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A.Word.A.Day--Tin Pan Alley

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Tin Pan Alley (tin pan AL-ee) noun

Popular music industry; composers, songwriters, and music publishers considered collectively.

[After West 28th Street in New York City where music publishers were formerly centered. From the cacophony of cheap pianos and hack musicians the area came to be known as Tin Pan Alley (apparently from the term tinny piano) and eventually became generalized to refer to the whole music industry. The term, popular in the past, is less used today.]

The corresponding term in the UK is Denmark Street in London. The UK capital also has the literary equivalent of Tin Pan Alley/Denmark Street in Grub Street, a collective term for hack writers.

See more usage examples of tin pan+alley in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

"[Neil Diamond's] got one foot planted in Tin Pan Alley songcraft and the other in Vegas shtick." Greg Kot; Kneel to Neil; Chicago Tribune; Aug 2, 2005.

This week's theme: metaphorical terms having origins in New York.


A sneer is the weapon of the weak. -James Russell Lowell, poet, editor, and diplomat (1819-1891)

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