MTSU’s Center for Popular Music is celebrating the university’s centennial year with an ear toward 100 years of sound with a special new exhibit: “1911: The Year in Song.”
In 1911 pianos were thumping out the syncopated, “ragged” rhythms of ragtime, and American youths were a-swoon over a veritable zoo of “animal dances” – the “turkey trot,” “crab step,” “kangaroo dip,” “snake,” “bunny hug” and “grizzly bear.”
Phonograph records were selling by the millions, and Tin Pan Alley music publishers and songwriters churned out hit after hit to be enjoyed both in music halls and at the piano in the family parlor.
Drop by MTSU’s Center for Popular Music, located in Room 140 of the Bragg Mass Communication Building on campus, and learn:
• how “Tin Pan Alley” got its name;
• the title of the most popular song of 1911;
• the connections between the music of 1911, John Wayne and Elvis Presley; and
• why pink was the fashion color of the year, along with more.
“As usual, the music of the day reveals much about what mattered most to the people of that time,” said CPM Director Dale Cockrell.
Created in July 1985 to serve and preserve the study of American popular music as one of 16 Centers of Excellence across the Tennessee Board of Regents system, the Center for Popular Music has become the largest and oldest research facility of its kind in the world.
The collection includes sheet music and broadsides, rare music books, sound recordings, music trade catalogs, periodicals, performance documents, manuscripts and photographs ranging as far back as the early 1700s. The center specializes in rock and roll and its roots, the various forms of vernacular religious music and the music of Tennessee and the Southeast.
Exhibit hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information about this new exhibit or the Center for Popular Music, visit popmusic.mtsu.edu or call 615-898-2449.