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Forever Doo-Wop: Race, Nostalgia, and Vocal Harmony by John Michael Runowicz (review)

Forever Doo-Wop: Race, Nostalgia, and Vocal Harmony by John Michael Runowicz (review) Book Reviews 525 (79–80). Singing is perhaps the most important musical activity McGregory chron- icles, and one finds references throughout the text to different songs, hymnals, tunebooks, and songbooks. Rarely, however, are songwriters, composers, poets, editors, compilers, or publication information provided. For the musically literate, the occasional example—even the occasional incipit—with notated music would have been helpful. None is provided. These lacunae become significant when one is trying to determine the source-tradition of the songs being discussed. But even in those cases when that information is provided, one must be wary. Albert E. Brumley, the creator of “I’ll Fly Away,” for example, is described as an African American composer (114). He was not. The paucity and inaccuracy of such information becomes significant in light of the book’s greatest flaw: McGregory’s weak knowledge of the history of Ameri - can vernacular sacred music of all types (although she might be forgiven this, given the state of the historiography on the subject). This is exacerbated by the sloppy use of terminology; one is left trying to discern exactly what she means, for example, when she refers to “Old One Hundred hymns” (64) and “common meter and lining a hymn” (113). (Given http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Music University of Illinois Press

Forever Doo-Wop: Race, Nostalgia, and Vocal Harmony by John Michael Runowicz (review)

American Music , Volume 30 (4) – Aug 4, 2013

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
ISSN
1945-2349

Abstract

Book Reviews 525 (79–80). Singing is perhaps the most important musical activity McGregory chron- icles, and one finds references throughout the text to different songs, hymnals, tunebooks, and songbooks. Rarely, however, are songwriters, composers, poets, editors, compilers, or publication information provided. For the musically literate, the occasional example—even the occasional incipit—with notated music would have been helpful. None is provided. These lacunae become significant when one is trying to determine the source-tradition of the songs being discussed. But even in those cases when that information is provided, one must be wary. Albert E. Brumley, the creator of “I’ll Fly Away,” for example, is described as an African American composer (114). He was not. The paucity and inaccuracy of such information becomes significant in light of the book’s greatest flaw: McGregory’s weak knowledge of the history of Ameri - can vernacular sacred music of all types (although she might be forgiven this, given the state of the historiography on the subject). This is exacerbated by the sloppy use of terminology; one is left trying to discern exactly what she means, for example, when she refers to “Old One Hundred hymns” (64) and “common meter and lining a hymn” (113). (Given

Journal

American MusicUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: Aug 4, 2013

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