Metronome (magazine)

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Metronome
Metronome September 1949
Artie Shaw on the cover of the
September 1949 issue
Categoriesmusic magazine
Founded
January 1885 (Vol. 1, No. 1)
Final issue
December 1961 (Vol. 78, No. 12)
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish

Metronome was a music magazine published from January 1885 to December 1961.[1][2][3]

History[edit]

Founding (1885)[edit]

Bandmaster Arthur Albert Clappé (1850–1920) first published The Metronome in January 1885 for band leaders.[a][4][5] In 1891, Harry Coleman (1845–1895), a Philadelphia music publisher and publisher of a monthly music magazine The Dominant, invited Clappé to become its editor. He accepted, and Carl Fischer (1849–1923) took over The Metronome as publisher until 1914. Violinist Gustav Saenger (1865–1935) succeeded Clappé in 1904 as editor and also continued as editor of the Musical Observer – also published by Fischer. Saenger continued as Metronome's editor until 1928.

Shift towards popular music and jazz (1920s)[edit]

Metronome began to shift away from classical music in the 1920s, when it featured a "Saxophone Department," an instrument family that, by then, had become a symbol of American popular music. In 1932 – Doron Kemp Antrim (1889–1961), editor from 1928 through 1939 – the magazine's tagline read "For Orchestra, Band, Radio and Motion Picture Theatre Musicians."[6]

Edgar Bitner ( Edgar Franklin Bitner; 1877–1939), who headed Leo Feist, Inc., after its founder's death, was, according to author Russell Sanjek, a Tin Pan Alley pioneer, who, with Julius P. Witmark and Nathan Burkan (1878–1936) (a founding father of intellectual property law), was one of ASCAP's honorary pioneer members. As a sideline, after retiring from Feist in 1936, Bitner took over publishing of Metronome and the Musical Courier, both of which his son, Edgar, Jr. (1912–1966), took over after his death.[7][8]

Beginning with the swing era, Metronome focused primarily on the genre of Jazz music appealing to fans. Writers for the magazine were its co-editors, Leonard Feather and Barry Ulanov; Miles Davis cited them as the only two white music critics in New York to understand bebop.[9]

George T. Simon, editor-in-chief from 1939 through 1955, sometimes wrote articles under the pseudonym Jimmy Bracken. He was a drummer. He changed the magazine's focus from articles on instrument-making and publishing to items about recordings and the noted big-band leaders of the day.

Bill Coss ( William Hungerford Coss, Jr.; 1925–1988), editor-in-chief from 1956 through 1960 – had earned a bachelor of science degree from Boston College in 1951. He was editor-in-chief of Jazz Today.

The demise of Metronome (1959–1961)[edit]

Metronome, under financial duress, was set to close after the December 1959 issue, but, in the words of author John Gennari, they "won a reprieve when photography editor Herb Snitzer prevailed upon his wife's uncle, Robert Asen, buy the defunct [sic] publication. Resuming operation under the leadership of Snitzer, editor Dave Solomon, and art director Jerry Smokler [ Herbert Jerold Smokler; born 1935], Metronome became, briefly, a hip, avant-garde publication that surrounded its jazz coverage with cutting-edge Beat literature, ... "politically-charged cartoons, and other innovative visual material."[10]

Asen was Metronome's publisher and Milton Lichtenstein was president of the underlying publishing firm, Metronome Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of RMC Associates in New York founded in 1953 by Robert Hyman Asen (1910–1993), Milt Lichtenstein ( Milton Julian Lichtenstein; 1919–2005), and Charlie Sargent ( Charles Edmund Sargeant; 1903–1967).[11] Saving Metronome was not RMC's primary mission. The primary mission of RMC's personnel was to serve as manufacturers' representatives and field engineers in (what some referred to as) the most concentrated territory in the world for electronic instrumentation and engineering component markets. RMC's clients included Hewlett-Packard, Western Electric, Bell Telephone Labs, Sperry Gyroscope, and Grumman Aircraft Engineering – and also unique clients such as the United Nations, Les Paul, and Mary Ford.[12]

Asen, in December 1960, hired new managing editor David Solomon (1925–2007), who had been an editor at Esquire and Playboy in the 1950s.

