The 1890's
Music Videos, Murder, and Weird Science

Music Videos, Murder, and Weird Science
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 6 to 8
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.82

     challenging words:    iffy, take-over, conan, hip-hop, ornate, ragtime, uncertain, traveler, teen, bad-tempered, operas, ending, lasting, hearing, status, fate
     content words:    Thomas Edison, Scott Joplin, Author A., Conan Doyle, London-22 Baker Street, Sherlock Holmes, Time Machine, Orson Welles, Steven Spielberg, Art Nouveau

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Music Videos, Murder, and Weird Science
By Toni Lee Robinson

1     In the 1890s, Americans were looking forward to a new century. Many new and exciting things were coming their way. Some people felt that life was changing so quickly it was hard to keep up!
2     One of the most exciting advances was in film. A new medium, moving pictures, began to make an impact in the 1890s. Thomas Edison introduced the kinetograph, a motion picture camera, in 1894. People were thrilled to see actual moving pictures of some events. Edison's projector was called the kinetoscope. It allowed one person at a time to view films by peering through an eye piece. Viewers were treated to short, jerky clips of this and that—things like boxing, dancing, or magic tricks.
3     One of the first kinds of film entertainment was an early form of music video. Actors were photographed acting out songs. The black and white photos were transferred to glass slides. By hand, artists painted color into the pictures. The slides were shown in a theater while musicians performed the song live. The shows were called "live model illustrated songs." People loved the song shows.
4     Then came the rise of the phonograph. People could play recorded music in their homes. The song slides faded into history. Acting out songs for film was dead as an art form, at least for about a hundred years. Then, up popped music videos. These days, fans are just as crazy about movie-style "illustrated songs" as the people of the 1890s were for the slide shows.
5     Of course, there have been a few changes since then in the kinds of songs people like to see and hear. Much of today's music would have baffled 1890s listeners. But music experts say that there is a tie between the two cultures, even though they are a hundred years apart. Current music, they say, had its roots in a style that became popular in the 1890s.

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