ARTM-026 George Gershwin and Perspectives on American Music
Fall for 2006-2007
George Gershwin (1898-1937) is among the most famous and often performed American composers. Scholars and critics have approached Gershwin's life and music with a wide range of interpretive perspectives and analytic tools. This course will be less a biographical study of this musical enigma than an attempt to place him within the broader context of American musical life. We will use Gershwin as a starting place to explore aspects of African-American music, Tin Pan Alley song, Broadway musicals, concert hall performance, opera, Hollywood film, the piano, media and technology, and the issue of "Musical Jewishness." By focusing on Gershwin, we will see how a single American composer can bridge many of the dichotomies found in American music: black/white, highbrow/lowbrow, and art/pop. Students should expect significant reading, listening, and writing assignments.
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