"Trouble came in July 1961 when a cover photograph of a Coney Island female stripper [and an accompanying article by Snitzer with more provocative photos] raised the ire of high school librarians, five or six-hundred of whom cancelled their subscriptions. Solomon was fired, Dan Morgenstern took over, and the magazine reverted to straight jazz coverage."[10][13]

The final issue of Metronome was printed in December 1961 (Volume 78, No. 12).[2]

Metronome All-Stars Band[edit]

Metronome magazine conducted an annual poll during the years 1939-1961[14] to choose the musicians whom their readers considered as the top jazz instrumentalists, for that year, playing each instrument. Often, the Metronome organization recorded the all-stars on a regular basis, with recording sessions of the bands chosen in 1939-1942, 1945–1950, 1953, and 1956.[14]

In many cases, the all-stars group recorded two songs, with short solo performances, from nearly all of the participants.[14]

In 1940, Metronome magazine organized the Metronome All Star Nine, including Harry James, Jack Teagarden, Benny Carter, Jess Stacy, Charlie Christian and Gene Krupa.[15]

The all-stars band had several name variations: Metronome All Star Nine; Metronome All Stars; Metronome All Stars 1956; The Metronome All-Stars; or Metronome Allstars.[14]

Metronome Hall of Fame series[edit]

The following artists were inducted into Metronome's Hall of Fame series. According to jazz musician and Metronome contributor George T. Simon, the series "was designed to recognize sidemen, not leaders", but "quite a number of these sidemen eventually wound up as leaders".[16]

Metronome Hall of Fame inductees
Date Name Primary instrument Ref.
May
1935
Gene Krupa Drums [16]
Jan
1936
Bud Freeman Saxophone (tenor) [17]
Feb
1936
Red Norvo Xylophone [18]
Mar
1936
Glenn Miller Trombone [19]
Jun
1936
Bunny Berigan Trumpet [20]
Jul
1936
Eddie Miller Saxophone (tenor) [21]
Sep
1936
Teddy Wilson Piano [22]
Oct
1936
Charlie Spivak Trumpet [23]
Dec
1936
Jack Teagarden Trombone [24]
Jan
1937
Ray McKinley Drums [25]
May
1937
Carmen Mastren Guitar [26]
Jun
1937
Dave Tough Drums [27]
Jul
1937
Yank Lawson Trumpet [28]
May
1938
Harry James Trumpet [29]
Aug
1940
Will Bradley Trombone [30]
Feb
1941
Irving Goodman Trumpet [30]
Apr
1941
Ziggy Elman Trumpet [30]
May
1941
Irving Fazola Clarinet [31]
Jun
1941
Cozy Cole Drums [32]
Jun
1941
Cootie Williams Trumpet [30]
Sep
1941
Wolffe Taninbaum Saxophone (tenor) [30]
Oct
1941
Roy Eldridge Trumpet [33]
Jan
1947
Louis Armstrong Trumpet [30]
Feb
1947
Benny Goodman Clarinet [30]
Mar
1947
Mildred Bailey Vocals [30]
Apr
1947
Duke Ellington Piano [30]
Aug
1947
Charlie Christian Guitar [30]

Earlier publication by the same name[edit]

An earlier publication, The Metronome: A Monthly Review of Music, was published in Boston by White & Goullaud from April 1871 to May 1874 → Ambrose W. Davenport, Jr. (1838–1906), Editor, assisted by his brother, Warren Davenport (1840–1908). LCCN sf91-92226; OCLC 809454726 (all editions).[34]

See also[edit]

Bibliography[edit]

Annotations[edit]

  1. ^ Arthur A. Clappé (1850–1920), M.M.C.M., was an Irish-born bandmaster, composer, and writer, who had studied at the Trinity College of Music and the Royal Military School of Music (graduating 1873), both of London. From 1877 to 1884, Clappé directed the Canadian Governor General's Foot Guards Band. He became a U.S. naturalized citizen in 1892. Clappé directed the Army Band at West Point from 1888 to 1895.(Trumpet Notes; August 1888) In 1911, the United States Army Music Training School was founded under his leadership at Fort Jay, Governors Island, Manhattan, which in 1921 was officially recognized as the United States Army School of Music and later relocated in Washington, D.C. Clappé served as editor of Metronome and Dominant. (White; 1944)

Notes[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Archival access – Library of Congress and other libraries:
Metronome (1885–1914)
  1. LCCN sf89-91059
  2. OCLC 11322263 (all editions)
The Metronome – Band Monthly (1914–1924)
  1. LCCN sf89-91093
  2. OCLC 19301705 (all editions)
The Metronome – Orchestra Monthly (1914–1924)
  1. LCCN sn94-96198
  2. OCLC 33979951 (all editions)
Metronome (1925–1932)
  1. LCCN sf89-91099
  2. OCLC 19301713 (all editions)
Metronome (1932–1958)
  1. LCCN sf89-91101
  2. LCCN 88-662990
  3. OCLC 9146840 (all editions)
  4. OCLC 19301720 (all editions)
Metronome – Music U.S.A.
  1. LCCN sf89-91100
  2. OCLC 761405288 (all editions)
Music U.S.A.
  1. LCCN 42-13878
  2. OCLC 42343346 (all editions)
Jazz Music U.S.A.
  1. OCLC 10640650 (all editions)
Online access, courtesy of the Eastman School of Music:
  1. Metronome Orchestra Monthly (1915: Vol. 31, nos. 1–10).
  2. Metronome Band Monthly (1917: Vol. 33, nos. 1–12).

Media related to Metronome magazine at Wikimedia Commons