George Upton's "Women in Music" is the "first of many articles and reviews by prominent male critics which sought to trivialize and undermine the achievements of what was considered an alarming number of new women composers in the realm of 'serious' classical music".
Music and Some Highly Musical People: Remarkable Musicians of the Colored Race, With Portraits, by James M. Trotter is the first revisionist look at the minstrel show, chronicling the "extraordinary breadth of black musicianship".
Tony Pastor becomes an established theater owner on 14th Street in New York City, where he becomes the first person "to bid... for women customers in the variety theater", bringing that field out of "disreputable saloons" and transforming it "into decent entertainment that respectable women could enjoy".
John Slocum, who began preaching revelations the year before, is seen as being healed by his wife Mary's prayers; the Slocums' followers come to create the Shaker Church, of which music is an integral part.
F. L. Ritter publishes the first comprehensive music history of the United States, Music in America.
A Hawaiian schoolboy named Joseph Kekuku is credited with inventing the Hawaiian guitar, in which strings are melodically picked and stopped by a metal bar, with the guitar held across the lap.
(Approximate) Wovoka, a medicine man of the Northern Paiute, articulates the messianic message of the Ghost Dance spiritual movement, which fused Christian (particularly Presbyterian and Mormon) teachings with those of Wovoka's father, Ta'vibo, which revolved around traditionalism and resurrection.
The Dawes Act establishes the reservation system and distributes land to Native American families, destroying the traditional social setup of many indigenous cultures, leading to a reduction in traditional music and dance.
W. S. B. Matthews' A Hundred Years of Music in America is the first attempt at a history of "popular and the higher music education" in the country; it hails Lowell Mason as the founder of American music.
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra forms, with income from backers who pledged $1000 for each of three years. The backers formed an Orchestral Association, which hired a music director. Many cities subsequently used the same model, including Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Minneapolis.
Carnegie Hall is built in New York City as a venue for classical performances. It will become the foremost concert stage in the city.
Changes in copyright law under the International Copyright Act of 1891 make it impossible to publish foreign music without payment to the original composer or publisher. This stimulates the establishment of American subsidiaries of foreign publishing companies.
A Trip to Chinatown is first published; it can be considered one of the first examples of American musical theater, as it consists of a single plot that the entire production revolves around.
Papa Jack Laine, a white drummer and saxophonist from New Orleans, claims that he is the first to use the first saxophone in the proto-jazz bands of New Orleans. He is sometimes said to have formed the first ragtime band as well. Laine is considered one of the first white jazz musicians.
John Philip Sousa forms a band that set a new standard for American professional bands, having left the U.S. Marine Band. He and his band will be the most prominent and influential professional symphonic group at the peak of popularity for bands of that sort.
Charles K. Harris premiers "After the Ball", a waltz typical of the time, which is said to be the most popular song of the decade, and the biggest hit of the century. It is interpolated into a play, and the sheet music is said to have sold more than five million copies.
Harry Lawrence Freeman becomes the first African American to have an opera he wrote produced, his first work, Epthelia. He will become known for combining secular and sacred African American music with traditional Western opera.
Early 1890s music trends
Irish-American dominance in musical theater ends.
The World's Columbian Exposition, a watershed in American culture, attracts attention to the Chicago ragtime scene, led by patriarch Plunk Henry and exemplified in performance at the Exposition by Johnny Seymour and Scott Joplin Violinist Joseph Douglass achieves wide recognition after his performance there, and will become the first African American violinist to conduct a transcontinental tour, and the first to tour as a concert violinist. The first Indonesian music performance in the United States is believed to occur at the Exposition. At the same event, an ensemble of musicians with a dancer known as Little Egypt, is the first exposure to Middle Eastern culture for many Americans, while a group of hula dancers leads to an increased awareness of Hawaiian music among Americans throughout the country.
