What the Great American Songbook Foundation wants to achieve

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The Great American Songbook foundation was founded in the year 2007. It is not for profit organization and it is meant to preserve and to promote the music found in the Great American songbook. It is found at The Center or Performing Arts campus, at Carmel in Indiana. The administrative offices for Songbook Foundation are found in The Palladium of Gallery level. This is a concert hall of 1600 seat that was opened in the 2011. The name was changed thought the votes of the Board of Directors to the Great American Foundation in the year 2014. A goal for the songbook foundation is to educate and to inspire by celebrating the songbook. Many memebers had their ACLS certification online and also many had been instructors in ACLS certification in the past.

The organization started with Michael Feinstein based on his interest and the knowledge he has in the Songbook. When Michael was appointed to be the artistic Director of Focus for the Performing arts in 2009, this organization changed the headquarters and moved to the ACLS online courses to a campus.

The administrative headquarters has a listening room, a study, a reference library and archival storage space. Others are the exhibit space with the Songbook Gallery where interactive presentations take place. The foundation is looking to build the free standing museum at the campus with more programming, instructional and exhibit space.

The foundation has four employees who work on the full time. Their assistants are volunteers who are guides of the Songbook Gallery with ten collections assistant to assist the archivist of the preservation efforts of the foundation. The Board of Directors has 22 members around the entire world.

The foundation offers many programs about the significance and the history behind the Songbook and it can be accessed by the public. Songbook Gallery host different exhibits and over 3500 visitors visit the area every year. The exhibits offer the guests the chance to view the songbook in entertaining and educational manner. The foundation offers the corresponding programs and the guided tour for school, professional and civic organizations.

Songbook film series is the results of the partnership between the foundation and Heartland film together with The Center for The Performing Arts. They present the musical in classical movies and they are available to the public as well. This helps to cultivate the new generation for the movie lovers. There are screenings where guest speakers are invited and they give more information to the audience about the nature or the creation of the movies that have to be shown.

The Great American Songbook Hall of Fame was started to give the tribute to the personalities and the people who had contributed a great deal to the genre in the songbook, to memorializing the lyricists, performers and composers and who had contributed to the history behind the Songbook. The artists have to be nominated and then selected according to the set criteria. The foundation is also in charge of Songbook Academy. This is a vocal competition where participants have to sing the songs from the great american songbook.

Songbook academy is meant to uphold the values of Great American Songbook

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The Songbook Academy offers the singers at high school the opportunity of to learn from the best in the music industry professionals and top educators. The students are able to experience the unique culture in the America music first hand from the Great American Songbook.

The Songbook academy wants to celebrate the American Popular music’s golden age. The program is designed for the high schools students and it dedicated the music played from Tin Pan Alley era and from Hollywood and Broadway musicals. Songwriters who contributed to the great american songbook were able to translate optimistic spirit and positive values in the Soundtrack for the American life. Such values are still applicable to the life today as it was in the past.

The program wants to foster young people who have the interest in the American Songbook music like popular music, Jazz standards and classic Broadway. The students are going to have an opportunity in participating in the master classes and workshop where they can be taught on different topics with music educators from top music university with theatre programs around the country. The teachers also include Grammy award winners, performers and musical directors.

For the students to attend the Songbook academy they have to be resident of United States and they should submit two recording of two songs found in great american songbook. The songs should be contrasting one another. The application will be judged by the panel of industry professionals and music educators who will give each applicant a written feedback. Around 40 students are going to be chosen so that they may attend the academy. They will meet in Carmel, IN and they will be mentored and also evaluated. The teaching lasts for 7 days and the students are going to be taught how to perform and interpret music found in Great American Songbook.

When the student applies, he will be able to learn from the master classes and workshop under the best mentors such as Emmy winners, Grammy winners and veteran from Broadway. The topics in the workshop include phrasing and lyrics, vocal health, vocal technique, stage presence, song interpretation, entertainment business, business end, improvisation, image day and Songbook 101 with audition.

The student will get a chance of performing at state of the art stage with perfect acoustic called Palladium Concert Hall and the audience is more than 1,000 people. He can perform to the world class mentors so that he can receive their feedback with advices. There are many opportunities for the students to perform for different audience while in the week of the Songbook Academy. There are many opportunities of performing and participating in other events of Songbook. The student gets a chance of connecting with other students who have the same passion. He can build the network of the professionals or university contacts. The students will be able to be in the alumni of the Songbook Academy and they will be connected to the mentors or peers and they will be able to learn about future opportunities.   The participant also gets the Great American Songbook Youth Ambassador Award.

The history behind the Great American Songbook

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Great American Songbook is the book which represents the popular songs in America and it was written in the first half of the 20th century. The music publishing industry of that time hired reputable songwriter and was the one to publish the songbook. So that they may increase the sales of sheet music, such industry was plugging the music in venues where it was able to get the exposure like in dance bands, jazz, theaters and vaudevilles and afterwards, they started with film and radio. The period that started in 1900 to 1950 saw many songs written and copyrighted and this period was known as the golden age of the American popular songs and the most memorable songs were written in the 1920 to 1950.

Such songs had many attributes in common and one of these attributes was 32 measures for their length and the only exception was Harold Arlen. Other attributes were the AABA form, introduction which was in a recitative style which was called lyric or verse. The subject matter of such songs is limited and most of the time the songs were about the ballads about the love such as the love that was found, which was lost or which is being searched for. There were also the syncopated tunes that were embracing the joys of life, music or dancing. Sometime the songs were playful or witty the Cole Porter’s songs or they were elegant like the lyrics of Dorothy Fields. The composers invented the ear worm melodic that was able to stick in the earl of the listener and this increased the sales of the sheet music. The composer played with the chromatic and pentatonic creation over the harmonic subtleties and winding modulations. Such popular tunes were crafted and the same time catchy.

