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First choose one recording from the “Tin-Pan Alley” playlist and analyze what you hear in detail. Treat two elements of the song separately: composition, and interpretation.
Composition: What is the form of the song, and how would you describe the difference between one part of the form and another? Please describe the song in detail, focusing on the sung melody. Do the lyrics of the song and its melody, seem to confirm any of what we have learned in class about the jazz age, or (optionally) the ideas in Lawrence Levine’s discussion of the culture of 1930s?
Interpretation: How is the song interpreted? Do the feelings or expressions of the singer change in any way from one part of the song to another, helping to reinforce your sense of the whole song’s meaning? Try to recognize any aspects of the song that are treated in a special way in the recording you’ve chosen — it may be helpful to find other versions of the song, in order to grasp what elements are common across all interpretations, as opposed to those that are unique to the interpretation you’re analyzing.
Second, making reference to Melnick’s (2001) “Tin Pan Alley and the Black-Jewish Nation” Download “Tin Pan Alley and the Black-Jewish Nation” and concepts in either the Barker and Taylor chapter from our Unit 1 reading or the Lawrence Levine article about the culture of the 1930s Download Lawrence Levine article about the culture of the 1930s(which is an optional reading), as well as concepts outlined in the lectures, consider the 1920s or 1930s audiences to which the song as a whole tries to appeal. Does the song seem to suggest any universal ideals about the civic character of the United States and its citizens? Is its relationship to happiness, loss, love, or other emotions nostalgic, or progressive, sentimental, ironic, reactionary? Does the music, or its interpretation, inflect those emotions in one way or another?