American Art Music and National Identities


MHS 590
American Art Music and National Identities

June 27-August 3, 2017 / Tuesday, Thursday, 2:00-4:30 p.m.
Room: NSL 404

Maria Cristina Fava

The debate concerning American identity in music, which has characterized the work of many composers and writers since the nineteenth century, became especially intense in the wake of World War I, when some prominent young composers pursued the development of American art music. But what does “American” in music mean? Should a composer write descriptive music that portrays the broad American landscape? Or is the real essence of American music to be found in the sounds of the industrial cities? Are jazz and Broadway the true American musical idioms? Can a composer be American by relying on folk music? And if so, what is the “typical” American folk music? We will address these questions by focusing on the music of Louis Moreau Gottschalk, composers of the Second New England School, Charles Ives, Carlos Chávez, Marc Blitzstein, Edgard Varèse, George Gershwin, Roy Harris, Aaron Copland, Henry Cowell, and many more.

$4,650 / 3 credits     CRN 18693

Planning your arrival and departure:
First scheduled activity: Class starts Tuesday, June 27 at 2:00 p.m.
Last scheduled activity: Class ends Thursday, August 3 at 4:30 p.m.

“Extremely interesting and pertinent! American music is not taught enough in music history courses.” – 2015 student

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