Thesis ID: CBB001567450

The Contributions of Thomas Alva Edison to Music Education (2013)


Kelleher, Kevin Daniel (Author)

Humphreys, Jere T
Boston University
de Quadros, Andre
Bunbury, Richard
de Quadros, Andre
Bunbury, Richard

Publication Date: 2013
Edition Details: Advisor: Humphreys, Jere T; Committee Members: de Quadros, Andre, Bunbury, Richard.
Physical Details: 183 pp.
Language: English

With the invention of the phonograph in 1877, Thomas Alva Edison (1847-1931) ushered in a new era of musical experiences. Among other things, his device provided new learning opportunities for both amateur and professional musicians, in addition to non-musicians. By 1906, Edison recordings were being made for the Siegel-Myers Correspondence School of Music's distance instruction program, five years before Edison's major competitor, the Victor Talking Machine Company, established its education department under the direction of Frances Elliott Clark (1860-1958). The major difference between the competitors' devices was that the Edison phonograph allowed users to record music and the Victor talking machine did not. Despite this disadvantage, the Victor device was marketed more successfully as an aid to music education. Although Edison's phonograph companies encouraged music education through student performance, self-recording, and correspondence feedback, in 1921 Thomas A. Edison, Inc. hired Charles H. Farnsworth (1859-1947) to, in part, replicate Victor's successful approach to music education: learning to appreciate music through listening to recorded music. While Edison and his phonograph have received considerable attention in some scholarly literature, there has been no significant research on his or his companies' involvement with music education. The purpose of this study was to help fill this gap in the literature. Toward that end, the following research questions were addressed: (1) In what ways did Thomas A. Edison contribute to music education? (2) In what ways did Edison's phonograph companies contribute to music education? (3) How, and to whom, did Edison's phonograph companies market their phonographs and other music education products? and (4) How did Edison's approach to music instruction via the phonograph differ from that of Frances Elliott Clark and the Victor Talking Machine Company? Historical research techniques were used in this study, beginning with an examination of documents at the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in West Orange, New Jersey, the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) Historical Center at the University of Maryland, College Park, and the Music Library at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. These archives contain primary source material about Edison, Clark, and the Edison and Victor phonograph companies.


Description Cited in Dissertation Abstracts International-A 75/02(E), Aug 2014. Proquest Document ID: 1460517945.

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Authors & Contributors
Pinch, Trevor J.
Trocco, Frank
Peters, John Durham
Millard, Andre J.
Morton, David L.
Engel, Friedrich
Journal of New Music Research
Computer Music Journal
Book History
Osiris: A Research Journal Devoted to the History of Science and Its Cultural Influences
Technikgeschichte: Beiträge zur Geschichte der Technik und Industrie
Harvard University Press
Johns Hopkins University Press
Greenwood Press
Wesleyan University Press
Musical instruments
Technology and music
Music, electronic
Sound reproduction
Edison, Thomas Alva
Helmholtz, Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von
Stumpf, Carl
Schoenberg, Arnold
Burney, Charles
Bartolozzi, Francesco
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
20th century
20th century, late
21st century
18th century
United States
London (England)

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