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Topic: American Music with an American sound  (Read 2361 times)

Offline nmitchell076

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American Music with an American sound
on: April 26, 2010, 02:06:55 AM
Recently, I have become very interested in the sort of "folk" American classical music such as Bernstein, Copland, and (especially) George Gershwin.

In my opinion, these are some of the only composers who were able to do what Liszt (ie, Hungarian Rhapsodies), Chopin (ie Mazurkas), Ginastera (ie. Danzas Argentinas), and Dvorak (ie, Ze Šumavy) did for their contries.  To use another comparison, I believe these composers have done for music what F. Scott Fitzgerald has done for literature.

Sadly, the piano output of these composers seems very restrained.  I'd say nearly 100% of Gershwin's work was in this vein (but since he was stretched between Broadway and Art music, and since he died so young, the quantity is limited).  But Copland and Bernstein seem to have done the majority of their work in this style for other mediums, since their piano work seems to be primarily in other styles (excepting Copland's Concerto and Four Piano Blues).

Is there any other composer who has done work like I'm talking about?  most of the American music I've come across seems to be more on the side of Cowell / Ives / Ornstein side of things.  The music I have found in the genre I'm talking about is sort of transparent, or easy, I'm looking for the kind of things that would be acceptable to play on a conservatory level (or at least liberal-arts music department level).

IDK, it just bugs me that so many other countries have been able to voice their country through their music via folk songs, traditional dance styles, rhythmic or tonal preferences etc., why must the majority of America's output be in the abstract?
Pieces:
Beethoven - Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31 No. 2
Chopin - Nocturne in Bb minor Op. 9 No. 1
Debussy - "La Danse De Puck"
Somers - Sonnet No. 3, "Primeval"
Gershwin - Concerto in F
Franz Liszt:
- Top pieces & piano scores to download
- Biography & quotes
- Related forum topics & articles
Frédéric Chopin:
- Top pieces & piano scores to download
- Biography & quotes
- Related forum topics & articles

Offline stevebob

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Re: American Music with an American sound
Reply #1 on: April 26, 2010, 02:36:33 AM
[...] IDK, it just bugs me that so many other countries have been able to voice their country through their music via folk songs, traditional dance styles, rhythmic or tonal preferences etc., why must the majority of America's output be in the abstract?

I don't believe the uniquely American cultural contribution to the musical world is abstract at all, but it's not expressed in a classical idiom.  It's jazz.
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Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: American Music with an American sound
Reply #2 on: April 26, 2010, 03:18:22 AM
One of the first American composers I came across was Louis Moreau Gottschalk and I still love his music to this day!
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_Moreau_Gottschalk
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Offline retrouvailles

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Re: American Music with an American sound
Reply #3 on: April 26, 2010, 05:10:59 AM
If you like Copland, he is a nice springboard to a lot of neglected composers in a sort of Americana and neoclassical idiom. Walter Piston, William Schuman, Vincent Persichetti, Roy Harris, and David Diamond are a few names. They are all known for their numerous symphonies, but they also have substantial piano works in their catalogues. Persichetti wrote 12 piano sonatas, notably. Diamond also has a very good piano sonata. Any pieces by these composers would look great on a conservatory level recital program and are very accessible. It just goes to show that some of the best piano works are right under your nose. You just have to know what it smells like. I should also mention that these composers did not go the jazz influenced route, as Copland and Bernstein did.

Offline ted

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Re: American Music with an American sound
Reply #4 on: April 26, 2010, 05:32:21 AM
Try the music of David Thomas Roberts.

Example here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6UpTtGs1veg

and here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTpVl5CmBOM

There are several other performances on youtube.
"Mistakes are the portals of discovery." - James Joyce

Offline ahinton

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Re: American Music with an American sound
Reply #5 on: April 26, 2010, 07:00:18 AM
If you like Copland, he is a nice springboard to a lot of neglected composers in a sort of Americana and neoclassical idiom. Walter Piston, William Schuman, Vincent Persichetti, Roy Harris, and David Diamond are a few names.
They are indeed, but how many of their many symphonies (add in others here such as Peter Mennin) ever get performed in public, even in America itself which has a rich orchestral tradition? (that's not a value judgement, by the way - anything but, in fact! - just a statement of fact that is perhaps best illustrated by the realisation that Harris only wrote one symphony, of course - his third); also, I'm not so sure that the term "neo-classical", however broadly it might be interpreted, does sufficient as a descriptor to cover these composers' considerable symphonic output. You could have included Carter in the light of his early "American" sounding music such as the symphony and Holiday Overture (and let's not forget the story that, in those days, Copland was writing the score of Appalachian Spring on the Carters' dining room table!), but I think that you'd find that Carter considers all of his music to sound "American" because that's what he is - an American, born in New York the day after the première of Skryabin's Poème de l'Extase and still composing in New York today.

