Singing is the act of producing musical sounds with the voice and augments regular speech by the use of sustained tonality, a variety of vocal techniques. A person who sings is called a vocalist. Singers perform music that can be sung without accompaniment by musical instruments. Singing is done in an ensemble of musicians, such as a choir of singers or a band of instrumentalists. Singers may perform as soloists or accompanied by anything from a single instrument up to a symphony orchestra or big band. Different singing styles include art music such as opera and Chinese opera, Indian music and religious music styles such as gospel, traditional music styles, world music, blues and popular music styles such as pop, electronic dance music and filmi. Singing arranged or improvised, it may be done as a form of religious devotion, as a hobby, as a source of pleasure, comfort or ritual, as part of music education or as a profession. Excellence in singing requires time, dedication and regular practice.
If practice is done on a regular basis the sounds can become more clear and strong. Professional singers build their careers around one specific musical genre, such as classical or rock, although there are singers with crossover success, they take voice training provided by voice teachers or vocal coaches throughout their careers. In its physical aspect, singing has a well-defined technique that depends on the use of the lungs, which act as an air supply or bellows. Though these four mechanisms function independently, they are coordinated in the establishment of a vocal technique and are made to interact upon one another. During passive breathing, air is inhaled with the diaphragm while exhalation occurs without any effort. Exhalation may be aided by lower pelvis/pelvic muscles. Inhalation is aided by use of external intercostals and sternocleidomastoid muscles; the pitch is altered with the vocal cords. With the lips closed, this is called humming; the sound of each individual's singing voice is unique not only because of the actual shape and size of an individual's vocal cords but due to the size and shape of the rest of that person's body.
Humans have vocal folds which can loosen, tighten, or change their thickness, over which breath can be transferred at varying pressures. The shape of the chest and neck, the position of the tongue, the tightness of otherwise unrelated muscles can be altered. Any one of these actions results in a change in pitch, timbre, or tone of the sound produced. Sound resonates within different parts of the body and an individual's size and bone structure can affect the sound produced by an individual. Singers can learn to project sound in certain ways so that it resonates better within their vocal tract; this is known as vocal resonation. Another major influence on vocal sound and production is the function of the larynx which people can manipulate in different ways to produce different sounds; these different kinds of laryngeal function are described as different kinds of vocal registers. The primary method for singers to accomplish this is through the use of the Singer's Formant, it has been shown that a more powerful voice may be achieved with a fatter and fluid-like vocal fold mucosa.
The more pliable the mucosa, the more efficient the transfer of energy from the airflow to the vocal folds. Vocal registration refers to the system of vocal registers within the voice. A register in the voice is a particular series of tones, produced in the same vibratory pattern of the vocal folds, possessing the same quality. Registers originate in laryngeal function, they occur. Each of these vibratory patterns appears within a particular range of pitches and produces certain characteristic sounds; the occurrence of registers has been attributed to effects of the acoustic interaction between the vocal fold oscillation and the vocal tract. The term "register" can be somewhat confusing; the term register can be used to refer to any of the following: A particular part of the vocal range such as the upper, middle, or lower registers. A resonance area such as chest voice or head voice. A phonatory process A certain vocal timbre or vocal "color" A region of the voice, defined or delimited by vocal breaks.
In linguistics, a register language is a language which combines tone and vowel phonation into a single phonological system. Within speech pathology, the term vocal register has three constituent elements: a certain vibratory pattern of the vocal folds, a certain series of pitches, a certain type of sound. Speech pathologists identify four vocal registers based on the physiology of laryngeal function: the vocal fry register, the modal register, the falsetto register, the whistle register; this view is adopted by many vocal pedagogues. Vocal resonation is the process by which the basic product of phonation is en
Laurens van der Post
Sir Laurens Jan van der Post, CBE, was a 20th-century Afrikaner author, war hero, political adviser to British heads of government, close friend of Prince Charles, godfather of Prince William, journalist, philosopher and conservationist. Van der Post was born in the small town of Philippolis in the Orange River Colony, the post-Boer War British name for what had been the Afrikaner Orange Free State in what is today South Africa, his father, Christiaan Willem Hendrik van der Post, a Hollander from Leiden, had emigrated to South Africa with his parents and married Johanna Lubbe in 1889. The van der Posts had a total of 13 children, with Laurens being the fifth son. Christiaan was a lawyer and politician, fought in the Second Boer War against the British. After the Second Boer War he was exiled with his family to Stellenbosch, where Laurens was conceived, they returned to Philippolis in the Orange River Colony, where he was born in 1906. He spent his early childhood years on the family farm, acquired a taste for reading from his father's extensive library, which included Homer and Shakespeare.
