1900s

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At the turn of the century, the average worker earned twenty-two cents an hour.  Sheet music and player pianos began selling in substantial quantities.  Sheet music in the 1890s was expensive and it was common to find a copy of a popular song selling for as much as two dollars.  After 1900, cheaper ways to print music were found and gradually booming sales brought along the twenty-five cent song sheet.

In 1899, Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag" became the first Ragtime composition to become a sheet music best-seller, detonating an explosion which made Ragtime the big noise in American music.

Jazz flourished in Storyville, the red light district in New Orleans.  Buddy Bolden is often credited for being the first of the great Jazz figures -- "the blowingest man since Gabriel."  He ushered in an era which saw a long succession of artists who helped make New Orleans the capitol of Jazz.

Jelly Roll Morton's musical history began in 1902 when he was seventeen and visited one of New Orlean's more celebrated night spots. 

Phonographs and gramophones were making their way into the home.  At first, all sound recordings were made by the acoustic process, without amplification or electricity.  The musician had to play or sing directly into the recording horn.  Electric recording with microphones and amplifiers replaced the acoustic process after 1925.

Medicine shows in the late 19th and early 20th centuries provided exposure for mountain music.  The good doctor sold sure-fire cures for ailments to the sound of southern rural musicians turning Anglo-Irish ballads into a uniquely American music.  The hillbilly music heard at barn raisings, quilting parties, log rollings, and fiddle conventions was soon to become (with the help of radio in the 1920s) the multi-million dollar Country Music Industry.

The ragtime music from New Orleans and St. Louis exploded at the end of the decade, influencing the likes of Irving Berlin who said, "Syncopation is the soul of every true American. Ragtime is the best heart-raiser and worry-banisher I know."


 
MY MUSICAL LIFE
By Carl P. McConnell

Mabel McConnell talks about the Carter Family, Doc & Carl,
The Original Virginia Boys and the early days of radio.-





But for a few twists of fate, Atlanta could easily have grown to be the recording center that Nashville is today.Pickin' on Peachtree traces Atlanta's emergence in the 1920s as a major force in country recording and radio broadcasting, a position of dominance it enjoyed for some forty years. From the Old Time Fiddlers' Conventions and barn dances through the rise of station WSB and other key radio outlets, Wayne W. Daniel thoroughly documents the consolidation of country music as big business in Atlanta. He also profiles a vast array of performers, radio personalities, and recording moguls who transformed the Peachtree city into the nerve center of early country music. More...


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