Cover image for The Tin Pan Alley song encyclopedia
The Tin Pan Alley song encyclopedia
Hischak, Thomas S.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Westport, Conn. : Greenwood Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xv, 530 pages ; 25 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML102.P66 H57 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Many books have been written about Tin Pan Alley--the colloquial name assigned to popular music before the advent of rock 'n' roll--yet little is available about the individual songs defining this enormously significant style of American music. This encyclopedia of over 1,200 songs written from the middle of the 19th century through the 1950s provides information and commentary on the music embraced by the American public.

No other single volume contains as much information on the subject. Author Thomas Hischak provides an exhaustive yet highly readable guide to the songs, their periods, their styles, and their performers. His study explains in layman's language how this music survived over time, and how it came to play such an influential role in American popular culture. Ideal for researchers and browsers alike, this encyclopedia is a long overdue examination of an American musical institution.

These songs were not written for stage or screen, but for saloons, singalongs, dance orchestras, sheet music, piano player rolls, recordings, nightclubs, concerts, and radio broadcasts. They colored the fabric of American popular culture for centuries, from early American folk songs to Civil War melodies, 19th-century sentimental ballads, minstrel songs, ragtime, and jazz.

Author Notes

Thomas S. Hischak is Professor of Theater at the State University of New York College, Cortland

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Tin Pan Alley refers to the American popular music business from the mid^-nineteenth through the mid^-twentieth centuries, and the songs written for parlor pianos, sing-alongs, dance orchestras, radio broadcasts, etc. This book is an A^-Z listing of more than 1,200 popular songs, many of which are still familiar. Each entry includes the year the song was published and highly readable information about its composition and performance history.Mary Ellen Quinn

Library Journal Review

Hischak (theater, SUNY Cortland) has produced an excellent companion volume to his The American Musical Theatre Song Encyclopedia and The American Musical Film Song Encyclopedia. Unlike the many Tin Pan Alley narrative histories (e.g., Philip Furia's The Poets of Tin Pan Alley), Hischak's works focus on individual songs in the style of William Studwell's readers. None of those, however, encompasses Tin Pan Alley like this volume, which rarely overlaps with Hischak's previous books. Thus, it includes more than 1200 tunes that did not originate on stage or screen (rather, they were written for saloons, dance orchestras, sheet music, piano player rolls, etc.). Each entry includes year of publication, a description, and notable performers and recordings associated with the song. In addition, the author presents a wealth of historical tidbits, from an account of the evolution of the Stein Song into Maine's official state song to a description of Rodgers and Hart's Mountain Greenery. Readers will also find sections on "Alternate Song Titles," "ASCAP's Hit Titles," "NEA's Hit Parade," and "Tin Pan Alley Standards from Stage and Screen." A delight to read, this will be an essential resource on popular songs written between the mid-19th century and the 1950s. For all libraries.-Bruce R. Schueneman, Texas A&M Univ.-Kingsville (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Hischak (SUNY-Cortland), author of numerous popular music guides, offers this companion to his The American Musical Film Song Encyclopedia (CH, Sep'99) and The American Musical Theatre Song Encyclopedia (CH, Oct'95). It contains descriptive analyses of 1,228 songs, primarily from the 1850s through the 1950s, beginning with a brief overview of Tin Pan Alley history and a glossary, followed by the alphabetical song entries. Entries (usually 100-300 words) provide title, composition date, a description of the song's style and history, a listing of artists who performed it, and shows in which it was performed. Most of the songs have been recorded many times, but it would be helpful had Hischak included discographies of the major recordings. Appendixes include "Alternate Song Titles," "Tin Pan Alley Standards from Stage and Screen" (entries for the latter are included in the two companion titles), a bibliography, and an excellent 73-page index. Since no other work provides this kind of detail on the songs themselves, this is a useful companion to Philip Furia's The Poets of Tin Pan Alley (CH, Feb'91) and Ken Bloom's American Song (CH, Feb'02). ^BSumming Up: Recommended. General and academic collections. R. A. Aken University of Kentucky

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Glossary of TErmsp. xiii
Songsp. 1
Alternate Song Titlesp. 429
ASCAP's Hit Paradep. 435
NEA's Hit Paradep. 437
Tin Pan Alley Standards from Stage and Screenp. 439
Selected Bibliographyp. 449
Indexp. 457