Philosopher Richard Wallaschek sparks the "origins" controversy when he puts forth the claim that African American spirituals are primarily derived from European music. This will not be solved conclusively until the 1960s, when scholars showed that spirituals were "grounded in African-derived music values yet shaped into its distinctiveness as a direct result of the North American sociocultural experience".
The first Chinese opera theater in New York City is opened in Chinatown.
The massacres of numerous Armenians in Turkey leads to the first wave of large-scale Armenian immigration to the United States, and the beginning of Armenian American music.
The public exhibition of motion pictures, almost always with live music played locally, begins.
The bands of John Robichaux and Buddy Bolden in New Orleans become the top dance bands of the era, and frequently competitive, both economically and in actual performances. These bands are a significant precursor of jazz.
The murder of William Lyons by Lee Shelton in St. Louis will inspire a ballad called "Stagger Lee", which will be recording more than 150 times since 1897, making Lee the most prominent criminal in American folk music.
With The Wizard of the Nile, Victor Herbert launches a string of forty successful operettas, several of which have become staples of the American repertoire and produced a "lasting heritage of popular songs".
Ernest Hogan's "All Coons Look Alike to Me" is an immediate hit, and launches a fad for syncopated coon songs that lasts until World War I. The published version carries a caption, describing the second chorus, which is the "earliest association of the word rag (as in ragtime) to instrumental music".
William H. Krell copyrights "Mississippi Rag", the first "published piano piece to include the word rag (as in ragtime) in its title". It is advertised as the first ragtime song. However, Theodore Northrup's "Louisiana Rag", published later in the year, is sometimes considered the first "genuine piano rag".Tom Turpin's "Harlem Rag", the first rag composed by an African American to be published, is also published in this year, and the first ragtime recordings are made by Vess L. Ossman and the Metropolitan Band, while Ben Harney, pianist-composer, publishes the Rag-time Instructor. The first actual use of the word in a popular media ragtime is in a Chicago newspaper article this year.
New Orleans, led by Alderman Story, sets up a prostitution district called Storyville. Musicians gravitate there, and the area becomes a hotbed of innovation and a major part of the origins of jazz.
Henry Sloan, a legendary, little-known bluesman, played the blues as early as this year. He will go on to mentor Charley Patton, one of the earliest bluesmen.
Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag" is published by John Stillwell Stark in Sedalia, Missouri; the song is a "landmark in American music history" and is a great commercial success, unprecedented for a black composer. It remains the most famous and popular piano rag, and "establishe(s) a model for classic ragtime that (will be) emulated by all rag composers interested in serious composition". Since its first publication, Maple Leaf Rag has never been out of print. 
The wildly popular "My Wild Irish Rose" continues the popular Irish song tradition within the United States.
African-English composer Samuel Coleridge-Taylor attends a concert held by the Fisk Jubilee Singers, inspiring him to create a collection of African-derived melodies, arranged for the piano. The Bamboula becomes the most popular, and his works make a "marked impression on the American public, particularly in black communities".
Violinist and cornetist Helen May Butler's Ladies Military Band begins touring, bucking "stereotypes of the time by showing that women could endure the rigors of touring life and lease enough paying customers to survive in the music business".
Charles Ives begins a private career as a composer, forging a new style that was "radically forward-looking in style yet rooted in American musical traditions and celebrating American life." He will become the "most spectacular amateur in musical history".
Enrico Caruso becomes a major star after performing at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. He will be the first internationally renowned performer to realize the full potential of audio recording technology.
The first permanent orchestra is established in Minneapolis.
J. Berni Barbour and N. Clark Smith found the "first relatively permanent (African American) music publishing" company, in Chicago; it is also "probably the first black-owned music publishing company in history".
The United Daughters of the Confederacy of Alabama begin working to change the words to "Dixie", to make them more favorable to the Southern cause. The introduction of new versions at the United Confederate Veterans convention caused an uproar and was denounced as sacrilege. Any hope of changing the words ended when the song's author, Daniel Emmett, died eleven days later.