His father died in August 1914. In 1918 van der Post went to school at Grey College in Bloemfontein. There, he wrote, it was a great shock to him that he was "being educated into something which destroyed the sense of common humanity I shared with the black people". In 1925 he took his first job as a reporter in training at The Natal Advertiser in Durban, where his reporting included his own accomplishments playing on the Durban and Natal field hockey teams. In 1926 he and two other rebellious writers, Roy Campbell and William Plomer, published a satirical magazine called Voorslag which criticised imperialist systems; that year he took off for three months with Plomer and sailed to Tokyo and back on a Japanese freighter, the Canada Maru, an experience which produced books by both authors in life. In 1927 Van der Post met Marjorie Edith Wendt, daughter of the founder and conductor of the Cape Town Orchestra; the couple traveled on 8 March 1928, married at Bridport, Dorset. A son was born on 26 December, named Jan Laurens.
In 1929 van der Post returned to South Africa to work for the Cape Times, a newspaper in Cape Town, where "For the time being Marjorie and I are living in the most dire poverty that exists," he wrote in his journal. He began to associate with bohemians and intellectuals who were opposed to James Hertzog and the white South African policy. In an article entitled'South Africa in the Melting Pot', which clarified his views of the South Africa racial problem, he said "The white South African has never consciously believed that the native should become his equal." But he predicted that "the process of leveling up and inter-mixture must accelerate continually... the future civilization of South Africa is, I believe, neither black or white but brown." In 1931 he returned to England. His friend Plomer had been published by the Hogarth Press, a business run by Leonard Woolf and his wife, the novelist Virginia Woolf; the Woolfs were members of the literary and artistic Bloomsbury group, through Plomer's introductions, van der Post met figures such as Arthur Waley, J. M. Keynes and E. M. Forster.
In 1934 the Woolfs published van der Post's first novel. Called In a Province, it portrayed the tragic consequences of a racially and ideologically divided South Africa; that year he decided to become a dairy farmer and with the help of the independently wealthy poet Lilian Bowes Lyon, bought Colley Farm, near Tetbury, with Lilian as his neighbor. There he divided his time between the needs of the cows and occasional visits to London, where he was a correspondent to South African newspapers, he considered this a directionless phase in his life. In 1936 he made five trips to South Africa and during one trip he met and fell in love with Ingaret Giffard, an English actress and author five years his senior; that year his wife Marjorie gave birth to a second child, a daughter named Lucia, in 1938 he sent his family back to South Africa. When the Second World War started in 1939 he found himself torn between England and South Africa, his new love and his family. In May 1940, van der Post volunteered for the British Army and upon completion of officer training in January 1941 he was sent to East Africa in the Intelligence Corps as a captain.
There he took up with General Wingate's Gideon Force, tasked with restoring the Emperor Haile Selassie to his throne in Abyssinia. His unit led 11,000 camels through difficult mountain terrain and he was remembered for being an excellent caretaker of the animals. In March he was sent to Palestine to recover. In early 1942, as Japanese forces invaded South East Asia, van der Post was transferred to Allied forces in the Dutch East Indies, because of his Dutch language skills. By his own statement, he was given command of Special Mission 43, the purpose of, to organise the covert evacuation of as many Allied personnel as possible, after the surrender of Java. On 20 April 1942, he surrendered to the Japanese, he was taken to prison-camps first at Sukabumi and to Bandung. Van der Post was famous for his work in maintaining the morale of prisoners of many different nationalities. Along with others, he organised a "camp university" with courses from basic literacy to degree-standard ancient history, he a
The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K
A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music as belonging to a shared tradition or set of conventions. It is to be distinguished from musical form and musical style, although in practice these terms are sometimes used interchangeably. Academics have argued that categorizing music by genre is inaccurate and outdated. Music can be divided into different genres in many different ways; the artistic nature of music means that these classifications are subjective and controversial, some genres may overlap. There are varying academic definitions of the term genre itself. In his book Form in Tonal Music, Douglass M. Green distinguishes between form, he lists madrigal, canzona and dance as examples of genres from the Renaissance period. To further clarify the meaning of genre, Green writes, "Beethoven's Op. 61 and Mendelssohn's Op. 64 are identical in genre – both are violin concertos – but different in form. However, Mozart's Rondo for Piano, K. 511, the Agnus Dei from his Mass, K. 317 are quite different in genre but happen to be similar in form."
