Browse Items (18 total)

  • Tags: Plays Well With Others: Sharing Music from 1840-Present

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WiFi, or wireless fidelity, may be the most physically—yet virtually—ubiquitous technology we use to experience music. Today, with streaming services, one can listen to music without even downloading it to one’s phone, as long as one has a WiFi…
Item Type: Technology

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Cassettes are constructed from two spools inside a plastic casing. Between the two spools is wound a flat plastic tape that is coated with ferric oxide. Once this tape is magnetized, it remains magnetized for as long as the cassette remains intact.…
Item Type: Technology

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Thomas Edison invented the phonograph in 1887 by connecting a thin membrane to a needle, which touched a cylinder covered with tin foil, prompting sound waves connected to a diaphragm. This process would move the needle which would then carve…
Item Type: Technology

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By the late 1920s, more than 60% of Americans owned radios. An instrument featured as prominently in the home as the square grand piano once was, the radio became the center of family life in living rooms around the country. By 1940, there were 765…
Item Type: Technology

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The jukebox is much older than one might assume. In 1887, Louis Glass, who owned a gin joint in San Francisco, thought to combine Thomas Edison’s Class M electric phonograph with a showy oak cabinet, and the jukebox was born. This technology did not…
Item Type: Technology

square piano.jpg
Approximately 300 years ago, Bartolomeo Cristofori combined the hammered dulcimer with the harpsichord to create the pianoforte. In 1760, a piano was built were shaped like a rectangle, which would evolve in the 19th century into the square grand…
Item Type: Technology

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Embroiled in a copyright battle with the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for almost four years, Limewire finally lost, and subsequently shut down. The last popular file sharing site to be ousted, Limewire gave way to the current era…
Item Type: Event

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Total Request Live (TRL) accepts viewers' votes, at first through phone calls and by 2001 online, to determine the top 10 music videos of the day. Young people were very much in charge of the kind of music they wanted to hear--as long as those…
Item Type: Event

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CBGB, heralded (by many, contested by just as many) as the birthplace of punk, only accidentally became one of the most visible breeding grounds for the burgeoning genre. Originally intended to be a "Country, Blue Grass, Blues" venue, the club…
Item Type: Event

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No history of musical influence, cliche be damned, would be complete without the Beatles. Their influence on youth culture in Britain and in America, politicized rock music, and (somehow) seemingly universal appeal revealed a shift in the way young…
Item Type: Event

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In 1955, Chuck Berry was signed to major label Chess Records. He recorded a version of "Ida Red" that would then become "Maybellene," which reached #5 on Billboard's overall chart and #1 for R&B. But R&B would prove retrospectively to be a misnomer:…
Item Type: Event

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With the end of WWII came a new class of consumers. Young people began to benefit from a time of great economic prosperity, particulalry as a result of the Employment Act of 1946. The act provided the opportunity for employment to anyone "able,…
Item Type: Event

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Under Mayor Jimmy Walker, the New York City legislature passed the Cabaret Law, preventing three or more persons from dancing in any given club or bar at one time. Establishments could apply for a license, but these were hard to come by. Purported to…
Item Type: Event

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In January 1920, the 18th Amendment, prohibiting the sale and distribution of alcohol, went into effect. During this period of Prohibition, businessmen, mobsters and opportunists alike established speakeasies so that any savvy American might find a…
Item Type: Event

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Because of the economic boom caused by America's entrance into World War I, many black Americans moved from the South to northern cities, looking for employment and better quality of life. This period, from 1914 to 1970, respectively, is referred to…
Item Type: Event

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One of the first black men to open his own establishment in antebellum New York City, Pete Williams' dance hall is said to have birthed what we know to be modern tap dancing. At Almack's Dance Hall, located in the Five Points district of Lower…
Item Type: Event

Originally located on 39th and Broadway in New York CIty, the Met was founded by wealthy businessmen who wanted their own theater. As opposed to musical theaters, the Met remained an institution for the upper class, performing operas in only Italian…
Item Type: Event

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In 1920, Jack Johnson, the world’s first African-American heavyweight boxing champion, opened a club on 125th Street in Harlem. This club (Club De Luxe) would become one of the most infamous speakeasies of the Prohibition era. In 1923, Owney Madden,…
Item Type: Technology
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