The Voices That are Gone

The Voices That are Gone : Themes in Nineteenth-Century American Popular Song

3.5 (2 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Electronic book text
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Description

In this unique and readable study, Jon Finson views the mores and values of nineteenth-century Americans as they appear in their popular songs. Presenting a guided tour of topically arranged, select songs, he points out the most important landmarks, as well as lesser sights that provide color and context, and obscure but treasurable parts of the scenery previously overlooked. Setting forth lyricists' and composers' notions of courtship, technology, death, African Americans, Native Americans, and European ethnicity, Finson explores the interaction between musical style and lyrics within each topic, offering a vivid and novel portrait of nineteenth-century America. The composers discussed in the book range from Henry Russell ("Woodman! Spare That Tree!"), Stephen Foster ("Oh! Susanna"), and Dan Emmett ("I Wish I Was in Dixie's Land"), to George M. Cohan, Maude Nugent ("Sweet Rosie O'Grady"), and Gussie Lord Davis ("In the Baggage Coach Ahead"). Readers will recognize songs like "Pop Goes the Weasel, " "The Yellow Rose of Texas, " "The Fountain in the Park, " "After the Ball, " "A Bicycle Built for Two, " and many others which gain significance by being placed in the larger context of American history.show more

Product details

  • Electronic book text | 367 pages
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • 0198022360
  • 9780198022367

Review quote

"Finson's work represents a superior addition to a body of literature..."--American Music"Finson's history of the racial, societal, and theatrical factors that went into minstrel show stereotypes is a brilliant and perceptive overview....he arranges it in a framework that enlarges and brightens our understanding of the human forces at play in the fields of song."--Notesshow more

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