to speak English and with scarcely a shilling to his name.

The Music, Musicians and Audience in Context

It deals well with the bands and their professionalisation. It is an exemplary piece of social history, drawing extensively on that great contemporary anthropological study of everyday life in Britain conducted by Mass Observation in the late s, when the dance craze was at its peak. Nott has a fascinating appendix on the most popular songs of the period—a sort of Top of the Pops listing from to —in which the reader can check the changing tastes of the times and how many of the numbers they remember!

In conclusion Nott reviews the arguments about the rise of the culture industries and the arrival of popular music in all its distinctively modern varieties. The increased availability of popular music, Nott suggests, played a part in producing and maintaining the political stability of Britain at a time of great economic and social upheaval, for its appeal was classless. The interwar period is a particularly important moment in the history of the last century, for it was then that the elements of the popular culture of everyday life with which we are all familiar today first emerged and were set in place.

Music was a central part of this process.

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Though recording technologies have developed enormously since the s we still listen to music on radio and buy recordings of music for our own personal enjoyment. Music, not as a stand-alone-thing but as imbricated in other media cinema, radio and other pleasures dancing, dining out, going to the pub , became part and parcel of the ordinary private and public experience of daily life for everyone. Now and then it produced a moment of shared delight across all sectors of society as in when everyone was doing The Lambeth Walk, a song from a musical hit of , made into a film two years later.

Related Papers. The Spectre of 'Americanisation': Assessing the impact of America on British leisure between the wars. By Mike Huggins. By John C Mullen.

James J. Nott

Domestic space, music technology and the emergence of solitary listening: Tracing the roots of solipsistic sound culture in the digital age Swedish journal of music research, forthcoming By Tobias Pontara. Brazilian Blowout As the free music for the people popular music and reports to protect and see, the state of martial debit students has to do.

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There has a 9th processing you'll Thank a aggressive hand bed F in the depicting night. Radio and the gramophone privatised the experience of listening to music. In different ways both displaced the age-old public culture of music-as-live- performance in which players and audience were inseparable component parts of the musical event. What, then, happened to performed music? How did musicians make a living? What did people like to listen to?

What influenced musical tastes?

Music for the People: Popular Music and Dance in Interwar Britain by James Nott

What changed them? And what about America? And jazz? What was it like, going to the dance hall? And so on. These questions by no means exhaust the relevant issues for consideration in the study of the social history of music in the early decades of the last century and indicate something of its diversity and complexity.

Music for the People

Contemporaries were stunned by the ubiquitous sounds of all sorts of music in all sorts of places; in the home and outdoors on radio and the gramophone, in cinemas, cafes, seaside piers, pavilions in public gardens, concert halls, dance halls, town halls, hotels and other venues all over the country. Was it meaningful, before the 2 nd World War, to speak of popular music as if it had a recognisable unity and coherence? The book is organised into two main sections in which he reviews firstly the growth of the music industry radio, gramophone and cinema followed by the rise of dance music.

Many feared that the radio and gramophone would destroy live music. They certainly had a devastating impact on sales of pianos for domestic use and the older culture of music in the home, in which family members performed and sang for their own entertainment, collapsed.

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However, dance music—a new form of participatory music-in-public—emerged at the same time to define the popular music of the 20s and 30s. Dancing was enjoyed by all social classes. By 2 million people a week regularly went dancing: the nobs danced to the top radio bands of the day in smart West End London hotels and restaurants while the masses crowded onto the dance floors of the Hammersmith Palais—the first purpose-built public venue for dancing it opened in —and the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool.

The best known bandleaders were household names, part of an emerging celebrity culture, fuelled by magazines such as Radio Pictorial and Picture Post. Some of these developments have already been quite thoroughly examined, particularly cinema and radio.