1930's: Great Depression Music
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1930's: Great Depression Music
Music during the time of the Great Depression
Curated by Pretty Denise
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Vocabulary

Helpful Voacb words

 

Pretty Denise's insight:

Infamous-having an extremely bad reputation

Some music was so raw it became infamous.

Broadway-A street in New York City famous for it’s theatres

I wish I could be in Broadway but I can’t sing or act.

Spectator-A person who looks on or watches

The spectator from the radio listened as we performed.

Pervasive-to become spread out through all parts of

Music was a pervasive mean during the depression.

Scat-singing- singing in which the singer substitutes improvised nonsense syllables for the words of a song.

Billie Holiday began to scat sing the words to her song and everyone cheered.

Rampant-growing luxuriantly

Music became rampant when jazz was introduced.

Unabated-with undiminished force, power, or vigor

Duke Ellington unabated the saxophone.

Swing time-A dance were couples swing each into the air

Lucy ran into the room, turned on the radio, and said it’s swing time baby.

Jitterbug-Various types of swing dances

I decided I wanted something more wild so I found a gentleman who could jitterbug.

Broadcasting-transmit by radio or television

When my music becomes famous, I want everyone broadcasting it. 

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Fiction Letter

A letter of an inspiring singer

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October 1932

Dear Ethel,

       Hey it’s your good friend Billie Holiday. I know you probably been womderin’ were I have been all this time. Girl don’t worry I am finally chasing my dreams. Remember back when we was in grade school and I told you I wanted to sing and dance in the big musicals. Well that’s what I’m off to do. I must admit though, it’s been rougher than alligator skin out here.  I started out performing on street corners with some old men, which sounds bad, but they have the most soul I have ever experienced. Then I made it bigger to nightclubs. One of the owners told me “Miss. Billie Holiday you gone make it to be something big, just watch what I tell you.” Being me you know I had the biggest grin on my face. A few months ago I teamed up with a man named Roscoe whose been teaching me to write songs. He says you have to write what you know. All’s I know is about our African American struggles and being single. He says I can sing about all that girl stuff. I just laughed. I was finally able to buy a radio. It isn’t worth much but I can hear all the big shots. You know like Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. I like to listen to Woody Guthrie too. The way he sings and play the guitar just fascinates me. I’m not into folk songs all that much but I think Mr. Woody might change that all. I also like to hear me some Leadbelly from time to time. You know since he represents us we might as well support him. I saw this band on stage one day playing something new. They call it jazz music and they play pianos, bass’, drums, clarinets, trumpets, saxophones, vibraphones, and even the guitar. I know I’m going on and on about stuff you probably don’t know. Please excuse me good friend I just get so excited. I know it probably sounds good but it’s not all gravy all the time. I don’t have a place to stay but no depressing news.

       I apologize for babbling on and on. Please forgive me good friend. How have you been? Wonderful I hope. I know you probably have at least two or three children running behind you by now. And what about a husband? Wow what a joy it must be. Please tell me all details about the married life. I’m still as single as I’ve ever been. And how are your parents? Last time I seen your mother I asked her to give my blessings to you. And your father, he seemed really upset about his money. Which I would be just as upset. Haven’t you heard? Every one tried to turn in their bonds and the banks have simply said no. They refuse. Say there is no more money to give out. That’s real bad for everyone but you know whose gonna get it worse? Us, the African Americans and those Mexican Americans too.  Just the other day I ran into a woman who said her husband was the first to be let go on the job because of his skin color. Then right after that a nice Mexican lady cried to me and told me how her family was being shipped back to Mexico. She told me how they were legal but the states didn’t want them here. I thank God I have some kind of talent. It’s sad though, it really is.

       I must admit sometimes I feel like I’m chasing my dreams. There have been times I have had to jump trains to get to the next state for another chance at a nightclub. All the time I see those dirty men with their hair sticking to them, matted down, and they seem so tired. You know what they call them. They are what you call hobos. I feel so bad for them but I don’t see how when I am in the same place as them. The only difference is I have clean clothes and they don’t.  I can’t even forget about the hoovervilles we pass along the way. I have seen some that are horrible. One of them was falling apart. A family sleeping underneath a tent, it’s just such a horrible thing. But that’s what life has for us. I would have offered some of my food but I struggle enough as is. Singing every now and then when I can get a job, I only make small portions. With that small amount of money, I have to buy food, and find a place to sleep. The costs for these goods are ridiculous. It just hard to live the way people are being forced to live with the dust storms and all.  You remember by brother that went to the army. He’s doing just as bad as us all. The president said they would have all of this extra stuff but it was all false. His wife left him, the house is gone, and he has no were to go.

       But once again on the bright side I am happy about something. I am starting my career. I heard that my music could possibly earn me a spot in a movie. Maybe I could be like Judie Garland in the Wizard of Oz. However I do it just know you will see me one day on the big screen.

                                                  P.S.

                                                          Billie Holiday 

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Primary Document #3: Small’s Paradise ReCreated with Johnny O’Neil, Sachal Vasandani, & Umar Hassan

Primary Document #3: Small’s Paradise ReCreated with Johnny O’Neil, Sachal Vasandani, & Umar Hassan | 1930's: Great Depression Music | Scoop.it
This past Monday 5/7, Revive Music celebrated a night of music inspired by all of the legends that have graced the many historic stages in H
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Historical Website #3: RADIO IN THE 1930's

Historical Website #3: RADIO IN THE 1930's | 1930's: Great Depression Music | Scoop.it
Behind the Dial, The behind the dial website is designed to provide old time radio enthusiasts, and novice users with the valuable and rich backgound of the Zenith Stratosphere Radio, and it's surrounding moment in American history.
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Historical Website #1: Music in the United States in the 1930s

Pretty Denise's insight:

This website simply gives details of famous artist and how the best of music came about during, and even after, the great depression.

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I-Movie:Music of the 1930's

A creative way to share the "Jazz Age"
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Erica Benson's comment, February 5, 2013 8:34 PM
Love all the music you incorporated and so many of the emerging styles of music!
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Primary Document #2: Judy Garland - Over The Rainbow (Subtitiles)

Original Version of Over The Rainbow.... Sing on movie "The Wizard Of OZ"
Pretty Denise's insight:

This primary document is of Judy Garland back in the 1930's in the movie "The Wizard of Oz". This is basicly a symbol of musical movies and "talkies" which made stars like her very popular. If you went to see this movie it probably wouldnt' have the words at the bottom but there would be a lot of singing. I chose this video simply for the fact that this was another popular way of listening to music back in the 30's.

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Primary Document #1: Swing Time - Rogers and Astaire

In this Swing Time clip, Lucky, Astaire, saves Penny's, Rogers, job by showing how much she has taught him. The first true dance number with the two, the oth...
Pretty Denise's insight:

During the 30's music was very important to get over depression. All that anyone did was listen to music. Everyone knows that music comes some silly dance. That is how swing dancing came about. Swing dancing is simply the swinging, flinging, and throwing of dancers. This video shows you how important it was then. I think this video is kind of funny and it connects to music very well.

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Historical Website #2: Jazz History: The Standards (1930s)

Historical Website #2: Jazz History: The Standards (1930s) | 1930's: Great Depression Music | Scoop.it
JazzStandards.com: The premier site for the history and analysis of the standards jazz musicians play the most.
Pretty Denise's insight:

This website is going to give information also about the best atrist, bands, amusicians, and all time favorite songs.

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