Talk:Tin Pan Alley

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Couldn't one say that Tin Pan Alley continued into the rock era with the Brill Building - if one accepts this, then one would have to say that it lasted until the late 1960s...

Music Publishers Association[edit]

What's the source for the founding date and other information about the Music Publishers Association in this entry? Thisis as close as I found, but it doesn't seem terribly reputable.

Several sources do say the name comes from a description of the sound of many pianos, but I question it. I can't find a different etymology, but in Mark Twain's "Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," written long before Tin Pan Alley, Huck describes a piano thus: "There was a little old piano, too, that had tin pans in it, I reckon, and nothing was ever so lovely as to hear the young ladies sing..." (page 79 in my Dover edition). pavone 03:18, 13 November 2006 (UTC)

The Annotated editon of Huck Finn identifies the "tin pan" piano as a commercially available item: a piano with added pedals to play bells and jingling sounds that went along with an craze for exotic music at the time. Tin Pan Alley then is the place where such special effects gather, with the emphasis on "Alley" perhaps implying the lower-status range of such effects. In Huck Finn the piano is another sign of the Grangerford family wealth, as well as its weakness for up to date products that to them signaled stature. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:36, 28 October 2011 (UTC)

Interesting, but such an etylmology cannot be included in the article unless it is supported by a citaton from a reliable source. Beyond My Ken (talk) 06:01, 29 October 2011 (UTC)

Dates on ASCAP conflict[edit]

The article states that ASCAP was established in 1914, then it goes on to say that by 1910 90% of royalties were going to ASCAP? How could that be possible?

...The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) was founded in 1914 as an organization to mutually aid and protect the interests of established publishers and composers. New members were only admitted with sponsorship of existing members. By the end of the 1910s, it was estimated that over 90% of the sheet music and phonograph records sold in the U.S. paid royalties to ASCAP... Muserna Muserna 00:57, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

The article doesn't say "by 1910", it says "by the end of the 1910s". The 1910s is a decade which ended on the last day of 1919. -- Infrogmation 05:39, 30 December 2006 (UTC)

Upon closer inspection, the dates are correct, therefore I would like to retract this subtalk topic. Muserna Muserna

Cole Porter[edit]

Wow! I'm amazed that Cole Porter's name doesn't appear in this list. Whatever else he was, whatever else he did, SURELY he was a leading TPA composer? Edetic (talk) 15:45, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Link to A Bird in a Gilded Cage[edit]

Link to A Bird in a Gilded Cage goes to the wrong page - there is a correct page: (Incorrect page = Sorry, I don't know how to fix this. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:58, 11 July 2010 (UTC)

Fixed it!  :)

2011 image of Tin Pan Alley is on 6th, not 28th[edit]

The 2011 image of Tin Pan Alley is actually taken on 6th ave between 28th and 29th streets facing east, not on 28th between 5th and 6th. It's right around the corner, but it's technically not the place that is listed as Tin Pan Alley. It's also clear from windows and stairwells that those are not the same buildings. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:16, 19 October 2011 (UTC)

Actually, you're absolutely wrong. I took the picture in question, and it's precisely where I said it was. Those are the same buildings, which close-up examinination will show, they've just been altered for commercial purposes. Beyond My Ken (talk) 19:04, 19 October 2011 (UTC)

Tin Pan Alley and the Blues[edit]

Hi Beyond My Ken, you reverted my edit on Tin Pan Alley, calling my edit summary "plain silly". We may disagree about Tin Pan Alley and the blues, but I believe I can claim to have modern scholarship on my side. I recently made some documentaries for the BBC about the history of the blues. Among the books we consulted most heavily were Leaving the Delta by Elijah Wald, A Very Short Introduction To The Blues by Elijah Wald, Ragged But Right: Black Traveling Shows, "Coon Songs", And The Dark Pathway To Blues and Jazz by Lynn Abbott and Doug Seroff, and In Search of the Blues by Marybeth Hamilton. All these books agree that a distinction between "commercial blues" (e.g. St Louis Blues by WC Handy, Crazy Blues by Perry Bradford) and "authentic blues" is untenable. In our film, Scott Barretta, who co-created and co-curated the Mississippi Blues Trail [1] said, "What’s really significant about Handy hearing this music is that within a decade he was writing his blues tunes and making good money off of this music, so we often talk about blues as a folk music, but from its inception it was also commercialised."

