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Tin Pan Alley music refers to music that was played between the late nineteenth century and the twentieth century. It was characterized by the furious sounds of pianos playing in the background. This was because of the song plungers who introduced the songs to their producers. This genre of music got its name from the place where it originated from which is the 28th Street between Fifth Avenue and Broadway in the early 20th century; around Broadway and 32nd Street in the 1920s; and ultimately on Broadway between 42nd and 50th streets. Many other streets have been named Tin Pan Alley due to their large numbers of music shops and production areas, for example, the British Tin Pan Alley which still holds its name to date (Scheurer, 1989).
The Tin Pan genre of music started when there was no legislation or copyrights issues preventing a person from taking another person’s composition and passing it off as their original production. However, that changed in the mid nineteenth century when melodies copyright controls took over and enforced the rules. This prompted the writers, singers and even producers to work together for the sake of mutual benefits. However, as time went by the industry started adopting other genres of music such as ragtime music, jazz, blues and cakewalk and incorporating them into their productions. However, since Tin Pan Music was meant to bring up those artists who could not perform for big print companies, they produced jazzy, dance numbers and blues instead. After awhile people could not tell the difference between Tin Pan and the original thing, so it died.
The significant contributions that Tin Pan Alley Music have had on popular music today
The Tin Pan genre has had significant contributions to current popular music in the twentieth century. Taking for instance the rock genre of music; it has a large listener base and some categories in it are symbolized by loud instrumental overtures between the vocals. This ‘loud’ aspect can be said to be borrowed from Tin Pan. This aspect in both cases is meant to bring out the highly emotional characteristic of both genres. Tin Pan also has brought the aspect of genre fusion in current music. Modern musicians like Michael Bubble have fused jazz with rhythm and blues also known as R & B to create music in the category smooth jazz that is quite rich in the Tin Pan form. This ‘borrowing’ technique covers the genre’s characteristics and has given birth of a new age of good music that caters for all human emotions (Scheurer, 1989).
In a way, Tin Pan has created a way for lovers of specific genres to relate with the other genres. This enhances awareness of upcoming musicians, bringing to light their abilities to the current music career. Jazz in the modern era of music has taken in ragtime and bop thereby incorporating the use of electric guitars and switching between the use of bass guitars and cellos in music compositions. Fusion of rock with contemporary jazz music using saxophones and in some cases violins and cellos to provide the back up in the music.