turn of the century, the average worker earned twenty-two cents an
hour. Sheet music and player pianos began selling in substantial
quantities. Sheet music in the 1890s was expensive and it was common
to find a copy of a popular song selling for as much as two dollars.
After 1900, cheaper ways to print music were found and gradually booming
sales brought along the twenty-five cent song sheet.
In 1899, Scott
Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag" became the first Ragtime
to become a sheet music best-seller, detonating an explosion which made
Ragtime the big noise in American music.
flourished in Storyville,
the red light district in New Orleans. Buddy
Bolden is often credited for being the first of the great Jazz figures
-- "the blowingest man since Gabriel." He ushered in an era which
saw a long succession of artists who helped make New
Orleans the capitol of Jazz.
Roll Morton's musical history began in 1902 when he was seventeen and
visited one of New Orlean's more celebrated night spots.
and gramophones were making their way into the home. At first,
all sound recordings were made by the acoustic
process, without amplification or electricity. The musician had
to play or sing directly into the recording horn. Electric recording
with microphones and amplifiers replaced the acoustic process after 1925.
shows in the late 19th and early 20th centuries provided exposure for
mountain music. The good doctor sold sure-fire cures for ailments
to the sound of southern rural musicians turning Anglo-Irish ballads into
a uniquely American music. The hillbilly
music heard at barn raisings, quilting parties, log rollings, and fiddle
conventions was soon to become (with the help of radio in the 1920s) the
multi-million dollar Country Music Industry.
The ragtime music from New Orleans and St. Louis
exploded at the end of the decade, influencing the likes of Irving
Berlin who said, "Syncopation is the soul of every true American. Ragtime
is the best heart-raiser and worry-banisher I know."