Popular Music: A Reflection Of Irving Berlin's Music

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If popular music is a reflection of society then Irving Berlin’s music is no exception (Martindale 274). His music was the soundtrack for much of the twentieth century: it went to war with the soldiers during two World Wars; it brought hope and inspiration to the entire country during the Great Depression, and celebrated the American way of life (Martindale 274).
Israel Baline was born on May 11, 1888, in Temun, Russian Siberia. When Israel was only four years old, for fear of persecution from the Czarist government the Balines fled Russia and settled penniless, in New York’s Lower East Side (Denison 12). Nine years after moving to America, Moses Baline, his father passed away. At the age of thirteen Israel left school and worked various jobs
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In the early part of the twentieth century, Ragtime was very popular genre of music (Denison 13). To benefit from the popularity of Ragtime in 1911, at the age of twenty- three Berlin published the song “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” in which the young Berlin attained international fame and recognition (Denison 13).
In 1912, after “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” gained international popularity and shortly before his twenty-fourth birthday Berlin married Dorothy Goetz, the twenty-year-old sister of one of his associates (Bergreen). Their happiness was to be short lived. While honeymooning in Cuba Dorothy contracted Typhoid Fever and died five months later (Bergreen). To express his grief over her death he wrote his first ballad “When I Lost You” (Berger). It went on to sell a million copies (Bergreen)
Berlin who had no formal musical training taught himself to play piano and he could only play music on the black keys (Martindale 274). He used a piano, which had a transposing key board that would allow him to hear the notes in different keys. (Berger). He called his piano a “Buick” as it used a hand clutch to change the keys (Berger). He would take the piano on trips with him almost as other musicians would take a guitar or violin

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