Best,

Alistair
Alistair Hinton
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The Sorabji Archive

Offline retrouvailles

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Re: American Music with an American sound
Reply #6 on: April 26, 2010, 08:08:34 AM
I suppose that is a good point. It is hard to say what really is "American music", aside from just playing the "folk song" card. Considering this, perhaps mentioning Carter's old friend Charles Ives is appropriate, despite the original poster's apparent lack of desire for it. If one really examines it, though, it really is the sound of America, in both the broadest and narrowest terms. I am reminded of Putnam's Camp from Three Places in New England (I believe), which sounds like two marching bands in a park approaching each other and then separating. His piano sonatas and piano works have other such effects in them and have their own elements of Americana in them.

Offline ahinton

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Re: American Music with an American sound
Reply #7 on: April 26, 2010, 09:20:16 AM
I don't have the quotes to hand, unfortunately, but Virgil Thomson and Elliott Carter each (independently of one another, I'm fairly sure) made remarks about how to write American music along the lines that all one has to do is be an American citizen and then write just the way one wants to; sounds logical enough to me! - and no one ever accused Sessions of "un-American activities" as far as I know...

Best,

Alistair
Alistair Hinton
Curator / Director
The Sorabji Archive

Offline sashaco

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Re: American Music with an American sound
Reply #8 on: April 26, 2010, 12:08:56 PM
Surely the 20th century has sufficiently blurred the line between broadway or other popular styles and "art music" that we no longer need make that distinction?

William Bolcolm has written some nifty ragtime pieces, and would guess he's done other piano music as well.  The rags I remember are "The Graceful Ghost" and "Seabiscuits."  Both great fun.
 

Offline ramseytheii

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Re: American Music with an American sound
Reply #9 on: April 26, 2010, 01:36:01 PM
Recently, I have become very interested in the sort of "folk" American classical music such as Bernstein, Copland, and (especially) George Gershwin.

In my opinion, these are some of the only composers who were able to do what Liszt (ie, Hungarian Rhapsodies), Chopin (ie Mazurkas), Ginastera (ie. Danzas Argentinas), and Dvorak (ie, Ze Šumavy) did for their contries.  To use another comparison, I believe these composers have done for music what F. Scott Fitzgerald has done for literature.

Sadly, the piano output of these composers seems very restrained.  I'd say nearly 100% of Gershwin's work was in this vein (but since he was stretched between Broadway and Art music, and since he died so young, the quantity is limited).  But Copland and Bernstein seem to have done the majority of their work in this style for other mediums, since their piano work seems to be primarily in other styles (excepting Copland's Concerto and Four Piano Blues).

Is there any other composer who has done work like I'm talking about?  most of the American music I've come across seems to be more on the side of Cowell / Ives / Ornstein side of things.  The music I have found in the genre I'm talking about is sort of transparent, or easy, I'm looking for the kind of things that would be acceptable to play on a conservatory level (or at least liberal-arts music department level).

IDK, it just bugs me that so many other countries have been able to voice their country through their music via folk songs, traditional dance styles, rhythmic or tonal preferences etc., why must the majority of America's output be in the abstract?

I think you hit on an interesting topic, though I don't really agree with how you pose the central question.  And there are some certainly good replies.

As ahinton wrote, the only thing that qualifies one for being an American composer is an American passport.  And yet we must not forget, that there was a time when American composers very consciously tried to search for a way to sound distinctly American.  Now we can make easy comments like that, but they actually struggled.  

I think in particular this was a condition of thought in Copland's time, meaning the 40's and 50's and perhaps 60's, but something that seems to have eventually faded with time.  He tried to capture certain American folk elements, and American rituals in his music.  

For me though it is precisely that music that I don't really like.  I find it too self-conscious, too transparent.  And I think it speaks to a problem that others have encountered trying to create or predict "American" music, which is that they try and use original American melodies or music, in a processed, motivically based, central European sort of way.