Most blues performers born before this year generally considered themselves musicians whose repertoire included a wide variety of musical styles; those born later will mostly view themselves as playing a distinct genre.
The first large-scale Filipino immigration to the United States begins, thus beginning the Filipino American musical tradition.
Ernest Hogan creates a vaudeville act that is the "first syncopated music concert in history". The performers are the Memphis Students, organized by James Reese Europe and later led by Will Marion Cook. The show featured a '"dancing conductor", Will Dixon, who danced rhythms to keep the band performing tightly, and the band's drummer, Buddy Gilmore, used unusual noisemaking devices besides drummers. Unorthodox folk instruments are also used in place of the traditional brass and woodwind lineup. The group was the first to "introduce the concept of the 'singing band' to the entertainment world", and performed in a style now known as barbershop music for some songs.
Freddie Keppard becomes bandleader of the Olympia Band, soon becoming one of the most prominent jazz trumpeters in that city. He will later turn down a recording contract, fearing it will make his music too easy to steal; the contract will instead be given to the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, who will become national stars.
The first African American orchestra in the nation to be incorporated is in Philadelphia.
The Victor Talking Machine Company releases the Victrola, the most popular gramophone model until the late 1920s. The Victrola is also the first playback machine containing an internal horn. Victor also erects the world's largest illuminated billboard at the time, on Broadway in New York, to advertise the company's records.
The migration of Japanese-Hawaiians to the mainland United States is banned, preceding a ban on labor emigration in Japan, effectively isolating Japanese Americans on the mainland and in Hawaii, both from each other and from Japan itself.
Florenz Ziegfeld launches the show that will become known as Ziegfeld's Follies, which "enlarged the scope of entertainment with every kind of extravagant presentation, including current topics, comedy routines, and of course, the ever-present gorgeous girls. It will "set the standard and (break) box-office records".
The Copyright Act is passed to secure royalties for composers on the sale of recordings and public performances. It also required publishers of music to allow mechanical reproduction by anybody if they allow any individual to do so; furthermore, the law is the first in American history to intervene directly into the marketplace by setting a price for the use of private property, requiring payment of two cents to the copyright holder from the creator of each piano roll, recording cylinder and phonograph record.
John Lomax publishes a collection of cowboy songs, Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads, a ground-breaking publication that launched his career; he is shortly afterwards elected president of the American Folklore Society. This collection is the first of American folk songs to be printed with the music.
The Mexican Revolution spurs a wave of immigration, mostly to states with large Mexican populations, like Colorado and New Mexico; these immigrants bring with them contemporary Mexican culture and helped to revitalize the indigenous music of the Hispanic Southwest.
Within a week of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, songs have been composed about the disaster, one being a ballad being sold by a black, seemingly blind, preacher to A. E. Perkins.
Cyrus H. K. Curtis gives the first public recital of organ music in the United States, in Portland, Maine.
George Whitefield Chadwick's opera The Padrone is rejected by the Metropolitan Opera on the basis that it was "probably too real to life" in its portrayal of "life among the humble Italians". The opera takes place in "the seamy side of Boston (which) Chadwick was the first to dramatize... musically and realistically". It is among the earliest American operas to present its subject realistically.
John Stillwell Stark publishes Standard High-Class Rags, a collection of ragtime songs arranged for small orchestra. It will eventually become known as The Red-Backed Book of Rags, "and as such it (will be) a wellspring of the 1970s ragtime revival".
The Italian Luigi Russolo publishes L'arte dei rumori, "in which he (views) the evolution of modern music as parallel to that of industrial machinery", a basis for futurism, a movement "identified with technology and the urban-industrial environment... "seeking to enlarge and enrich the domain of sounds in all categories". The foremost proponent of futurism in the United States is Leo Ornstein, who composes Dwarf Suite this year; it is the first of his "anarchistic" and highly dissonant pieces.
