The Golden Era: Quartets in Show Business and the Music Industry

Gage Averill

in Four Parts, No Waiting

Published in print February 2003 | ISBN: 9780195116724
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199849550 | DOI:

Series: American Musicspheres Series

The Golden Era: Quartets in Show Business and the Music Industry

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  • Ethnomusicology


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The year 1890 was significant for American history not only because this year marks the “Gay Nineties” wherein the country established itself as a global superpower through industrialization, but also because this was when the golden age of American barbershop music started. As America experienced fluctuations in the economy and in military power while having to deal with modernity and pluralism during the Gay Nineties, this decade made pop culture a medium for democratic expression. Despite the threats made to black minstrels by racists, many African American quartets like the Golden Gate, Knickerbocker and Twilight, among others, regularly performed. This chapter also provides a discussion about ragtime, Tin Pan Alley, and how several songs were popularized by vaudeville.

Keywords: Gay Nineties; African American quartets; ragtime; Tin Pan Alley; vaudeville; pop culture; democratic expression

Chapter.  16339 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Ethnomusicology

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