Title

The Role of Serious Music in the Development of American Radio, 1920-1938

Date of Award

8-1-1969

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Communication Sciences & Disorders

Abstract

Before the advent of broadcasting in 1920, well- performed, serious music was a monopoly of large population centers. Except for tne phonograph, the repertoire cf which was extremely limited and flawed by technical inadequacies, most Americans had little opportunity to hear good music. From its beginnings, radio depended on music for a large part of its programming. Initially the repertoire differed little from that of the phonograph, but wit.2 the establishment of the networks in 1926/192?, the ser:.ous-music repertoire expanded to include full-length works from the baroque through the contemporary periods. Conductors like Bamrosch, Howard Barlow, Stokowski, and Toscanini, among ethers, introduced Americans to the world of serious music.

At the outset it seemed to many artists and their managers, as well 8. 3 O the phonograph and musical-instru- menr industries, that radio would destroy their means of livelihood. Temporary setbacks occurred in some of these, because of the public's great enthusiasm for the novelty of. the new medium. But within a very few years, all of those groups experienced new prosperity, largely because of the interest in serious music stimulated by radio.

The establishment of the NBC Symphony at the end of tie period under study demonstrated the new importance of serious :au .c in American life.

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