Influence of MusicInspirationMusic Star StudiosNashville Area Music EventsPiano LessonsVoice LessonsCelebrating Nashville’s Songwriting Tradition: Tin Pan Alley

March 26, 2015by emilylowe

This week in Nashville we are celebrating Tin Pan South Festival, where you can catch some of the best songwriters Nashville has to offer all around town. But where did Tin Pan South come from?

Celebrating Nashville’s Songwriting Tradition: Tin Pan Alley

This week in Nashville we are celebrating Tin Pan South Festival, where you can catch some of the best songwriters Nashville has to offer all around town. 

But where did Tin Pan South come from? The name comes from Tin Pan Alley which was used to describe a collection of music publishers in New York City who dominated the popular music of the 19th and 20th centuries. Specifically, it refers to West 28th Street between 5th and 6th Avenue in Manhattan, and today there is a plaque on the sidewalk between Broadway and 6th avenue to commemorate the area.

Tin Pan Alley dates back to 1885, when many music publishing houses set up shop in the same district of Manhattan. However, the end of Tin Pan Alley is less clear. Some people say Tin Pan Alley’s heyday ended at the end of the Great Depression, with the advent of the phonograph and printed sheet music, while some say the 1950s and the advent of Rock n’ Roll ended Tin Pan Alley.

The “tin pan” in Tin Pan Alley is both a derogatory reference to the sound of pianos resembling the banging of tin pans and also refers to the the way songwriters modified pianos to make them sound more percussive. Today, however, Tin Pan is a term used to describe any high concentration within a major metropolitan area of music publishers or music instrument stores, which is why our little festival is called Tin Pan South! 

 

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