Chapter

INCONGRUITY AND PREDICTABILITY IN BRITISH DANCE BAND MUSIC OF THE 1920S AND 1930S

Derek B. Scott

in FROM THE EROTIC TO THE DEMONIC

Published in print May 2003 | ISBN: 9780195151961
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199870394 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195151961.003.0005
INCONGRUITY AND PREDICTABILITY IN BRITISH DANCE BAND MUSIC OF THE 1920S AND 1930S

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This chapter is concerned with the ideology of “high” and “low“ art, and how this impacts upon both musical style and reception. Defenses of the popular that relate its value to its historical context often provoke the question: how is it to be valued once its historic moment has passed? The purpose of this chapter is to show how a “popular musicology” might tackle the problem of discussing music once loved but now regarded by many as valueless. To this end, it explores qualitative issues in British dance band music. A critique of musical style needs to take account of incongruity between styles. The argument in Chapter 1 was that modes of representation needed to be related to different styles; here it is argued that the same goes for qualitative values. For instance, what is admired as good singing in one style may not be so perceived in another.

Keywords: high art; ideology; low art; popular; semiology; semiotic; Tin Pan Alley; dance band music

Chapter.  8720 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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