porgyandbess-edited - Sara Levine Humanities Core Course...

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Sara Levine 3/6/08 Humanities Core Course Ben Bishop Porgy and Bess Program Notes Porgy and Bess got its start in 1926 when its brainchild, George Gershwin, read a novel by DuBose Heyward called Porgy . This novel by Heyward was about life in the Gullah community in Charleston, North Carolina. Gershwin was inspired by this novel to write an opera adaptation of it, but it wasn’t until 1933 that he was able to persuade Heyward to collaborate with him to work on the opera. He agreed only after a proposal for a musical production had fallen through. George Gershwin was born as a minority to Russian Jewish immigrants, which showed why he was so fascinated with the society of the minority cultures in the United States. Gershwin started playing piano at a very young age and was taught classical European style. He was never really interested in that and leaned more towards the jazz and ragtime movement in the United States during that time period. Gershwin’s first major achievement was Rhapsody in Blue, which was written for solo piano and jazz band and launched him into the musical community as a jazz composer. One of Gershwin’s first jobs was being a song plugger. This was what record companies would use before demos were invented. The artist trying to get a record label would hire this
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person to perform their song live. This job helped Gershwin expand his styles in music by being forced to play different people’s songs. This also helped with his ability to transpose music, which is when a composer changes the music from one instrument to
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porgyandbess-edited - Sara Levine Humanities Core Course...

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