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Lecture_Chapter_14 - 1 Lecture Chapter 14 American...

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Lecture Chapter 14 American Classical Music (Page 307) In the 18 th and early 19 th centuries, very little distinction existed between classical and popular music in America. The most tuneful melodies of operas, folk songs and art songs were appealing to the public. In the late 19 th century , the gap widened. Popular songs took on a more rhythmic, syncopated feel, especially in minstrel songs. New songs emerged with cross-cultural influences of Anglos, blacks, Creoles and other ethnic groups. Popular music became the music of the average middle-class American, while classical music became music for the elite. America was a middle- class society. In order for professional and amateur musicians to earn money, their music must appeal to the mass audiences---the middle-class. The rise of the music industry promoted music designed for the mass audiences. By the mid-20 th century classical and experimental composers depended on the American Universities as a patron. Because of the recording industry, world music, films, live concerts, and public radio and television, the listening audience and amateur musicians were exposed to many different styles of music. Of course we saw in the last chapter how electronic music branched out to jazz, rock, and popular music. We know that the British Isles provided the major influence in American music. Making music was important even to our early Presidents as we mentioned at the beginning of the semester. Public concerts and opera were prevalent by the mid-18 th century. In fact the first important classical genre popular in the U.S. was the English ballad opera of John Gay— The Beggar’s Opera. We also had overtures to operas, program music and piano music. As more immigrants came from Europe, the music of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven became known through American publishers. Music instruction was important to Americans from the early Singing 1
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schools; the Handel and Haydn Society of Boston; to the first formal music program in the public schools of Boston, established by Lowell Mason in 1838. The first music curriculum in an American university began at Harvard in 1875, and taught by America’s first professor of music, John Knowles Paine (formed a group of Romantic composers who wrote in the style of Schubert, Schumann and Mendelssohn). By the mid-19 th century, the romantic ideals of individualism and personal freedom brought European virtuoso performers to America. Jenny Lind, known as the “Swedish nightingale” achieved great success. Her audiences were in awe of her virtuosity. Therefore, to become a virtuoso, Americans traveled to Europe, especially to study music. Americans at this time felt that their music was inferior to European music. Americans who aspired to become professional musicians traveled to Europe, especially Germany, for their education. European symphony orchestras began to tour the United States, and their conductors often became stars. Large eastern cities soon established their own symphony orchestras: New York, Boston and Chicago. Most of the American orchestras hired European conductors.
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