Date of Award


Document Type




First Reader

Dr. George Keck

Second Reader

Dr. Sim Flora

Third Reader

Dr. David Ozmun


Advances in technology have dramatically changed the lives of Americans throughout the twentieth century. Many of these advancements have become commonplace. For instance, the words "airplane," "computer," "radio," and "television" were not common a hundred years ago. Today, even small children know the definitions of these words. In addition, as new technologies develop, methods of accomplishing tasks change. These changes are then incorporated into our normal way of life. This gradual development causes many people to fail to consider the true implications of the technology on their way of life. Aspects of American's lives that used to be considered luxuries are now thought of as necessities or mere conveniences.

The influence of technology is far reaching, altering all aspects of life and fields of study. In the field of music, these changes can be observed by noting the effects of inventions such as the radio, the electric synthesizer, and the computer. This study focuses on the influence radio had on music from the years 1919 to 1926. This time period covers the years immediately following World War I, when radio broadcasting started until the end of 1926, which saw the advent of nation-wide broadcasting with the debut of the National Broadcasting Company.

Music, like many fields, covers a wide range of topics such as genres, compositional practices, instrumental choices, developing styles, and vernacular music. Therefore, to attempt to trace all the minute changes even of one specific genre of music for one specific year would be an enormous task. Furthermore, much of the findings after analyzing the music, noting changes, and documenting them, would still be subjective. Changes, however, may be traced if they are broad in nature such as the "identity" of the listening audience. Therefore, this thesis examines the broad changes radio's development had upon the listening audience, music business practices, music education, and popularization of all forms of music.



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