Spring 2017: Denning Abstract

“A Noisy Heaven and a Syncopated Earth”: The Transcolonial Reverberations of Vernacular Phonograph Music
Michael Denning
William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of American Studies and English
Yale University

Reassessing the origins of our musical world, Denning’s presentation will briefly explore the soundscape of “modern times,” the musical and cultural revolution triggered by the worldwide recording of vernacular musics in the years between the development of electrical recording in 1925 and the outset of the Great Depression in the early 1930s. The musical styles and idioms etched onto shellac disks reverberated around the world, igniting the first great battle over popular music, becoming the soundtrack of decolonization, and remaking our musical ear.

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