James Mundy begins founding community groups in Chicago, and staging "mammoth concerts" at the Coliseum and Orchestra Hall. Choruses led by Mundy and J. Wesley Jones will sing at "all important occasions in Chicago that called for the participation of blacks" into the 1930s, when the duo's choruses attracted wide attention for their rivalry.
"Jelly Roll Blues" by Jelly Roll Morton becomes the first published jazz arrangement. Morton, one of the first jazz pianists, will come to be regarded as "the first true jazz composer" in that he was probably the first to write down his jazz arrangements in musical notation.Clarence Williams claimed to be the first to use the word jazz on sheet music, for the song "Brown Skin, Who You For?", which he described as a "Jazz Song".
Charles Demuth begins a series of jazz-themed paintings that are a "definitive contribution to the early history of jazz.
Tom Brown forms a white band, Brown's Dixieland Jass Band, for the Lamb's Club in Chicago; this dance orchestra was the first group to "formally introduce the music called jazz or jazz" to white Americans. African American ensembles did not use the word jazz consistently until the 1920s.
The Howard Theater.the most prominent African American music venue in Washington, D.C., opens.
African Americans begin moving to northern cities, especially Chicago, in large numbers, bring with them their distinctive forms of music.
Harry T. Burleigh arranges a series of spirituals, artistically composed to fit within the Western classical hymn and aria traditions, in Jubilee Songs of the United States of America. He is the first to arrange a spiritual for solo voice, and is also credited with "starting the practice of closing recitals with a group of spirituals".
English folklorist Cecil Sharp begins collecting Scottish and English folk songs in the southern Appalachian region, and is surprised to discover that the "cult of singing (British) traditional songs is far more alive than it is in England, or has been, for fifty years or more".
The first Lithuanian American song festival is held, predating the first similar festival in Lithuania by eight years.
A bookstore in New York is opened by Myron Surmach, becoming one of the major institutions of the Ukrainian American music industry.
Ernest Bloch comes to America. His subsequent work will mark "the crux of the Hebraic impact in America's art music".
Sherman Clay begins publishing Hawaiian sheet music in San Francisco, greatly improving distribution for Hawaiian music on the mainland, while Ernest Ka'ai publishes a ukulele instruction book, The Ukulele: A Hawaiian Guitar and How to Play It, the first of many to come throughout the following decade.
Nathaniel Clark Smith begins his teaching career at Lincoln High School in Kansas City, Missouri. He will go on to pioneer the African American "master teacher" phenomenon, in which a public school teacher contributes an "enormous amount of time to developing the skills of talented young people". Smith becomes a local legend, and his students include many of the "leading jazz and concert artists" of the mid-20th century.
English folk song collector Cecil Sharp publishes an anthology of songs from western North Carolina, Folk Songs of the Southern Appalachians, with Olive Dame Campbell; this is the "first major scholarly collection of the mountain people's music".
The October Revolution in Russia leads to political change, soon resulting in state support for professional, virtuoso balalaika orchestras; these groups come to be seen as "role models" by similar groups in the United States.
The Supreme Court rules that the "public performance of music contributed to the ability of an establishment to make profits even if no special admission was charged for that music".
With the United States' entry into World War 1, warrior customs among the Plains Native Americans are briefly revived, as many ceremonies and rituals are allowed, after many years of being banned, for the duration of the war.
The Navy shuts down Storyville, the prostitution district of New Orleans, because the Secretary of the Navy believed it threatened the moral integrity of the armed forces; the result is an exodus of black musicians, who had played in the bars and clubs of Storyville, to cities like Memphis and Chicago. Many of the musicians are hired by Northern bands because their style was considered a novelty that is thought to increase an ensemble's commercial potential; the Northerners, however, tended to adopt the "hot", bluesy style themselves.
Leo Sowerby, bandmaster of service bands during World War I composes "Tramping Tune".
The most famous riverboat bandleader of the early jazz era, Fate Marable, forms his first band. He will play with a wealth of well-remembered recording artist, though he will only play on one record, from 1924.
