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TOPIC:  Old Time Radio-- Music Continuity in the Old Day   #11
"By
the Light of the Fire "

RADIO HISTORY AND BROADCASTING  ACTIVITY

CONSIDERING the fact that music occupies most of the time on the air, it is a peculiar thing that so much of it is handled by announcers thoroughly unfamiliar with the subject. When we hear a young man nonchalantly introduce "the Third Move­ment from Mozart's minuet," or give out the startling information that Johann Strauss will conduct his own music, we can't help feeling that as much consideration should be given to the arts as to sports. A person with such abysmal ignorance in regard to sports would never be allowed to announce a baseball game or a prize fight.

Radio has given the public some magnificent music—grand opera, symphony, appre­ciation concerts for children, chamber music, and light classics; many worthy com­mentators have told the public the meaning of the music and given enlightening back­ground as an aid to enjoyment; dance music, crooning, and swing have been poured out endlessly over the ether; and yet the well of music has not been drained.

Thousands of musical concerts not symphonic or operatic and not yet heard over the radio can still be given—programs for children, light classics, unusual folk music, music of the seasons, of various races, music describing nature, expressing moods, and so on.

Any student preparing to become an announcer, a continuity writer, or a member of the production staff in a studio should study music literature. He may not become a Walter Damrosch, a Deems Taylor, or a Milton Cross, but most certainly he should know where to find recordings of all types of music and how to get information to use in written or ad-libbed introductions. He should learn that what counts is the quality rather than the quantity of his words.

Every station should be supplied with a Grove's Dictionary of Music and the various books published by the R. C. A.-Victor Company, such as What We Hear in Music and the Book of the Opera. For his own information, every announcer should have access to the catalogs of the recording companies. Information regarding classic compositions may be gleaned from the many record albums put out by Victor, Columbia, and Decca, and some of the transcription services furnish stations with data to be used over the air.

In preparing continuity for a radio concert, one should key his remarks to the mood of the music to be presented. Little more than pertinent "wise-cracks" and remarks about the "cute gal* executing the "vocals" need be given to bind together the numbers of a dance-band concert.
    The continuity for a light opera, musical comedy, or operetta may be devoted chiefly to the story of the libretto.

"Slumber" music given late at night needs merely the name of the composition or composer woven into the program, as inconspicuously as possible.

Concerts for children should be so arranged that the young listeners may participate.

A dignified account of a composer's life and the origin of the music and work to be presented may be given before a symphony, string quartet, or chamber music concert, and brief, informational notes may be read before each movement.

In cases of "live" concerts, where the artists appear in person rather than on tran­scription, the director of the program plans and times it. The continuity writer then knows exactly how much time he may take for introductions.

WQXR, the New York City station whose policy it is to present news and music only, has proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that there is a vast public that prefers classic music to drama and variety programs. A page from the station's monthly bulletin serving nearly 25,000 subscribers shows how many types of music can be broadcast in a single day. Commencing at 7 a.m., it broadcasts light classics, four symphonic concerts, a piano recital, works of two composers, two artists' concerts, luncheon and dinner music, chamber music, opera, a waltz program, and slumber music.


 

 

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