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.