Some, like Peter van der Merwe, treat the terms genre and style as the same, saying that genre should be defined as pieces of music that share a certain style or "basic musical language." Others, such as Allan F. Moore, state that genre and style are two separate terms, that secondary characteristics such as subject matter can differentiate between genres. A music genre or subgenre may be defined by the musical techniques, the style, the cultural context, the content and spirit of the themes. Geographical origin is sometimes used to identify a music genre, though a single geographical category will include a wide variety of subgenres. Timothy Laurie argues that since the early 1980s, "genre has graduated from being a subset of popular music studies to being an ubiquitous framework for constituting and evaluating musical research objects". Among the criteria used to classify musical genres are the trichotomy of art and traditional musics. Alternatively, music can be divided on three variables: arousal and depth.
Arousal reflects the energy level of the music. These three variables help explain why many people like similar songs from different traditionally segregated genres. Musicologists have sometimes classified music according to a trichotomic distinction such as Philip Tagg's "axiomatic triangle consisting of'folk','art' and'popular' musics", he explains that each of these three is distinguishable from the others according to certain criteria. The term art music refers to classical traditions, including both contemporary and historical classical music forms. Art music exists in many parts of the world, it emphasizes formal styles that invite technical and detailed deconstruction and criticism, demand focused attention from the listener. In Western practice, art music is considered a written musical tradition, preserved in some form of music notation rather than being transmitted orally, by rote, or in recordings, as popular and traditional music are. Most western art music has been written down using the standard forms of music notation that evolved in Europe, beginning well before the Renaissance and reaching its maturity in the Romantic period.
The identity of a "work" or "piece" of art music is defined by the notated version rather than by a particular performance, is associated with the composer rather than the performer. This is so in the case of western classical music. Art music may include certain forms of jazz, though some feel that jazz is a form of popular music. Sacred Christian music forms an important part of the classical music tradition and repertoire, but can be considered to have an identity of its own; the term popular music refers to any musical style accessible to the general public and disseminated by the mass media. Musicologist and popular music specialist Philip Tagg defined the notion in the light of sociocultural and economical aspects: Popular music, unlike art music, is conceived for mass distribution to large and socioculturally heterogeneous groups of listeners and distributed in non-written form, only possible in an industrial monetary economy where it becomes a commodity and in capitalist societies, subject to the laws of'free' enterprise... it should ideally sell as much as possible.
Popular music is found on most commercial and public service radio stations, in most commercial music retailers and department stores, in movie and television soundtracks. It is noted on the Billboard charts and, in addition to singer-songwriters and composers, it involves music producers more than other genres do; the distinction between classical and popular music has sometimes been blurred in marginal areas such as minimalist music and light classics. Background music for films/movies draws on both traditions. In this respect, music is like fiction, which draws a distinction between literary fiction and popular fiction, not always precise. Country music known as country and western, hillbilly music, is a genre of popular music that originated in the southern United States in the early 1920s; the polka is a Czech dance and genre of dance music familiar throughout Europe and the Americas. Rock music is a broad genre of popular music that originated as "rock and roll" in the United States in the early 1950s, developed into a range of different styles in the 1960s and particular
Gothic rock is a style of post-punk that emerged from post-punk in the late 1970s. The first post-punk bands which shifted towards dark music with gothic overtones include Siouxsie and the Banshees, Joy Division and the Cure; the genre itself was defined as a separate movement from post-punk due to its darker music accompanied by introspective and romantic lyrics. Gothic rock gave rise to a broader subculture that included clubs and publications in the 1980s. According to music journalist Simon Reynolds, standard musical fixtures of gothic rock include "scything guitar patterns, high-pitched basslines that usurped the melodic role beats that were either hypnotically dirgelike or tom-tom heavy and'tribal'". Reynolds described the vocal style as consisting of "deep, droning alloys of Jim Morrison and Leonard Cohen". Several acts used drum machines downplaying the rhythm's backbeat. Gothic rock deals with dark themes addressed through lyrics and the music's atmosphere; the poetic sensibilities of the genre led gothic rock lyrics to exhibit literary romanticism, existentialism, religious symbolism or supernatural mysticism.
