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First American Music - Essay Example

The objective of this paper is to explore the “First” American music written by Charles Ives, Antonin Dvorak and Louis M. Gottschalk. It will then recommend who among the three composers deserves the most credit for writing a distinctive American sound. Charles Ives Charles Edward Ives was an American modernist composer born in 1874 and later died in 1954. He is one among the first American composers of international renown. However, at the beginning, his music was not received well among the people until late when his work came to be regarded as “American Original.” He trained in music at Yale. In tailoring himself to the audience, through music and in person, Ives appeals to the experiences he share with them. He composed several mature and appealing pieces which focused on shared experiences. Through art songs, chamber songs, sonatas, and symphonic works among them being Classic-Romantic traditions, Ives pieces of work introduce elements from other traditions of Native America (Burkholder 21). His pieces of compositions suggest extra musical meanings be it those pertaining to programs or those suggesting a certain character. When Ives uses textures, tunes and sounds drawn from the traditions of American popular music and protestant church music, they pass meanings by invoking union with certain events, activities, places and people (Burkholder 21). Furthermore, when he uses novel technique from his experimental music, Ives is able to convey meaning via their novelty. And through musical

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metaphors, he is able to represent some kinds of motions or sounds in his experimental music. This is indeed a distinctive feature of American sound as they portray Native American cultures, beliefs and styles. Ives also made a remarkable contribution in composing an American sound through his second symphony. In this symphony, Ives paraphrase American popular hymns and songs in its countermelodies, themes, and borrows episodic passages and transitions from Bach, Wagner and Brahms and mixes them into a coherent late-Romantic styles and European forms. Burkholder (23) notes that through both of these works, Ives claims a place for distinctive American sound through his quartet and symphonic repertoires. These include his compositions such as From the Steeples and the Mountain, Central Park in the Dark, The Unanswered Question, All the Way around the Back among many others. Antonin Dvorak Antonin Dvorak is one of the most celebrated composers in 19th century. He is a Czech national born in 1841 in Nelahozeves, Bohemia. His interest in music started to manifest when he was barely 15 years old by writing polka for home town. He travelled to US in 1892 through an invitation of Mrs. Jeanette Thurber who appointed her the director of her conservatory music based in New York City. It is here that he was quickly inspired by “New World” music especially African America and the Native American music. In his music he combined he mixed folk tunes and rhythm of his country to produce a lively music that many admired (Burgess and University of North Texas 21). He is considered to have been one of the greatest composers of distinctively American music. This is mainly seen in some of his major compositions such as String Quartet in F Major. This song he later rebranded as American Quartet since it is influenced by American music. This song adapted the Native Ameri
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The writer will go deeply into the roots of American history to find where did the native American music start its developing and eventually became - Country, Blues, Jazz and all styles that we know today…
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