Cover

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Half Title, Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. vii-vii

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Introduction

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pp. 1-14

Appreciations of music arrangers and their work are not unusual in chronicles of American popular music. After acknowledging the more celebrated contributions of composers and performers, observation that much of the music audiences actually hear has been “arranged” by a third party generally doesn’t stir much controversy. ...

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1. Business and Politics: The Landscape

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pp. 15-29

The first three chapters consider the economic, political, and professional landscape of popular-music arrangers working during the Swing Era. Arrangers are often portrayed to represent the business side of music—the individuals responsible for making a piece of music marketable toward a target audience. ...

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2. Ace Race Arranger: The Broadway Music Clinic

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pp. 30-42

Allan McMillan’s February 1936 Chicago Defender feature may be the earliest media documentation of Chappie Willet’s midtown Manhattan office space, known as the Broadway Music Clinic. The offices were located in the Mayfair Theatre Building at 156 West Forty-Fourth Street (still standing as of this writing), just east of Broadway in the Times Square district.2 ...

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3. Harlem on Broadway: Nightclub and Theater Revues

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pp. 43-62

For an ambitious music arranger in Swing Era New York, work at prominent floor-show venues like the Café Zanzibar could offer not only professional prestige, but also substantial cash income. While exact statistics from tax-troubled establishments like the Cotton Club are predictably difficult to obtain (and entertainment reportage details may be skewed in any case), ...

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4. Theory and Practice: The Fundamentals

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pp. 63-87

The next three chapters explore some of the musical techniques and tools favored by Swing Era big band arrangers. Jimmy Dale’s discussion of “theory and practice” is a theme repeated in many accounts of the arranging discipline. Bandleader Kay Kyser claimed that arranging required “study and technical knowledge far beyond that of the average—or even the above-average— ...

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5. Episode and Interlude: Broadway Modernism

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pp. 88-103

Although he may be biased in favor of his field, Broadway theater arranger Robert Russell Bennett highlights the influence of theatrical orchestration on other areas of American popular music, especially Swing Era dance bands. Some musicians even considered work in orchestral theater music to represent a vocational class above that of touring dance bands or nightclub ensembles, ...

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6. Futuristic Ragtime: Style and Identity

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pp. 104-126

Gene Krupa’s statement raises an important issue: what exactly does it mean for an orchestra to “achieve identity,” and how is it being measured? Although the development of a unique repertoire might appear to be an obvious strategy, few bands were willing to risk the abandonment of popular contemporary hits and familiar standards. ...

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7. Heavy Stuff: Classics and Concertos

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pp. 127-148

The next three chapters explore Swing Era concerns of performer identity, arranging style, and popular entertainment genres. Whether the venue was a dance hall, radio studio, or theater stage, well-paced Swing Era music programs required readily identifiable changes in tempo, mood, or formal design. ...

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8. Give Me Some Skin: Novelty Songs and Ballads

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pp. 149-169

The pitch above indicates the thirst of some publishers for the potentially quick-selling, if usually short-lived, “novelty song” compositions that permeated the Swing Era market. Period novelty songs typically present a simple or familiar melody, a standard thirty-two-bar form with few excursions from the tonic key (chord progressions are rarely more complex than “I Got Rhythm”), ...

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9. Jungle Madness: Jazz Dance and Exotic Numbers

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pp. 170-191

Arranger Joe Garland’s instrumental composition “In the Mood”—recorded in its definitive version by Glenn Miller in 1939 (as arranged by Eddie Durham and edited by Miller), and further immortalized in the film The Glenn Miller Story (Universal, 1954)—stood as the archetypal Swing Era dance vehicle in the decades following World War II. ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 192-198

The creative and commercial versatility of jazz and popular music arrangers remains a largely unexplored topic in American music studies. Twentieth-century critics often disparaged the artistic value of music accompanied by visual entertainment, whether Broadway staging or music video. ...

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Acknowledgments and Credits

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pp. 199-204

This publication is generously supported by a Society for American Music publishing subvention award. Research was supported by an American Musicological Society Ora Frishberg Saloman travel award. This project began as a City University of New York (CUNY) doctoral dissertation supported by a Martin E. Segal Dissertation Fellowship, ...

Appendix: The Music of Chappie Willet

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pp. 205-218

List of Abbreviations

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pp. 219-220

Notes

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pp. 221-272

Bibliography

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pp. 273-288

Index

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pp. 289-304

About the Author

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Series Titles

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