Musicians who shaped the aesthetics and musical conventions of gothic rock include Marc Bolan, the Velvet Underground, the Doors, David Bowie, Brian Eno, Iggy Pop and the Sex Pistols. Journalist Kurt Loder would write that the song "All Tomorrow's Parties" by the Velvet Underground is a "mesmerizing gothic-rock masterpiece". However, Reynolds considers Alice Cooper as "the true ungodly godfather of goth" due to his "theatrics and black humor". Nico's 1969 album The Marble Index is sometimes described as "the first Goth album". With its stark sound, somber lyrics, Nico's deliberate change in her look, the album became a crucial music and visual prototype for the gothic rock movement. Gothic rock creates a dark atmosphere by drawing influence from the drones used by protopunk group the Velvet Underground, many goth singers are influenced by the "deep and dramatic" vocal timbre of David Bowie, albeit singing at lower pitches. J. G. Ballard was a strong lyrical influence for many of the early gothic rock groups.
In 1976, Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice was published. The main character, although dark, wanted love; the book, according to music journalist Dave Thompson created an audience for gothic rock by word of mouth. The same year saw the punk rock band the Damned debut; the group's vocalist, Dave Vanian, was a former gravedigger. Brian James, a guitarist for the group, noted, "Other groups had safety pins and the spitting and bondage trousers, but you went to a Damned show, half the local cemetery would be propped up against the stage". Critic John Stickney used the term "gothic rock" to describe the music of the Doors in October 1967, in a review published in The Williams Record. Stickney wrote that the band met the journalists "in the gloomy vaulted wine cellar of the Delmonico hotel, the perfect room to honor the gothic rock of the Doors"; the author noted that contrary to the "pleasant, amusing hippies", there was "violence" in their music and a dark atmosphere on stage during their concerts.
In the late 1970s, the word "gothic" was used to describe the atmosphere of post-punk bands like Siouxsie and the Banshees and Joy Division. In a live review about a Siouxsie and the Banshees' concert in July 1978, critic Nick Kent wrote that concerning their performance, "parallels and comparisons can now be drawn with gothic rock architects like the Doors and early Velvet Underground". In March 1979, Kent used the gothic adjective in his review of Magazine's second album, Secondhand Daylight. Kent noted that there was "a new austere sense of authority" to their music, with a "dank neo-Gothic sound". In September, Joy Division's manager Tony Wilson described their music as "gothic" on the television show Something Else, their producer Martin Hannett described their style as "dancing music with gothic overtones" In 1980, Melody Maker wrote that "Joy Division are masters of this gothic gloom"; when their final album Closer came out a couple of months after the death of their singer, Sounds noted in its review that there were "dark strokes of gothic rock".
Not long after, this appellation "became a critical term of abuse" for a band like Bauhaus, who had arrived on the music scene in 1979. At the time, NME considered that "Siouxsie and the Banshees and the Ants and by Joy Division" opened up "a massive market" for newcomers like Bauhaus and Killing Joke: however, critic Andy Gill separated these two groups of bands, pointing out that there was a difference "between art and artifice"; the second Siouxsie and the Banshees album, released in 1979, was a precursor in several aspects. For journalist Alexis Petridis of The Guardian, "A lot of musical signifiers – scything, effects-laden guitar, pounding tribal drums – are audible, on Join Hands". However, Bauhaus's debut single, "Bela Lugosi's Dead", released in late 1979, was retrospectively considered to be the beginning of the gothic rock genre. According to Peter Murphy, the song was written to be tongue-in-cheek, but since the group performed it with "naive seriousness", how the audience understood it.
