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Categorizing SoundGenre and Twentieth-Century Popular Music$
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David Brackett

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520248717

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520248717.001.0001

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Foreign Music and the Emergence of Phonography

Foreign Music and the Emergence of Phonography

(p.41) 2 Foreign Music and the Emergence of Phonography
Categorizing Sound

David Brackett

University of California Press

Chapter two begins around 1900 with a discussion of the United States music industry in the early days of sound recording, which is examined for its impact on the categorization of popular music, and the new possibilities afforded for the circulation of genre-identity relations. The category of “foreign music” emerges in response first to an interest in music of faraway places facilitated by sound recording, and then to the discovery of marketing possibilities to recent European immigrants. The subcategories of Hawaiian and Jewish music are analyzed in more detail to show how foreign music moved from an emphasis on imaginary to homologous music-identity relations by the 1920s. The category of foreign music established a model for how the music industry could be structured around the concept of homological relations (that is, a direct one-to-one correspondence) between categories of music and categories of people.

Keywords:   sound recording, phonography, music industry, foreign music, Hawaiian Music, Jewish music, homology, genre, identity

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