I've taken the liberty of emailing you a lecture about the mythologies that surround the origins of the blues, given by David Evans, University of Memphis [2]. The relevant paragraph states:

"Moving from myths of blues origin to those of blues evolution we encounter a school of thought holding that some sort of pure “folk” or “country” blues became corrupted by popular, commercial, and urban influences. The first to express this view were folklorists in the 1920s, such as Howard Odum, Guy Johnson, and Newman White, who had done most of their blues collecting before the advent of commercial blues recording. They warned that the imitation of inferior commercial recordings by folk blues singers would lead to the rapid demise of the blues genre. These predictions proved false, but the myth of corruption persisted with writers like Rudi Blesh and Samuel Charters. The latter, in his influential book The Country Blues (1959), consistently found urban Chicago blues of the 1930s and early 1940s, as well as most modern electric blues, to be “cheap” and “derivative” in comparison to authentic rural blues."

These are some of the scholarly arguments behind my edit. Perhaps you could explain why you consider the views of Wald, Abbott, Seroff, Hamilton, and Evans to be misguided or "plain silly". Btw I agree with you about the virus of tagging WP articles. Best, Mick gold (talk) 12:14, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

Let's take this one step at a time.

First, the technical part: You need to read (or re-read) WP:BRD. When your Bold edit has been Reverted by another editor, the next step, if you continue to think the edit is necessary, is to Discuss it on the article talk page, not to re-revert it, which is the first step to edit warring. During the discussion, the article remains in the status quo ante. So, starting a discussion here was good, reverting my edit was not the right thing to do.

But, second, it doesn't really matter, because I've thought some more about the change you made, and I have reconsidered and withdraw my objection -- no so much because of the scholarship you cite above -- although that played a part -- but because the sentence you removed was unsourced analysis which requires a source and hasn't had one for quite a while. Therefore, I've restored your edit, and, I hope, all is right with the world.

Best, BMK (talk) 23:20, 14 September 2014 (UTC)

BTW, I apologize for the "plain silly" comment in the edit summary, which was inappropriate. BMK (talk) 01:03, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
Hi BMK, Thanks for your response and I note your advice re WP:BRD. All is right with the world, and I'll try to make further (sourced) additions to Tin Pan Alley article. Best, Mick gold (talk) 08:04, 15 September 2014 (UTC)
Great, I look forward to your contributions. BMK (talk) 08:16, 15 September 2014 (UTC)

Tin Pan Alley plaque?[edit]

I have walked up and down that stretch of 28th Street a dozen times and have never found the Tin Pan Alley plaque:

Is it still there -- and if so, where?


>> The name originally referred to a specific place: West 28th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, and a plaque (see below) on the sidewalk on 28th Street between Broadway and Sixth commemorates it. (talk) 17:08, 10 October 2014 (UTC)

Use of term outside New York and London[edit]

There is a debate over whether the term has ever been used outside New York and London. Text below is copied across from User talk:Ritchie333: Ghmyrtle (talk) 16:48, 26 June 2015 (UTC)

My only intention was to correct some factual errors on the pages. The phrase ″is also used to describe any area within a major city with a high concentration of music publishers or musical instrument stores″ is simply not based in fact as the term 'Tin Pan Alley’ is not used as such. It is only used, as far as i am aware, in reference to two specific places, namely West 28th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenue in Manhattan, New York, and Denmark Street in London. Other places referred to as "Tin Pan Alley" in other cities generally refer to specific venues, rather than "areas". So my change from


" By extension, the term "Tin Pan Alley" is also used to describe any area within a major city with a high concentration of music publishers or musical instrument stores – an example being Denmark Street[2][3] in London's West End. In the 1920s the street became known as "Britain's Tin Pan Alley" because of the large number of music shops, a title it still holds.".

To This

"By extension, the term "Tin Pan Alley" has also been adopted for Denmark Street[2][3] in London's West End. In the 1920s the area became known as "Britain's Tin Pan Alley" because of the large number of music shops, a title it still holds".

Only reflects an interest in the factual as opposed to anything subjective.