In the early 1980s, post-punk bands such as Siouxsie and the Banshees and the Cure included more gothic characteristics in their music. According to Reynolds, with their fourth album, 1981's Juju, the Banshees introduced several gothic qualities and sonically, whereas according to The Guardian, Juju was art rock on certain album tracks and pop on the singles, their bassist, Steven Severin, attributed the aesthetic u
An album is a collection of audio recordings issued as a collection on compact disc, audio tape, or another medium. Albums of recorded music were developed in the early 20th century as individual 78-rpm records collected in a bound book resembling a photograph album. Vinyl LPs are still issued, though album sales in the 21st-century have focused on CD and MP3 formats; the audio cassette was a format used alongside vinyl from the 1970s into the first decade of the 2000s. An album may be recorded in a recording studio, in a concert venue, at home, in the field, or a mix of places; the time frame for recording an album varies between a few hours to several years. This process requires several takes with different parts recorded separately, brought or "mixed" together. Recordings that are done in one take without overdubbing are termed "live" when done in a studio. Studios are built to absorb sound, eliminating reverberation, so as to assist in mixing different takes. Recordings, including live, may contain sound effects, voice adjustments, etc..
With modern recording technology, musicians can be recorded in separate rooms or at separate times while listening to the other parts using headphones. Album covers and liner notes are used, sometimes additional information is provided, such as analysis of the recording, lyrics or librettos; the term "album" was applied to a collection of various items housed in a book format. In musical usage the word was used for collections of short pieces of printed music from the early nineteenth century. Collections of related 78rpm records were bundled in book-like albums; when long-playing records were introduced, a collection of pieces on a single record was called an album. An album, in ancient Rome, was a board chalked or painted white, on which decrees and other public notices were inscribed in black, it was from this that in medieval and modern times album came to denote a book of blank pages in which verses, sketches and the like are collected. Which in turn led to the modern meaning of an album as a collection of audio recordings issued as a single item.
In the early nineteenth century "album" was used in the titles of some classical music sets, such as Schumann's Album for the Young Opus 68, a set of 43 short pieces. When 78rpm records came out, the popular 10-inch disc could only hold about three minutes of sound per side, so all popular recordings were limited to around three minutes in length. Classical-music and spoken-word items were released on the longer 12-inch 78s, about 4–5 minutes per side. For example, in 1924, George Gershwin recorded a drastically shortened version of the seventeen-minute Rhapsody in Blue with Paul Whiteman and His Orchestra, it ran for 8m 59s. Deutsche Grammophon had produced an album for its complete recording of the opera Carmen in 1908. German record company Odeon released the Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky in 1909 on 4 double-sided discs in a specially designed package; this practice of issuing albums does not seem to have been taken up by other record companies for many years. By about 1910, bound collections of empty sleeves with a paperboard or leather cover, similar to a photograph album, were sold as record albums that customers could use to store their records.
These albums came in both 12-inch sizes. The covers of these bound books were wider and taller than the records inside, allowing the record album to be placed on a shelf upright, like a book, suspending the fragile records above the shelf and protecting them. In the 1930s, record companies began issuing collections of 78 rpm records by one performer or of one type of music in specially assembled albums with artwork on the front cover and liner notes on the back or inside cover. Most albums included three or four records, with two sides each, making six or eight compositions per album; the 12-inch LP record, or 33 1⁄3 rpm microgroove vinyl record, is a gramophone record format introduced by Columbia Records in 1948. A single LP record had the same or similar number of tunes as a typical album of 78s, it was adopted by the record industry as a standard format for the "album". Apart from minor refinements and the important addition of stereophonic sound capability, it has remained the standard format for vinyl albums.
