This is the definitive work on the great songwriters who dominated the classical era of American popular music. Uniquely analytical yet engagingly informal, the book draws on over 700 musical examples to demonstrate the melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic qualities that distinguish American popular music and transformed it into an authentic art form.Tracing its roots to 1890s ragtime, Wilder shows how the American style was incorporated into mainstream popular music and developed into the brilliantly inventive, and often musically subtle, crowd-pleasers of Kern, Berlin, Porter, Gershwin, and Rodgers.
"A bible for all song-freaks, it includes a long chapter on Rodgers that backs up enthusiasm with analysis." - BBC Music Magazine, December 1999
"'American Popular Song-The Great Innovators 1900-1950 by Alec Wilder, recently republished by Oxford University Press (Price #17.50 and worth every penny)'
National Youth Jazz Orchestra, Spring/Summer 1993"