By Michael Broyles

ISBN-10: 0300100450

ISBN-13: 9780300100457

ISBN-10: 0300127898

ISBN-13: 9780300127898

From colonial instances to the current, American composers have lived at the fringes of society and outlined themselves largely as outsiders. during this stimulating publication Michael Broyles considers the culture of maverick composers and explores what those mavericks exhibit approximately American attitudes towards the humanities and approximately American society itself. Broyles begins by way of studying the careers of 3 significantly unconventional composers: William Billings within the eighteenth century, Anthony Philip Heinrich within the 19th, and Charles Ives within the 20th. All 3 had strange lives, wrote song that many thought of incomprehensible, and at the moment are famous as key figures within the improvement of yank tune. Broyles is going directly to examine the proliferation of eccentric individualism in all kinds of yank track - classical, renowned, and jazz - and the way it has come to dominate a dead ringer for varied inventive artists from John Cage to Frank Zappa. The background of the maverick culture, Broyles exhibits, has a lot to inform us in regards to the function of song in American tradition and the strain among individualism advert neighborhood within the American cognizance.

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Extra info for Mavericks and Other Traditions in American Music

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The melody itself is typical Billings. Each of the first three phrases begins with the same rhythms and similar notes, but the notes change just enough to keep it from being predictable. The turns and the twists are what make Billings melodies interesting. This is particularly apparent in the second phrase, which goes down to low F. Compare that phrase with what it would be if it simply descended to a half cadence: C–C–C–B-flat–A–G–F– G. The last phrase has a similar profile. It could well have ended at measure 15, but its leap up to B-flat with another stepwise descent gives it a much better rounding off.

Rhetoric alone, of all the arts, was valued. In a world so commanded by rhetoric, in a world that believed in a literal personified devil, symbol and reality, metaphor and illusion became inexorably mixed. American Puritans, seeing the wilderness as a place to be conquered, linked three metaphors: the wilderness, the garden, and the hedge. The garden was the wilderness subdued. The hedge was the boundary that separated them, the barrier that held the wilderness in check. The Puritan mission in America was to create a garden out of the wilderness.

Billings, in contrast, saw much in nature that was good and benevolent, enough to use it as his inspiration. Nevertheless he also saw what the Puritans saw, the wildness. There, however, he turned the Puritan view on its head. 26 pioneers Billings associated fully with the wildness. He aligned with it so thoroughly that he himself became the outsider, the wild man whose values subvert prevailing standards. Contemporaries described Billings as of medium stature, physically deformed, with one eye, a shrunken arm, and one leg shorter than the other.

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Mavericks and Other Traditions in American Music by Michael Broyles

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