Think of Dvorak, for instance.  He declared that the Negro spiritual would be the future of American music.  He could say that because he and Brahms, his teacher, were able to assimilate elements of outlying cultures into the German-centric musical traditions to which they subscribed.  Brahms in particular, created a strong flavor of what people thought of as "Eastern," meaning Hungarian, music, while retaining his techniques of motivic transformation, development, and the like.

The problem with Dvorak's approach, and the approach that most people have assumed, is that the material may not be suited to treatment in that manner.  We can certainly say, from his point of view, he was totally wrong about the Negro spiritual as it relates to classical music. What works take famous spiritual tunes, like "Were you there," or "Ride on, King Jesus," or, "Nobody knows," or "Steal away," and treat them successfully as germinal motives for a large structure?

That's what Dvorak was imagining would happen, and of course that is precisely what didn't happen.  He was inadvertantly right, in the sense that the Spiritual had a lot to do with the creation of jazz and blues, which are American inventions.  But he was wrong to think that all folk music could be treated in the same way.

I think the lesson to be drawn is that what makes something distinctly this or that, is not so much source material, but process.  For me, Ives and Cage and Cowell are much more "American" in this regard.  I'm not saying that as a value judgment, but just to point out my view that one doesn't have to use American sources to make music that is distinct (although Ives did use a lot of very traditional American music).  And in this view, it is not an accident that Varese flourished in America.

In short, if you are trying to define the American musical experience as something parallel to the European one, as you seem to be doing by searching for the "American" mazurka, the "American" rhapsody, or whatever, you are really missing the point, and not realizing the true distinct qualities of what has developed here.

Just some ramblings.  Of course there are a lot of generalizations.  But I think we can generalize, based on the fact that many composers have tried hard to consciously write "American music."

Walter Ramsey


Offline stevebob

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Re: American Music with an American sound
Reply #10 on: April 26, 2010, 03:44:36 PM
In Music for the Piano, first published in 1954, Friskin and Freundlich wrote (in the introduction to the section called "Composers in the United States"):

Quote
Piano music written by composers in the United States presents a very uneven quality of achievement.  Until very recent times composers born in this country have been, in most cases, a pale reflection of European trends.  Especially is this so with composers steeped in the tradition of German Romanticism.  It has been a battle for the American composer to come out from under the shadow of powerful, long-established traditions to create an individual, national school built on the best world-wide traditions but nonetheless characteristically American in style and content.  The situation in the field of piano music is but one phase of the musical situation in general.

However, there are a number of works that begin to form the body of a repertoire for pianists in exploring and presenting the efforts of native contemporary composers.  The following list must be accepted as a selection that merely suggests the growing extent of the field and undoubtedly has many gaps both in composers and individual works.

"Selection that ... has many gaps" or not, the list of composers and significant works is nonetheless over 40 pages long and comprises about 100 individuals.

Hinson's much more up-to-date Guide to the Pianist's Repertoire lists about 40 anthologies of American piano music and around 400 individual American composers.
What passes you ain't for you.

Offline nmitchell076

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Re: American Music with an American sound
Reply #11 on: April 26, 2010, 09:47:15 PM
The problem with Dvorak's approach, and the approach that most people have assumed, is that the material may not be suited to treatment in that manner.  We can certainly say, from his point of view, he was totally wrong about the Negro spiritual as it relates to classical music. What works take famous spiritual tunes, like "Were you there," or "Ride on, King Jesus," or, "Nobody knows," or "Steal away," and treat them successfully as germinal motives for a large structure?

Very true, I remember reading that "jazz, and ragtime in particular, benefited most from episodic treatment and brief forms and that forcing it into the developmental modes of 'good music' lessened its value." (Mary Herron Dupree: " 'Jazz,' the Critics, and American Art Music in the 1920s."

I think the lesson to be drawn is that what makes something distinctly this or that, is not so much source material, but process.  For me, Ives and Cage and Cowell are much more "American" in this regard.  I'm not saying that as a value judgment, but just to point out my view that one doesn't have to use American sources to make music that is distinct (although Ives did use a lot of very traditional American music).  And in this view, it is not an accident that Varese flourished in America.

