Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Music of the twenties ( Answered 4 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: Music of the twenties
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: gaucho34-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 26 Feb 2005 07:39 PST
Expires: 28 Mar 2005 07:39 PST
Question ID: 481293
What music or art attracted young people in Paris from 1921-1925? This
is for a work of fiction - My characters are bright but have not got
much money - what was the most popular form of entertainment - what
'names' would be important to them? Who would a cultured Parisian
choose to introduce (figuratively speaking)to a foreigner as the
'latest thing?'
Subject: Re: Music of the twenties
Answered By: siliconsamurai-ga on 27 Feb 2005 07:23 PST
Rated:4 out of 5 stars
Hi, thank you for submitting your question to Answers.Google, I hope I
can provide the information you are seeking.

The first place to start is with the BBC

Paris in the period you refer to is a time of wild freedom, especially
for the younger people who have either just survived a terrible war or
who were luck enough to have been young enough to have just missed it
but old enough to have seen the terrible results.

Ezra Pound once called Paris of the 20?s the center of the world,
referring to art, music, and culture.

This saw the end of cubism and a kind of modernism based in Italian sensibilities.

Art in the 20?s was post-Cubist and dominated by Dada and nihilism
almost exactly during the time period you specify. A prime name to
drop would be Marcel Duchamp. Tristan Tzara would be the poet to read
or listen to.

Surrealism hit Paris like a storm just at the end of the period you
mention with The Manifesto of Surrealism (1924). At the very cutting
edge, you might have a character refer to Andre Breton who would lead
the surrealism school in the latter part of the 20?s.

Mountparnasse is where your characters would live or visit on their
cultural odyssey.

The art of the time was very much the precursor of that which we saw
in the 1960's but, instead of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, Paris in
the 20?s was sex, booze, drugs, sex, jazz, and blues (probably sex
again.) says of this period:

?No other European city has been more of a home for Jazz than Paris.
Since the early 1920's when the music first appeared in the clubs and
variety theaters, Parisians have been engaged in a love affair with
Names would include Nobel Sissle, Sidney Bechet, Bud Powell, Kenny
Clarke, and Dexter Gordon.

If you are including 1925 then you can?t leave out the sensational
Freda Josephine McDonald (stage name Josephine Baker) who was wildly
popular in Paris but didn?t arrive there until 1925. hallofwomen/JOSEPHINEBAKER.NET/ library/bio/blbio_baker_josephine.htm

All the reports seem to agree that she arrived on the Paris scene in
1925 but I couldn?t locate an exact date of arrival or for the opening
of her first show.

As for home-grown music, focus on Satie who was prominent and happened
to die in 1925.

Tristan Tzara poem.asp?poet=35098&poem=424812 museumofmodernart/

Nobel Sissle

Dexter Gordon

Thank you again for turning to Answers.Google for help. I believe that
should give you plenty to work with. The year 1925 was pivotal in
Paris with many changes in the art and music scene occurring in that
year as you can tell from some of the dates I have listed.

Clarification of Answer by siliconsamurai-ga on 27 Feb 2005 07:29 PST
I wanted to post this item separately because I couldn?t confirm it as
belonging to that narrow time frame you specify but it probably fits
as something cutting-edge so I didn?t want to leave it out entirely.

It is likely that the theremin (electronic musical instrument) would
have been heard in some clubs or salons of Paris in the early-mid
1920?s but I could only confirm that it was used at the Paris Opera in
1927 where it nearly caused a riot.

This is just one site with information related to it.

It was definately a very big deal, but I couldn't pin down an actual
example of when it was first introduced in Paris - nevertheless, it
should make a nice addition for a fictional work.
gaucho34-ga rated this answer:4 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
Good answer - and special thanks for the websites you listed, which
are most useful -  also the note about the theramin which is exactly
the right kind of detail and which I will certainly use!

Subject: Re: Music of the twenties
From: siliconsamurai-ga on 26 Feb 2005 07:44 PST
I wasn't there but Jazz is a good bet
Subject: Re: Music of the twenties
From: mister2u-ga on 26 Feb 2005 09:41 PST
I think Dada was a very interesting (if not widespread) movement at that time
Subject: Re: Music of the twenties
From: siliconsamurai-ga on 27 Feb 2005 08:32 PST
Thank you for the nice tip.

I'm also a writer (5 books and many articles) so I thought I had a
pretty good handle on what you would need.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy