The American Musical and the Formation of National Identity / Edition 1

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Overview

"A stunningly original, breakthrough book whose contribution to musical scholarship will be substantial and exceptionally valuable. This book moves in directions I had never considered, forcing me to think about musicals in a truly fresh way. The author analyzes the music of this repertory in an ingenious (and highly readable) fashion that consistently illuminates connections to historical and critical ideas. It is thus the first book that succeeds in presenting the music of musical theater as a full-fledged cultural and artistic phenomenon, wholly justifying scholarly scrutiny. A brilliant analysis."—Rose Rosengard Subotnik, Brown University

"The most readable, focused, sustained and contextualized study of the genre I've encountered. The author's breadth, experience and reliability as a scholar and teacher shine through on every page."—Stephen Banfield, University of Bristol, UK

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Editorial Reviews

London Review of Books
Knapp does an excellent job of tracing the roots of the musical, avoiding much of the received wisdom. . . . When Knapp focuses on the structure of musicals, and how it works to move us and persuade us, he is very effective. . . .
History
Knapp's well-researched and comprehensive presentation transcends the purely musical point of view. In his exploration of the underlying sociocultural fabric of a number of works, he puts the American musical theater on a par with its contemporary arts of jazz and film.
The Historian
This close musical analysis, combined with broad cultural comments about the power of the American musical, is highly original and much needed, especially as a teaching textbook.
BBC Music Magazine - Andrew Lamb
The breadth of Knapp's reading is astonishing, and his discussion of the historical background of the musical is admirable. . . . Knapp writes extremely well, and not only his thoughts but also his suggestions for further study are well organized. So, too, is his consideration of the growth of the American union in the context of Oklahoma!, Guys and Dolls, and The Music Man.
Kurt Weil Newsletter - Charles Hamm
This is an intelligent, extremely well-written study which . . . is as valuable for its demonstration of how musicals may be read as for its own insightful readings.
Stage Directions - Stephen Peithman
Raymond Knapp shows that while some musicals have served to reinforce the way people feel about America, many others have helped to challenge aspects of our culture that needed to be changed.
Current Musicology - Walter Frisch
[Knapp] offers new insights on each work and writes in an accessible, engaging style. . . . Knapp is . . . most effective . . . at negotiating the tensions . . . between work and context, and between part and whole.
Popular Music and Society - Edward Green
Raymond Knapp has an extraordinarily perceptive ear. As he surveys the history of the American musical, he hears things—important things, revelatory things—that earlier writers who have attempted, systematically, to traverse this vast territory have missed. Hardly a page goes by without a 'Gee, I didn't realize that' moment. . . . One of the loveliest features of these books is the generosity of the musical examples. Coordinated with the text are hundreds of musical excerpts which Princeton University Press has made available to readers through easy downloading from the Internet. . . . It is clear that there is much to praise about Raymond Knapp's work, beginning with his vast knowledge of the subject and his infectious enthusiasm for it.
" London Review of Books hael Friedman

Knapp does an excellent job of tracing the roots of the musical, avoiding much of the received wisdom. . . . When Knapp focuses on the structure of musicals, and how it works to move us and persuade us, he is very effective. . . .
" History McCoy

Knapp's well-researched and comprehensive presentation transcends the purely musical point of view. In his exploration of the underlying sociocultural fabric of a number of works, he puts the American musical theater on a par with its contemporary arts of jazz and film.
" The Historian sa Clapp-Itnyre

This close musical analysis, combined with broad cultural comments about the power of the American musical, is highly original and much needed, especially as a teaching textbook.
From the Publisher
Winner of the 2004-2005 George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism

Finalist for the 2004 George Freedley Memorial Award, The Theatre Library Association

"Knapp does an excellent job of tracing the roots of the musical, avoiding much of the received wisdom. . . . When Knapp focuses on the structure of musicals, and how it works to move us and persuade us, he is very effective. . . . "—Michael Friedman, London Review of Books

"The breadth of Knapp's reading is astonishing, and his discussion of the historical background of the musical is admirable. . . . Knapp writes extremely well, and not only his thoughts but also his suggestions for further study are well organized. So, too, is his consideration of the growth of the American union in the context of Oklahoma!, Guys and Dolls, and The Music Man."—Andrew Lamb, BBC Music Magazine

"Knapp's well-researched and comprehensive presentation transcends the purely musical point of view. In his exploration of the underlying sociocultural fabric of a number of works, he puts the American musical theater on a par with its contemporary arts of jazz and film."—Ken McCoy, History

"This is an intelligent, extremely well-written study which . . . is as valuable for its demonstration of how musicals may be read as for its own insightful readings."—Charles Hamm, Kurt Weil Newsletter

"This close musical analysis, combined with broad cultural comments about the power of the American musical, is highly original and much needed, especially as a teaching textbook."—Alisa Clapp-Itnyre, The Historian

"This is an intelligent, extremely well-written study which . . . is as valuable for its demonstration of how musicals may be read as for its own insightful readings."—Charles Hamm, Kurt Weill Newsletter

"Raymond Knapp shows that while some musicals have served to reinforce the way people feel about America, many others have helped to challenge aspects of our culture that needed to be changed."—Stephen Peithman, Stage Directions

"[Knapp] offers new insights on each work and writes in an accessible, engaging style. . . . Knapp is . . . most effective . . . at negotiating the tensions . . . between work and context, and between part and whole."—Walter Frisch, Current Musicology

"Raymond Knapp has an extraordinarily perceptive ear. As he surveys the history of the American musical, he hears things—important things, revelatory things—that earlier writers who have attempted, systematically, to traverse this vast territory have missed. Hardly a page goes by without a 'Gee, I didn't realize that' moment. . . . One of the loveliest features of these books is the generosity of the musical examples. Coordinated with the text are hundreds of musical excerpts which Princeton University Press has made available to readers through easy downloading from the Internet. . . . It is clear that there is much to praise about Raymond Knapp's work, beginning with his vast knowledge of the subject and his infectious enthusiasm for it."—Edward Green, Popular Music and Society

BBC Music Magazine
The breadth of Knapp's reading is astonishing, and his discussion of the historical background of the musical is admirable. . . . Knapp writes extremely well, and not only his thoughts but also his suggestions for further study are well organized. So, too, is his consideration of the growth of the American union in the context of Oklahoma!, Guys and Dolls, and The Music Man.
— Andrew Lamb
Kurt Weil Newsletter
This is an intelligent, extremely well-written study which . . . is as valuable for its demonstration of how musicals may be read as for its own insightful readings.
— Charles Hamm
Kurt Weill Newsletter
This is an intelligent, extremely well-written study which . . . is as valuable for its demonstration of how musicals may be read as for its own insightful readings.
— Charles Hamm
Stage Directions
Raymond Knapp shows that while some musicals have served to reinforce the way people feel about America, many others have helped to challenge aspects of our culture that needed to be changed.
— Stephen Peithman
Current Musicology
[Knapp] offers new insights on each work and writes in an accessible, engaging style. . . . Knapp is . . . most effective . . . at negotiating the tensions . . . between work and context, and between part and whole.
— Walter Frisch
Popular Music and Society
Raymond Knapp has an extraordinarily perceptive ear. As he surveys the history of the American musical, he hears things—important things, revelatory things—that earlier writers who have attempted, systematically, to traverse this vast territory have missed. Hardly a page goes by without a 'Gee, I didn't realize that' moment. . . . One of the loveliest features of these books is the generosity of the musical examples. Coordinated with the text are hundreds of musical excerpts which Princeton University Press has made available to readers through easy downloading from the Internet. . . . It is clear that there is much to praise about Raymond Knapp's work, beginning with his vast knowledge of the subject and his infectious enthusiasm for it.
— Edward Green
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691126135
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 3/27/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Raymond Knapp is Professor in the Department of Musicology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He is the author of "Symphonic Metamorposes: Subjectivity and Alienation in Mahler's Re-Cycled Songs and Brahms and the Challenge of the Symphony".

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Table of Contents

List of Figures xi
Explanatory Note about Audio Examples xiii
Preface xv

Part One INTRODUCTIONS 1

Chapter 1: Contexts and Strategies 3
Chapter 2: Nineteenth-Century European Roots: Models and Topics 19
Paris (and Berlin) 20
The Black Crook (1866) 20
London: W.S. Gilbert (1836-1911) and Arthur Sullivan (1842-1900) 29
H.M.S. Pinafore; or,The Lass That Loved a Sailor (1878) 34

Chapter 3: Early American Developments: Minstrelsy, Extravaganza, Pantomime, Burlesque, Vaudeville 47
Minstrelsy 49
Extravaganza 59
Pantomime 60
Burlesque 61
Vaudeville 62
A Gilbert and Sullivan Postscript on American Minstrelsy 63

Chapter 4: American Song through Tin Pan Alley 67
Minstrel Songs 67
The Early Tin Pan Alley Era 70
Classic Tin Pan Alley 77
Anything Goes (1934) 88

Part Two DEFINING AMERICA 101

Chapter 5: Whose (Who's) America? 103
Little Johnny Jones (1904) 104
The Cradle Will Rock (1938) 110
Chapter 6: American Mythologies 119
Oklahoma!(1943) 122
Guys and Dolls (1950) 134
The Music Man (1957) 144

Chapter 7: Counter-mythologies 153
Hair (1967-68) 154
Assassins (1991) 162

Part Three MANAGING AMERICA'S OTHERS 179

Chapter 8: Race and Ethnicity 181
Show Boat (1927) 185
Porgy and Bess (1935) 194
West Side Story (1957) 204
Fiddler on the Roof (1964) 215
Chapter 9: Dealing with the Second World War 228
The Sound of Music (1959) 230
Cabaret (1966) 239

Chapter 10: Exoticism 249
The Mikado; or, The Town of Titipu (1885) 250
The King and I (1951) 261
Pacific Overtures (1976) 268
Chapter 11: Afterword: Other Directions, Other Identities 282

Appendix A: Art and Commerce: The Business of Making Musicals 285
Appendix B: Additional Resources 289

Notes 319
Bibliography 341
Index 351

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