In short, if you are trying to define the American musical experience as something parallel to the European one, as you seem to be doing by searching for the "American" mazurka, the "American" rhapsody, or whatever, you are really missing the point, and not realizing the true distinct qualities of what has developed here.
I agree that we should by no means force music into the old romantic forms.  And believe me, I LOVE the music of Cowell, Cage, Ives, Ornstein, etc.  But I love it in a much different way.  I guess its upsetting that we cannot have music that acts (from the effect alone, NOT the structure) in the way the examples used in my first post (Liszt, Chopin, Ginastera, etc.) do for our country, without being transparent or, as you say, be tied down to the structure of Romantic Germany.

I mean, Debussy certainly didn't adhere to strict German harmonic structures and form, he created a "new sound" (though certainly Debussy was not the first to deviate from traditional structure) that was distinctly French, in that it "mimicked the colors of the French vowel" (not exact quoting, nor can I remember the source).

Another point is that it seems like when Chopin, Ginastera, etc wrote their nationalist music, they did so specifically to voice their country in ways that the common people of that country could relate to on a very deep level.  As much as I love the output of many American composers, they seem to not be consciously attempting to express their country as much they wanted to express themselves.  While I think often the two are synonymous, other times (as in the case with Brahm's "eastern sounding music," and much of the classical composers' non-nationalist output) they are not synonymous. Rarely, however, is it opposing (this is certainly not to suggest that any of the works mentioned the expression of the public).

But maybe this in itself is the public being too rooted in romantic thought, that our ears are so tuned to the sounds of classical Germany that in order to write anything that appeals audibly to the common "soul" of America, we have to write in the German style, which leads right back to the problems we opened with.   I am perfectly open (and actually inclined) to this position.

So then, before we can have American "sounding" music be equal to the truly masterful works of Cowell, Ornstein and that realm of music, must the "soul of america" adapt to this sort of music? or is their any hope for composing with innovation while still trying to capture that "sound of america" that no one of yet seems to have successfully utilized to the utmost?  

Please keep in mind that I in no take the elitist point of view that works by Cowell, Ornstein, Schoenburg, etc. are of a lesser quality then tonal music or that I think an American Sound would be in any way better then the compositions of these great composers.  I simply feel as though "american nationalist" piano music (I noticed alot of people mentioning non-piano music, which is fantastic, I've enjoyed listening to all of it! But what I'm looking for specifically is music to perform.  I do not discourage you from posting symphonic works, however.  Just trying to explain why I declined from mentioning Ives, etc.  Because their piano output is either impossible to find, or more like the kind discussed above) is a niche that has seen relatively little treatment.
Pieces:
Beethoven - Sonata No. 17 in D minor, Op. 31 No. 2
Chopin - Nocturne in Bb minor Op. 9 No. 1
Debussy - "La Danse De Puck"
Somers - Sonnet No. 3, "Primeval"
Gershwin - Concerto in F

Offline avguste

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Re: American Music with an American sound
Reply #12 on: April 29, 2010, 03:48:44 PM
I guess this enters in my expertise area, since I am a dedicated performer of 20th and 21st century American living composers.
To name a few composers:

Carter Pann https://carterpann.com
John Mackey
Robert Rollin https://robertrollin.com/
Raina Murnak
Matthew Lewis
Till Meyn
George Gianpolous https://www.georgengianopoulos.com

and others.

You can check some of the recordings on my website at https://avgusteantonov.com and of course on each composer website.
As you can see and hear, the composers write in their own style and quite "Americana".

On another note, if you are into American music, you might be interested on my upcoming CD of American music on the Parma Recordings label. Check https://avgusteantonov.com/products.html

Obviously if you have any specific questions about the above composers, please dont hesitate to ask.

Best Regards

Avguste Antonov
Concert Pianist
https://avgusteantonov.com
Avguste Antonov
Pianiste Concertiste
Professeur de Piano | Conservatoire Intercommunal de Chateaubriant

Offline jhvisible

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Re: American Music with an American sound
Reply #13 on: May 05, 2010, 10:40:17 AM
Hello. I suppose I can offer my own music as something that has an American-type sound. I'm American but have lived in the UK for fifteen years. My interests while growing up included Copland, Bartok, Prokofiev, Shostakovich and jazz, along with classical composers, and my sound world, the pitches and harmonies used, has often been considered by reviewers and players as American (though perhaps this is a result of the mixture of styles and colors).

And I can recommend Waltzes by 25 Contemporary Composers (Peters Edition), which presumably is still in print. There are many American composers to be found in the book (though it's not exclusively American).

