America on Record: A History of Recorded Sound

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Cambridge University Press, Oct 27, 1995 - History - 413 pages
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With Thomas Edison's invention of the phonograph, the beautiful music which was the preserve of the wealthy became a mass-produced consumer good - a sound recording - cheap enough to be available to all. In 1877 Edison dreamed that one day there would be a talking machine in every home, but even his legendary vision could not have foreseen the way that recorded sound would pervade modern life. America on Record provides a history of sound recording, from the first thin sheet of tinfoil that was manipulated into retaining sound to the home recordings of rappers in the 1980s and the high tech digital studios of the 1990s. This volume examines the important technical developments, including acoustic, electronic and digital reproduction, cylinder, 78rpm disc, 45 rpm microgroove single and compact disc, while outlining the cultural impact of recorded music and movies. It describes jazz, blues, swing, rock, rap, and film dialogue against the business and technological background of sound recording.
 

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Contents

The inventors
17
A phonograph in every home
37
The international industry of recorded sound
65
The music
80
Recorded sound in the Jazz Age
96
THE ELECTRICAL ERA
113
The machines
115
Competing technologies
136
Perfecting studio recording
285
The cassette culture
313
THE DIGITAL ERA
329
The media conglomerates
331
Into the digital era
346
Abbreviations used in the notes
367
Notes
368
Select discography
393

Empires of sound
158
Swing and the mass audience
176
High fidelity at last
189
Rocknroll and the revolution in music
223
The record
244
The studio
258

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About the author (1995)

Andre Millard is Director of American Studies and Professor of History at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. He is the author of Edison and the Business of Innovation and a contributor to National Public Radio's 'Lost and Found Sound'.

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