Master's Thesis published in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Master of Music History and Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Published May, 2013
Advisor: Dr. Gillian Rodger
A thorough exploration of a selected information object, this work explores how the forces of Tin Pan Alley song writing and publishing, phonograph and radio marketing, and regional tastes in dance music came together, giving birth to the style known today as western swing. The work examines a single 78 record for content and contributors and features a full score transcription (with parts).
Abstract: This thesis presents a full-score transcription of a recording of a string band performing a Tin Pan Alley song. Context is established through a review of events leading up to the recording, focusing on contributions by key personnel. Decca 5158-B, Who's Sorry Now? by Milton Brown and His Musical Brownies is today regarded as western swing, but the style is hardly comparable to the slick, highly arranged sound of western swing orchestras from the late 1940s and early 50s. The Brownies were a Texas fiddle band playing mostly pop and jazz standards, not the cowboy and western themed repertory of later western swing bands. The Brownies played dance music on the radio and in dance halls during the Depression, and there was not time in their lives to devote to planning intricate chord progressions and solos. They achieved their excellence by doing it - over and over and over again, six days a week, four hours a day, for more than four years. Unarranged and spontaneous, this record is a three minute snapshot of a hot fiddle band doing what they did best, playing hard-driving dance music.
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