Cheers
Jean Hasse
https://visible-music.com/jh_ppinfo.htm

Offline nanabush

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Re: American Music with an American sound
Reply #14 on: May 05, 2010, 06:02:29 PM
These are pretty cool.  How much are the books?  These pieces remind me of Christopher Norton's stuff.  :)
Interested in discussing:

-Prokofiev Toccata
-Scriabin Sonata 2

Offline malwambi

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Re: American Music with an American sound
Reply #15 on: May 05, 2010, 07:09:00 PM
I'm surprised no one has mentioned Samuel Barber yet!

His adagio for strings is one of the world's most famous pieces and his violin concerto is gorgeous.

You may enjoy his piano sonata (although it isn't really "folky," and folkiness seems to be what you seek). 

Additionally, I know that it isn't the most sophisticated music, but everyone loves Joplin!

If I were overseas and someone asked me to perform something "American" for them, I would play Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, Gershwin's Piano Concerto in F, Gerswhin's 3 Preludes, Gerswhin's piano transcription of his strings piece "Lullaby," and then I'd play Joplin rags for the rest of the night. 

Offline jhvisible

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Re: American Music with an American sound
Reply #16 on: May 06, 2010, 09:00:30 AM
Hi nanabush. The Pocket Pieces you asked about are $9.95 per book in the US and Canada (there are about 20 pieces in each book). £6.50 each in the UK, Europe and elsewhere.
Jean Hasse


Offline birba

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Re: American Music with an American sound
Reply #17 on: May 06, 2010, 12:18:21 PM
The Gershwin "song" book is a classic.  His own piano solo arrangements.

Offline soitainly

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Re: American Music with an American sound
Reply #18 on: May 06, 2010, 05:46:42 PM
 I can't really answer the question directly about American music in regards to classical piano arrangements/compositions. I am sure there are a few and some have been mentioned, but it is an area that could be explored further. Instead of waiting around for someone else to do it, I pose the question why don't you (or we/us) do it.

 I think there are a couple of obstacles that have prevented this. One is the insane drive to categorize and market music in very defined genres. Another is a lack of composers and improvisers amongst the classical piano crowd. It used to be the case that most composers wrote music mostly to have something to play that was an extension of their musical personality. About the time that recordings became possible that aspect of music has been largely passed over by classical musicians. Isn't it time to return to musical creation.

 It's pretty easy for teachers and universities to crank out highly skilled piano players, and for people with natural talent the level of playing is probably higher than it has ever been. But it's a bit of a cop out to not foster a spirit of creativity, even in classical studies. It ought to be a requirement to compose and improvise to graduate, otherwise the same old stuff just gets perpetuated.  There will always be a place for a few pianists to play historicaly accurate renditions, but not for the thousands of students pushed out each year. It would be like an art school that teaches a mass of painters to copy the Mona Lisa.

Offline liordavid

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Re: American Music with an American sound
Reply #19 on: June 01, 2010, 08:50:16 PM
I wonder about classical composers today that have a strong American pop influence in there music

Offline ramseytheii

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Re: American Music with an American sound
Reply #20 on: June 04, 2010, 09:56:01 PM
I can't really answer the question directly about American music in regards to classical piano arrangements/compositions. I am sure there are a few and some have been mentioned, but it is an area that could be explored further. Instead of waiting around for someone else to do it, I pose the question why don't you (or we/us) do it.

 I think there are a couple of obstacles that have prevented this. One is the insane drive to categorize and market music in very defined genres. Another is a lack of composers and improvisers amongst the classical piano crowd. It used to be the case that most composers wrote music mostly to have something to play that was an extension of their musical personality. About the time that recordings became possible that aspect of music has been largely passed over by classical musicians. Isn't it time to return to musical creation.

 It's pretty easy for teachers and universities to crank out highly skilled piano players, and for people with natural talent the level of playing is probably higher than it has ever been. But it's a bit of a cop out to not foster a spirit of creativity, even in classical studies. It ought to be a requirement to compose and improvise to graduate, otherwise the same old stuff just gets perpetuated.  There will always be a place for a few pianists to play historicaly accurate renditions, but not for the thousands of students pushed out each year. It would be like an art school that teaches a mass of painters to copy the Mona Lisa.

I strongly agree with this post.  The way that piano teaching has progressed, if you read those prefaces in the horrible 19th century method books, or even reading accounts of the famous teachers' lessons (which always come across as so vague; i suspect many of those teachers like Liszt were more dependent on the force of their personality), you wonder how anyone could have learned to play piano in those days.  Now we have it down to a science, where practically any idiot can learn to play Chopin etudes and Liszt sonatas et al.