The term "album" was extended to other recording media such as Compact audio cassette, compact disc, MiniDisc, digital albums, as they were introduced. As part of a trend of shifting sales in the music industry, some observers feel that the early 21st century experienced the death of the album. While an album may contain as many or as few tracks as required, in the United States, The Recording Academy's rules for Grammy Awards state that an album must comprise a minimum total playing time of 15 minutes with at least five distinct tracks or a minimum total playing time of 30 minutes with no minimum track requirement. In the United Kingdom, the criteria for the UK Albums Chart is that a recording counts as an "album" i
The RCA Corporation was a major American electronics company, founded as the Radio Corporation of America in 1919. It was a wholly owned subsidiary of General Electric. An innovative and progressive company, RCA was the dominant electronics and communications firm in the United States for over five decades. RCA was at the forefront of the mushrooming radio industry in the early 1920s, as a major manufacturer of radio receivers, the exclusive manufacturer of the first superheterodyne models. RCA created the first American radio network, the National Broadcasting Company; the company was a pioneer in the introduction and development of television, both black-and-white and color. During this period, RCA was identified with the leadership of David Sarnoff, he was general manager at the company's founding, became president in 1930, remained active, as chairman of the board, until the end of 1969. RCA's impregnable stature began to weaken in the mid-1970s, as it attempted to diversify and expand into a multifaceted conglomerate.
The company suffered enormous financial losses in the mainframe computer industry and other failed projects such as the CED videodisc. In 1986, RCA was reacquired by General Electric, which over the next few years liquidated most of the corporation's assets. Today, RCA exists as a brand name only. RCA originated as a reorganization of the Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company of America. In 1897, the Wireless Telegraph and Signal Company, was founded in London to promote the radio inventions of Guglielmo Marconi; as part of worldwide expansion, in 1899 American Marconi was organized as a subsidiary company, holding the rights to use the Marconi patents in the United States and Cuba. In 1912 it took over the assets of the bankrupt United Wireless Telegraph Company, from that point forward it had been the dominant radio communications company in the United States. With the entry of the United States into World War One in April 1917, the government took over most civilian radio stations, to use them for the war effort.
Although the overall U. S. government plan was to restore civilian ownership of the seized radio stations once the war ended, many Navy officials hoped to retain a monopoly on radio communication after the war. Defying instructions to the contrary, the Navy began purchasing large numbers of stations outright. With the conclusion of the conflict, Congress turned down the Navy's efforts to have peacetime control of the radio industry, instructed the Navy to make plans to return the commercial stations it controlled, including the ones it had improperly purchased, to the original owners. Due to national security considerations, the Navy was concerned about returning the high-powered international stations to American Marconi, since a majority of its stock was in foreign hands, the British largely controlled the international undersea cables; this concern was increased by the announcement in late 1918 of the formation of the Pan-American Wireless Telegraph and Telephone Company, a joint venture between American Marconi and the Federal Telegraph Company, with plans to set up service between the United States and South America.
The Navy had installed a high-powered Alexanderson alternator, built by General Electric, at the American Marconi transmitter site in New Brunswick, New Jersey. It proved to be superior for transatlantic transmissions to the spark transmitters, traditionally used by the Marconi companies. Marconi officials were so impressed by the capabilities of the Alexanderson alternators that they began making preparations to adopt them as their standard transmitters for international communication. A tentative plan made with General Electric proposed that over a two-year period the Marconi companies would purchase most of GE's alternator production. However, this proposal was met with disapproval, on national security grounds, by the U. S. Navy, concerned that this would guarantee British domination of international radio communication; the Navy, claiming it was acting with the support of President Wilson, looked for an alternative that would result in an "all-American" company taking over the American Marconi assets.
In April 1919 two naval officers, Admiral H. G. Bullard and Commander S. C. Hooper, met with GE's president, Owen D. Young, asking that he suspend the pending alternator sales to the Marconi companies; this move would leave General Electric without a buyer for its transmitters, so the officers proposed that GE purchase American Marconi, use the assets to form its own radio communications subsidiary. Young consented to this proposal, effective November 20, 1919, transformed American Marconi into the Radio Corporation of America; the new company was promoted as being a patriotic gesture. RCA's incorporation papers required that its officers needed to be U. S. citizens, with a majority of its stock held by Americans. RCA retained most of the American Marconi staff, although Owen Young became the new company's head as the chairman of the board. Former American Marconi vice president and general manager E. J. Nally become RCA's first president. Nally's term ended on December 31, 1922, he was succeeded the next day by Major General James G. Harbord.