Raggin' Jazzin' Rockin': A History of American Musical Instrument Makers by Susan VanHecke.
Boyds Mills Press: Honesdale, PA, 2011.

The title sort of says it all. The book focuses on eight huge names in music-making. Within each company there were one or more people who revolutionized a part of the industry. At least one of those names, Steinway, was so prevalent at one time that most people knew of them. Their stories are also linked to historic times, such as the beginnings of jazz, life under a 17th century Sultan, and 19th century German guilds. Famous musicians who played the instruments are also featured.

This is an exciting collection of histories. The entries are short with some excellent pictures. It is accessible to 4th graders, yet fascinating to all ages. I particulary like the mix of historic times with the more biographical information.

While I have heard of most of the manufacturers, I did not know most of the histories. Besides the business startups, a general understanding of the instruments is conveyed along with the innovative ideas.

related-musical instrument makers, development and progression of musical instruments, United States history, high interest
RL=4th and up

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