Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Magee, Jeffrey. "'Everybody Step': Irving Berlin, Jazz, and Broadway in the 1920s." Journal of the American Musicological Society 59 (Fall 2006): 697-732.

In the early 1920s, when public familiarity and associations with jazz were amorphous and inconsistent, Irving Berlin cultivated a sense that his theatrical music defined jazz. In addition to textual and musical references to ragtime or blues characteristics, Berlin used quotations of his own music, which had already gained ragtime associations, to reinforce this idea. One notable example is Berlin's quotation of his earlier songs Alexander's Ragtime Band, Everybody's Doing It Now, and The Syncopated Walk in his 1921 Everybody Step. Berlin's self-borrowing ranged from nearly exact quotation of a full phrase of both music and lyrics to more subtle use of one- or two-measure units of rhythms, fills, or pick-ups that were nevertheless recognizable as being drawn from his earlier pieces. The earlier songs' associations with jazz implied that Berlin's newer music also fit into the genre. To further build upon this personal jazz lineage, Berlin borrowed from Everybody Step in later works.

Works: Irving Berlin: Everybody Step (698-10), The Syncopated Vamp (706, 708), Pack Up Your Sins and Go to The Devil (710-12).

Sources: Irving Berlin: Alexander's Ragtime Band (706-07, 709-10), Everybody's Doing It Now (706, 708-09), The Syncopated Walk (706-09), Everybody Step (710-13).

Index Classifications: 1900s, Jazz, Popular

Contributed by: Paul Killinger

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