Art Hickman, a San Francisco bandleader, publishes "Rose Room". Hickman and his pianist-arranger, Ferde Grofé, are influential figures, who "are generally given credit for inventing the type of dance band which" dominates American popular music for the first half of the 20th century; they were among the earliest to "write separate music for the reed and brass sections, combining the higher and lower instruments in each section into choirs... for dancing rather than listening." Hickman was also probably the first to hire three saxophones, enabling the use of more complex and richer harmonies.
The wind ensembles that have dominated local community bands since the Civil War begin to decline in importance.
More than 60,000 African Americans from Texas, Arkansas, Alabama, Louisiana and Texas move to Chicago, especially in the city's South Side. The black population boom "ushered in the city's jazz age, widening the market for black musical entertainment", including cabarets, dance halls, and vaudeville and movie theaters.
Tin Pan Alley songwriters capitalize on the Hawaiian music fad, creating songs with thematic elements evoking Hawaii.
Charles Tomlinson Griffes' Sonata for Piano is considered his "most original... most complex and ambitious work", and a "powerfully creative and consistently conceived work that (stands) as a peak for neo-Romantic expression in American music for piano".
Shanewis by Charles Wakefield Cadman is the "most notable" of the Native American-themed operas then popular; it will run for eight shows in two seasons, setting a new American record for opera.
Congress, on the suggestion of General John J. Pershing, authorizes the creation of twenty additional bands for the duration of World War I. Pershing also increases the size of bands to allow for full instrumentation, setting the standard lineup for future military bands, relieves bandsmen of all non-musical duties, and establishes a band school at Chaumont in France.
Popular bandleader James Reese Europe is murdered; he becomes the first African American honored with a public funeral in New York City.
Tin Pan Alley publishes songs that spark a fad for blues-like music; these songs include syncopated foxtrots like "Jazz Me Blues", pop songs that were marketed as blues like "Wabash Blues", as well as actual blues songs.
Prohibition begins, driving the consumption of alcohol into secret clubs and other establishments, many of which became associated with the developing genre of jazz.
The first permanent orchestra is established in Los Angeles.
Carl Seashore's Measures of Musical Talent is a system of assessing musical aptitude that becomes widely adopted but also inspires controversy.
Merle Evans begins leading the Ringling-Barnum Band, becoming the most famous circus bandleader in the country, especially known for leading the other performers with one hand while simultaneously playing the cornet.
Irving Berlin's "You Cannot Make Your Shimmy Shake on Tea" is one of many songs from the era that expressed opposition to Prohibition. Other songs, like "Drivin' Nails in My Coffin (Every Time I Drink a Bottle of Booze)" expressed support for the abolition of alcohol.
James Sylvester Scott publishes three rags, "which are among the most demanding of all published piano ragtime": "New Era Rag", "Troubadour Rag" and "Pegasus: A Classic Rag".
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^Abel, pgs. 50–51; William Lewis Cabell, the United Confederate Veterans' Vice-President denounced it as sacrilegious onstage at the convention, while others voiced similar sentiments to the newsmagazine Confederate Veteran
^ abLoza, Steven. "Hispanic California". The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. pp. 734–753.
^Laing, Dave. "Copyright". The Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World. pp. 481–485.
^Sanjek, David and Will Straw, "The Music Industry", pgs. 256–267, in the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, Sanjek and Straw claim that this was the "first time in the country's history (that a) price for the use of a piece of private property was codified by federal law"
^Clarke, pg. 229; Clarke says that this was the "first time in history that the government intervened directly between supplier and user of a product".
^Some authors, like Upkopodu, pg. 75, call "The Memphis Blues" the first published blues composition.
^Bird, pg. 45, Bird says that Handy began publishing the "first commercial blues"
^Crawford, pg. 546; Crawford points out that this leads to dancing becoming an integral part of popular music in the United States, and that more than 100 new dances were introduced between 1912 and 1914.