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American Popular Song: The Great Innovators, 1900-1950
Copyright - JazzStandards. A composer himself, Wilder draws praise as well as some harsh criticism for his opinions and in some cases his elitist tone. With regard to jazz standards, no other book addresses more songs with concise comments on their melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic characteristics. There are three separate indexes for composers, lyricists, and song titles.
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It has since become the standard work of the great songwriters who dominated popular music in the United States for half a century. Now Wilder's classic is available again, with a new introduction by Gene Lees. Uniquely analytical yet engagingly informal, American Popular Song focuses on the melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic qualities that distinguish American popular music and have made it an authentic art form.