Daily Archives: 2015-08-13

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.