As you say, there will always be a place for pianists to crank out "historically accurate" renditions, though I disagree that that ever happens, but I know what you mean.  Not every pianist should saddle himself with the same goal of trying to play a piece "as it was intended to be played."  That means such a huge variety of things that we can never fathom.

Listening to any composer play their works from, say, the 20's and before, you will find a hundred instances where they do this or that, and it is not marked in the score.  So much of what they were doing was part of a musical culture, that was familiar to musicians and audiences alike.  Now this whole attitude of only doing what is written, is probably the least historically accurate approach for most pieces.

The problem is, we have a few composers like Bartok and Schoenberg, and Messiaen and Prokofiev, who wrote down every single thing they wanted to have happen in their music.  That's frankly a 20th century mindset.  We've taken that mindset, and homogenized every other composer, assuming that they were thinking the same way, when clearly they were not.

I find it curious, the overall drive towards hypocritical fundamentalism that we see in so many aspects of today's life, that has been brewing for at least a few decades.  It's visible in religions, from the resurgence of fundamentalist Islamism to an equally fundamentalist, though less violent, Christianism that you especially see in the US.  You see it in the courts, where the conservatives declare that the only way to rule is to limit yourself strictly to words in the Constitution.  And of course you see it in music, where the lack of connection with historical periods has given way to a rigid fundamentalism that declares only what in the score is permissible.

This is a dangerous mindset because it kills creativity on so many levels, and creates societized pressure on musicians to conform.  I have friends who have published recordings, and told me stories about the record producers telling them they couldn't play this or that in a certain way, because it wasn't notated.  Thank the gods in heaven that those producers weren't nosing in on the great sessions of Schnabel, Rachmaninoff, Horowitz, Rubinstein, et al, who did myriad things that were not notated, and were sometimes even the opposite of what was on the page.

You might find a hole in my position by arguing that since we are disconnected from the historical culture that created and fostered the music we play today, we can't therefore imitate the way they would have played it, and so must confine ourselves to the score alone.  But I disagree.  in that case, we must create a new culture, a new way of looking at the music we are playing.  To become a fundamentalist is to kill true understanding, which of course lies in the spirit.

Just some random thoughts.

Walter Ramsey


Offline ted

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Re: American Music with an American sound
Reply #21 on: June 06, 2010, 04:25:46 AM
A very good post, Walter. You either succumb to the narrow musical channels of societal pressure to a greater or less extent in order to be a musician, or if you are like me you protect the creative aspect, your artistic integrity, and have nothing to do with the music business or musicians, earning a living through something else. Jazz has embraced fundamentalism no less than the classical brigade - an absolute horror of "ought tos" and "musts" quite foreign to the splendid impulses which started it. I don't know anything about pop music but I'll bet the same applies there too.

No good worrying about it though; just listen to what you enjoy, create how and what you need to and ignore everybody. It probably shouldn't be that way in an ideal world but I don't see it changing in a hurry; there are too many with vested interests.
"Mistakes are the portals of discovery." - James Joyce

Offline bryfarr

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Re: American Music with an American sound
Reply #22 on: October 12, 2023, 02:25:29 PM
    Good question - suggestions for "American sounding" ("folk") piano music.  By folk I'm guessing you mean jazz (and jazz precursors) influenced, since you mention Bernstein, Gershwin.  You also mention Copland, who is not directly jazz influenced but who certainly wanted to create an authentic "American" sound - that's a unique category, and a rare one.  There are some helpful posts above (and many that go in other directions, like suggesting European tradition American composers). 

    Here's a list of American "folk"-influenced piano solo music (some repeats from earlier posts).
    - Gottschalk (already mentioned) - specifically, Souvenir de Porto Rico, The Banjo, etc.
    - Ragtime - Scott Joplin, Joseph Lamb, Arthur Marshall (and many more)
    - Novelty Piano (evolved from  Ragtime) - Felix Arndt's "Nola", the works of Zez Confrey, Pauline Alpert, Rube Bloom (and many more)
    - Florence Price - some of the dances
    - Copland wrote some solo piano pieces - did you look?  So did Bernstein ("Anniversaries")
    - William Bolcolm - 3 Ghost Rags (1971), and more ..

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