Fall09_Week11-summary%20part%201

Fall09_Week11-summary%20part%201 - Crossing the Atlantic...

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Crossing the Atlantic MUS 302L Week 11 - part I
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Cultivated vs. (?) Vernacular Cultivated music is music that has been consciously developed as “art” (?) and carefully taught (for example, at conservatories) Vernacular music is music that we think of as “natural” (?), that develops “spontaneously” (??) out of our culture’s expression This distinction has to do with how we think of our music and our culture, rather than with any inherent qualities in the music’s sound Nonetheless, it is a useful distinction, especially for the history of musical style (and social place of music) in the United States European immigrants bring what they consider “cultivated” music to North America; by 1800s, established tradition is German (symphonic) and Italian (operatic) Immigrants also establish a separate musical tradition, which gradually becomes associated with “American vernacular music” Two basic categories in the American “vernacular” tradition: sacred music (hymns) and secular music (songs, dances, marches)
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Early immigrants to “New England” are strongly religious; singing of hymns is integral part of their daily devotion (lining out. ..) In 1700s, North American church leaders condemn “lining out” as too chaotic; they push for musical literacy so that each person can learn to sing accurately Late 1700s: musical hymn books in simple 4-part polyphony (mostly homophonic) are printed by the thousands; leading composer is William Billings (not a “formally” trained musician) An example: Billings, “David’s Lamentation” 4-part simple hymns by Billings and other early 19th century American composers continue to be sung to this day An example: Billings, “David’s Lamentation” from the Alabama “sacred harp” / “shape-note” tradition; recorded in 1959 at a community sing in Fyffe, AL Sacred Music in North America, 1620 -
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Push for musical literacy (for sacred singing) in late 1700s leads to widespread ability to read musical notation in the early U.S. English immigrants are especially fond of “folksongs” that remind them of England; thousands printed in early 1800s American rising middle/upper classes buy pianos for their homes, imitating their European counterparts; important American piano builders (Steinway, etc) an important inFuence By mid-1800s, American musicians compose and print hundreds of new songs that draw on wistfulness, nostalgia of folksong tradition as well as the “bel canto” melodies of Italian opera Most renowned 19c American songwriter is Stephen ±oster ; his songs sold tens of thousands of copies, gained almost “folksong” status (Example: Stephen ±oster, “Camptown Ladies”) Secular Music in North America, ca. 1800-1900
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Foster’s songs become especially popular in the mid-late 1800s through minstrel shows : theatrical productions, including singing and dancing, performed by white men in blackface , acting out “scenes from the plantation”
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Fall09_Week11-summary%20part%201 - Crossing the Atlantic...

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