In the Key of Britain: The Making of British Music, 1900-1930

Student Author(s)

Colin Rensch

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Marc Baer

Document Type


Event Date



Prior to 1900, the evolution of British music had proceeded at a relatively constant pace. Though sheet music was purchased by a large segment of the population and music hall attendance was on the rise, music was the least discussed British art form. In my paper, I discuss the music of British society between 1900 and 1930, and examine the factors that were so pivotal to the music’s development. The emergence of American music and the experience of World War I expedited the process of evolution in British music because they diverted the normal flow of music that had existed up until that point. The imminence of new technology, like the gramophone and radio, allowed the resultant music to reach a mass audience.


This research was supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Scholars Program in the Arts and Humanities at Hope College.

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