Kind Regards, Robbie Prudence 14:13, 26 June 2015 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by Robbie Prudence (talkcontribs)

@Robbie Prudence: Hi, thanks for getting in touch. Well the good news about Tin Pan Alley is that I tend to only revert things once, so provided you make a good case for your changes (which you've done here), then just undo my edit. I can't promise another editor will leave it, but that's the consensus model we use.
The ed

its to Denmark Street are a little more problematic, as you've asserted you're affiliated with Consolidated Developments, who are rebuilding the area between the street and TCR tube. That creates a problem with you editing, as you have a potential conflict of interest. As I think I said on your talk, the squatters who took over the 12 Bar Club's former premises also edit Wikipedia, and their opinion of what should happen to the street probably doesn't align with yours! As long as you say up-front your prejudices on your user page though, you should be okay. Only thing to watch is that Denmark Street is a good article, so the bar for what edits will be accepted is higher, as every fact in the article is (or should be!) verifiable by a good quality source. I do like popping into Denmark Street and looking at gear, and the one time I played at the 12 Bar when it was at number 26 was magical, but we've got to remember to keep a neutral point of view on articles here. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 14:22, 26 June 2015 (UTC)

And, as predicted... because neither the edit summary nor the article talk page alerted me to this discussion, I've reverted Robbie Prudence at Tin Pan Alley, for what appeared to be an unsourced and ungrammatical edit. But, I take the point... I'll revert myself and tweak the wording, for clarity. Ghmyrtle (talk) 15:23, 26 June 2015 (UTC)

──────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────── If there is no source that "Tin Pan Alley" is used as a generic name, then that "fact" should not be in the lede. And the fcat that another place has been dubbed "Britain's Tin Pan Alley" is interesting, but not a significant-enough fact to be in the lede of this article. Therefore, I have removed the unsourced generic statement, removed the factoid about Denmark Street, and added Denmark Street to the "see also" list, which is the most appropriate place for it to be mentioned in this article. BMK (talk) 17:13, 26 June 2015 (UTC)

Please don't shout even though you clearly have a very strong view about this. I'm not convinced you are right. The article is about Tin Pan Alley. More than one place is called Tin Pan Alley, and so it's absolutely right that those places should be mentioned in the article and, by extension, in the lede. If the article were called West 28th Street, there would be no need to refer to Denmark Street in the article. But, it isn't - it's about Tin Pan Alley. I suppose there is a case for turning this page into a disambiguation page - but that would be silly, when the existence of the London TPA can simply be noted in this article. Ghmyrtle (talk) 17:26, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
There is absolutely no case to turn this into a dab page, that's utterly ridiculous, and the article isn;t about West 28th Street, it's about a couple of blocks of West 28th Street. Please get your facts straight, and stop arguing absurdities. BMK (talk) 17:31, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
I'm not arguing absurdities, I'm trying to encourage you to engage in a civil debate, in preference to reverting on sight and expressing yourself in capitals, and bold underlined italics - never a good approach. This article is called Tin Pan Alley. More than one place is called Tin Pan Alley. Do you agree? Ghmyrtle (talk) 17:39, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
I'd agree, it's not absurd at all. I have no problem with seeing a mention of Denmark Street in the lede. But I'd start with agreeing what should go in the main body about Denmark Street, as the lede is meant to summarise the whole article. I think it should be more than just an appearance as an item in "See also." Martinevans123 (talk) 18:22, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
The "abusrdity" I referred to was the idea of converting this article into a dab page.
Where would you intend to put Denmark Street in the body, exactly? BMK (talk) 18:58, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
Why are Ghmyrtle's facts "not straight" exactly? Martinevans123 (talk) 18:59, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
Probably because I referred to West 28th Street rather than "a couple of blocks of West 28th Street". No big deal. And I never suggested that this should become a dab page (I said "that would be silly") - but I was suggesting that that was where Beyond My Ken's logic seemed to be leading. Anyway.... shall we return to the wording that rested peacefully in this article until this kerfuffle, and see if the other editor, Robbie Prudence, still wants to pursue a change? Ghmyrtle (talk) 19:15, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
No. The general claim that is used as a generic does not (as far as I can tell) appear in the body of the article, and therefore should not be in the lede. If it was in the lede without being in the body, it would have to be sourced. If that is done, then we can talk about Denmark Street, but I am strenuously opposed to Denmark Street being in the lede, as a miscellaneous fact of little to no importance to the subject matter. BMK (talk) 19:39, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
Perhaps User:Robbie Prudence could propose an addition to the main body as well. Martinevans123 (talk) 19:41, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
As a representtaive of the devleopment company that owns property in Denmark Street, he shouldn't get withing 100ft of writing anything about that subject.
Let's see what User:Ritchie333 has to say. Martinevans123 (talk) 19:46, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
We could, for example, have a new section, "Extension to other areas", with the text something like: "By extension, the term "Tin Pan Alley" is also used to describe any area within a major city with a high concentration of music publishers or musical instrument stores – an example being Denmark Street in London's West End.[1] In the 1920s the street became known as "Britain's Tin Pan Alley" because of the large number of music shops, a title it still holds.[2]" If further sources suggest that London is, in fact, the only other city where the term is used, we could modify the text accordingly. Ghmyrtle (talk) 19:50, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
I see that the mention of New York in this report by The Guardian, is quite brief: "Nicknamed Tin Pan Alley (because streets sound cooler when you name them after bits of New York)...". Martinevans123 (talk) 19:55, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
The material used to be in a section called "Other uses". If you find a source for another use beside Denmark Street, fine, but until then, something on the order of

The term "Tin Pan Alley" is also used to describe Denmark Street in London's West End.[3] In the 1920s the street became known as "Britain's Tin Pan Alley" because of its large number of music shops.[4]

could be added, possibly to the popcult section. BMK (talk) 19:59, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
I'd go along with including that text for the time being, but I think it needs to be in its own section as I suggested - "Other areas" - rather than being subsumed into a "Popular culture" section dealing with quite different uses of the term. (By the way, isn't this whole article about popular culture? See also Mick Jagger#In popular culture - bizarre.) Ghmyrtle (talk) 21:13, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
Whatever are people thinking?! He's a SERIOUS PERFORMER!! Martinevans123 (talk) 21:26, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
I think one-sentence sections are not a good idea. How about appending it to the "Name" section, as in "The names is also used to describe Denmark Street..." etc? BMK (talk) 22:51, 26 June 2015 (UTC)
That would certainly be an improvement. I'll do that. Ghmyrtle (talk) 09:24, 27 June 2015 (UTC)
A picture is worth a thousand words

I think we're all done here, but there is a blue plaque on Denmark Street describing it as "Tin Pan Alley". However, even think I think most people would agree the Tin Pan Alley is in New York. I've never said "I'm going to Tin Pan Alley to look at some guitars", but I have said "I'm going to Denmark Street to look at some guitars" many, many times. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 09:24, 29 June 2015 (UTC)

I note the end date of 1992 on the plaque - did the music stores close down? Incidentally, I don't believe those blocks of West 28th Street were ever noted for having musical instrument stores, which seems to be the case for Denmark Street -- it was music publishers Tin Pan Alley was known for. I can't vouch for where the musical instrument stores were at the time, since these clusters had a tendency to move uptown as the city expanded, but since at least 1970 the strip of musical instrument stores in Manhattan was on West 48th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. I think most of them are gone now, even Sam Ash has moved to 34th Street - although a couple may be left. BMK (talk) 11:02, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
Or was 1992 when New York finally won the copyright claim? Martinevans123 (talk) 11:18, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
1992 was the year the last music publisher, Peer Music, moved out of the street. It wasn't in the article for some reason, so I've added it (with a source). I realise that I am not a reliable source, but last time I was in Denmark Street about a month ago, there were still plenty of instrument shops there. Ritchie333 (talk) (cont) 13:30, 29 June 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, that clarifies things considerably. BMK (talk) 20:58, 29 June 2015 (UTC)


  1. ^ Daley, Dan (January 8, 2004). "Pop's street of dreams". The Telegraph. Retrieved February 23, 2011. "We used to think of Tin Pan Alley, which is what they called Denmark Street years ago when all the music publishers were there, as rather old-fashioned," recalls Peter Asher 
  2. ^ "Tin Pan Alley (London)",, 2009-11-07
  3. ^ Daley, Dan (January 8, 2004). "Pop's street of dreams". The Telegraph. Retrieved February 23, 2011. "We used to think of Tin Pan Alley, which is what they called Denmark Street years ago when all the music publishers were there, as rather old-fashioned," recalls Peter Asher 
  4. ^ "Tin Pan Alley (London)",, 2009-11-07