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Title: An invisible network: music consumption and the construction of the Portuguese popular song
Author: Pestana, Maria do Rosário
Marinho, Helena
Keywords: Recording industries in Portugal (1927-31)
Portuguese popular music
His Master’s Voice
Frederico de Freitas
Alfredo Allen
Issue Date: Jul-2015
Publisher: ASARP
Abstract: The systematic study of the recording industries in Portugal began during the 1990s, in the context of preparing for the publication of the Enciclopédia da Música em Portugal no século XX (coord. Castelo-Branco: 2010) at the Institute of Ethnomusicology – Centre for Music and Dance Studies). Studies within the scope of the research project “The Phonographic Industries in Portugal in the 20th century” (PI Castelo-Branco), were further developed by research conducted by Losa and Belchior (2010), Belchior (2014), Losa (2014) and Pestana (2014), among others, which consolidated this field of research. Most perspectives focus on the early ‘mechanical era,’ or approach independent aspects such as industry and commerce, creation/performance, music consumption. However, they do not discuss the common network that these aspects established. Thus, the aim of this article is to contribute to a comprehensive understanding of the agents, technologies and industries involved in the construction of new patterns of musical consumption, mediated by emerging technologies, during the transition between the 1920s and the 1930s. We focus on specific agents, acknowledging the role and relevance of personalities and artists in general, particularly the Portuguese composer Frederico de Freitas (1902-1980), and the music merchant Alfredo Allen. Composer, conductor and scholar, Frederico de Freitas was a versatile artist, working in different fields within the scope of art and popular music, namely stage works for dance, theatre, revista (the Portuguese vaudeville), operetta, and fado. He was also one of the musical producers and conductors hired by the National Radio from the mid-1930s, and the first author to compose for sound films in Portugal. Alfredo Allen was the Portuguese agent for the British Gramophone Company’s label His Master’s Voice (HMV) between 1927 and 1931 (when EMI – Electric and Musical Industries – was founded). Freitas and Allen became close friends as well as work associates, as Freitas became the artistic director of the Portuguese branch of HMV in 1929. The archival research for this article encompassed the correspondence between the UK Gramophone Company and Alfredo Allen – kept at the EMI Group Archive Trust, in Hayes – the correspondence between Allen and Freitas and other materials from Freitas’ archives at the University of Aveiro, and the private 78 r.p.m. collections of José Rino and José Moças.
Peer review: yes
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