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American Experimental Music, 1890-1940

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Overview

From the end of the nineteenth century a national musical consciousness gradually emerged in the United States as composers began to turn away from the European conventions on which their music had been modeled. It was in this period of change that experimentalism was born and America subsequently became, as it still is, a major source of new musical ideas for European musicians. David Nicholls considers the most influential figures in the development of American experimentalism, including Charles Ives, Charles Seeger, Ruth Crawford, Henry Cowell and the young John Cage. He analyzes the music and ideas of this group, explaining the compositional techniques invented and employed by them and the historical and cultural context in which they emerged. The book is thus an important contribution toward our understanding of some of the most challenging music of the twentieth century.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"...musicians will enjoy seeing a British composer/scholar trace an American experimental movement with an objectivity that only a transatlantic outsider could muster." Kyle Gann, Voice

"...a coherent guide to the inner workings of compositions by Charles Ives, Charles Seeger, Carl Ruggles, Ruth Crawford, Henry Cowell and John Cage. Nicholls writes eminently readable prose- no small acheivement in an analytic text- and provides insightful findings. Notes

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521424646
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 7/28/1991
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 252
  • Product dimensions: 6.85 (w) x 9.72 (h) x 0.51 (d)

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Table of Contents

Preface; Acknowledgements; 1. Introduction: the new and the experimental; 2. In Re Con Moto Et Al: experimentalism in the works of Charles Ives; 3. 'On Dissonant Counterpoint': the development of a new polyphony, primarily by Charles Seeger, Carl Ruggles and Ruth Crawford; 4. New Musical resources: radical innovation in the music of Henry Cowell; 5. 'The Future of Music: Credo': the development of a philosophy of experimentation in the early works of John Cage; 6. Conclusion: unity through diversity; Select bibliography; Appendix: musical editions and selected readings.
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