The roots of the great american songbook are found in the publishing firms of music that had headquarters in Manhattan. Before the year 1890, the publishers of the music were local printers, music storeowners and classical publishers. Such music was being sold in the stores or was sold by travelling salesmen. There are some of the salesmen who found out that they can make more when they write better songs and they can easily make better profits. This is how they started to write, to publish and to sell own songs. This is how publishing houses that were song-driven had started. The main goal of the publisher became selling the sheet music and this had to be achieved by making the songs that were selling out faster and which had a large audience. The publishers started to hire the songwriters’ stables and own musicians so that they can act like pluggers of their songs. This was the first job that was held by Jerome Kern. The performers in the vaudevilles, theaters and bands were being given cheap copies of newsprint of music so that they can use them within such shows. The vaudeville troops were picking up new songs from the publisher before they went to new tours and this meant greater audience and it increased the sales of the sheet music.

American Songbook include timeless songs

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Many people agree that it is important to preserve the Great American Songbook’s legacy since it reflects the ideals, diversity and passion of their musical heritage. It is taken as the best tool to teach the children about songwriting art and to be able to appreciate the songs that are available by learning how the songs had evolved throughout the years. The songwriter should also learn about the fundamentals of the songs so that he may build on them. There is no perfect way to learn such fundamentals than using the Great American Songbook.

The songs in the Great American Songbook are known to be timeless. They are considered to be jazz standards and they were immortalized in the musicals of Hollywood and Broadway and they are still been given the honor up to now by contemporary singers.

The song in the book where written with phrasing which have the same rhymes, witty and snappy lyrics. It was proven that if lyrics rhyme, they are easy to remember and this is why such songs have always been with the people from a generation to a new one and why such songs had been important in teaching the music now. There are many organizations and foundations who work towards the preservation of these songs and they encourage the learning of such songs in the concert or schools and other media. The songs have become important about what the songwriting and music is and it has an important part in the musical history.

The singers of the songs found in the Great American Songbook started to sing, performed or recorded some parts of the book around 1930. Lee Wiley had been one of the first people who recorded some collection of the book together with other songwriting team. Such as Ira Gershwin with George Gershwin who were followed by Cole Porter in the 1940, Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers in 1940 year, Harold Arlen in 1943 year, Irving Berlin in 1951 year with Vincent Youmans in 1951 year. Michael Feinstein has became the dedicated preservationist, revivalist, archivist and a proponent of the Great American Songbook from the year 1970s.

Other people such as Ella Filtzgelard collated the songs from the book when it was still called Songbook. There are also some people who interpreted the songs afterwards. In the 20th century, some contemporary singers revived the songs from the Great American Songbook like Ringo Starr who produced Sentimental Journey album that had 12 standard songs from different musicians. Harry Nilsson, at singer and a songwriter who won a Grammy, in the 1973 produced another album of 12 songs known as The Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night and they were arranged by Gordon Jenkins. The album was then issued at a CD in the year 1988. There are many other singers who recorded the songs and they became successful while some became top hits. Michael Parkinson, a British broadcaster has a part of a program on BBC Radio 2 called Parkinson’s Sunday Supplement and it aired the 1996-1996 which was devoted to such songs.

The attributes of the songs in the Great American Songbook

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Great American Songbook is also called the American Standards. It is a canon of the most influential and important jazz standards and popular songs from the 20th century. It has the enduring and most popular songs of 1920s to 1950s. They were created for the Hollywood musical films, musical theater and broadway theater. They were recorded and also performed by many people such as the jazz musicians, instrumental band and singers. The standard songs in the book are from Irving Berlin, Cole Porter and George Gershwin. Others are Richard Rodgers, Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen and Jerome Kern. Even if such songs had been always popular with the jazz and traditional singers, the interest in the great american songbook started again in the 1970s. This had lead to recording of such songs by contemporary pop and rock singers.

The songs in the book are considered to be America’s classical music because they have the value that lasts forever in terms of the details of their composition, phrasing, musical content and structure. The threat that was given to these songs is when it took time when only these songs were played and there were no new songs that were being introduced.

Even if the songs had narrow ranges for its moods or topics, the songs are known to specialize in the urbane and witty lyrics and they use unexpected rhymes. Such songwriter can combine the memorable melodies that are ranged from the pentatonic, great harmonic subtlety or winding modulations.

Many songs that are found in the Great American Songbook are known to be in the form of thirty-two bar. There are many that have been composed to be played in the musicals and the original songs had a verse to act as the introductory sectional. A sectional verse in the musical is an introduction verse which normally uses free musical structure in the rhythm which is speech like and it is delivered in rubato. Such sectional verse was serving as a way of leading the people from the realist context of their surroundings to the artificial world that the song portrays. It had normally the lyrics in the characters and it was making the reference on the plot of musical in which a song had been written for.

The song itself will be a 32- bar ABAC or AABA form and the lyrics may refer to the timeless themes or situations such as love’s vicissitudes. Such universality was able to make it easier for the songs to be subtracted or even added in the show or to be revived in a new show. Some songs that had been written while using an introductory sectional verse are now performed in full together with its introduction. When a song has a sectional verse, most of the time it is dropped when the song is being performed in other context than its original setup and movies. The sectional verse can be sung or not depending on the person who sings the song and why the song is being sung. Some perform with the sectional verse while others may not because of their reasons.