In This Chapter

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Outline

  1. Song, Dance, and Home Music Making
    1. Key difference between music making in the old and new worlds lay in respective systems of economic support.
      1. Europe's ruling institutions-church and nobility-required music for functional purposes.
      2. No national church nor any political structure existed in America to sponsor music development.
    2. American musicians therefore relied upon entrepreneurial skills for the support and promotion of their art.
      1. For better or worse, the profit motive has been a vital source of creative music energy throughout much of American history.
      2. Population increases during the 1700s grew the numbers of customers for music.
      3. Professional activity was concentrated in a few Eastern Seaboard cities:
        1. Boston
        2. New York
        3. Philadelphia
        4. Baltimore
        5. Charleston
      4. A steady supply of traditional repertoire from Europe (especially from the British Isles) meant little demand outside religious circles for music by American composers.
    3. Broadside ballads
      1. Traditional ballads were narrative songs in strophic form.
      2. Oral ballads existed outside any commercial network.
      3. Broadside ballads
        1. Songs sung to traditional ballad melodies and on any other tune the public may know
        2. New verses set that commented on current events
        3. Printed on sheets called broadsides
        4. Sold in the marketplace
        5. Patriotic broadside ballads took their melodies not only from English songs but also from the vast body of dance music that circulated in Britain and its American colonies.
      4. Cotton Mather's 1713 telling complaint on the broadside trend
      5. Listening Guide 2.1: "Liberty Song" (John Dickinson)
    4. Dancing and dance music
      1. Two controversial issues have repeatedly surfaced since the 1600s:
        1. Dance's erotic dimension and efforts to keep it under control
        2. Dance's connection with social class
      2. Before the Civil War, most American dances came from Europe.
      3. The lack of common ground between social dance and the Puritan imagination may be traced to the belief that spirit and flesh are contrary forces locked in a perpetual struggle.
      4. An Arrow against Profane and Promiscuous Dancing: Drawn out of the Quiver of the Scriptures (1684) by the Reverend Increase Mather, father of Cotton
      5. For non-Puritans, dance has not always been considered a secular activity:
        1. Role of dance in African religions transplanted through slavery
        2. Native American tribal dances' connection to the spiritual realm
        3. Shakers well known for sacred dancing
      6. Most Anglicans considered dancing a secular activity but did not share in the Puritanical disapproval.
      7. Americans of the colonial era performed both:
        1. Couple dances (e.g., gavotte, bourrée, minuet)
          1. Courtly affairs of French origin
          2. Called for precise, schooled movements
          3. "Longways" dances were especially popular
        2. Country dances
          1. Music sources came from overseas
            1. Anglo-Celtic traditions of England, Scotland, and Ireland
          2. Circulated both orally and in a long history of written forms, including printed collections and manuscripts that musicians copied for their own use, often surviving in multiple print sources over decades
          3. Binary form (aabb) very common
          4. Listening Guide 2.2: "Money Musk" (Anonymous)
    5. Home and amateur music making
      1. Colonial Boston records indicate that many citizens owned musical instruments.
        1. Keyboards (especially harpsichords)
        2. Plucked and bowed strings
        3. Wind instruments
        4. Trumpets
        5. Drums
      2. Scarcity of professional musicians
      3. Formal instruction available, either itinerant or based in cities
      4. Amateur music making seems to have increased in the years before the American Revolution
      5. "Amateur" contemporaneous meaning
        1. Thomas Jefferson as amateur musician
  2. Military, Concert, and Theater Music
    1. Military music
      1. Long history of military instruments as outdoor signaling communication
        1. Drums
        2. Fifes
      2. Military uses for music:
        1. Morale building (esprit de corps)
        2. Camp duties (including signaling)
        3. Public ceremonies
        4. Recreation
          1. Concerts
          2. Mealtime performances
          3. Evening entertainments
          4. Sports festivals
          5. Riding exhibitions
        5. Field music and harmoniemusik
      3. Listening Guide 2.3: "Hail Columbia" (Philip Phile)
    2. Concert life
      1. Production of public concerts in eighteenth-century America required finding a venue, setting a date, securing performers, choosing music, and attracting customers.
      2. Concerts were given chiefly by immigrants from Europe.
      3. First known public concert in the American colonies took place in Boston in 1729.
      4. Various types of concertizing:
        1. Benefit concerts
        2. Subscription concerts
        3. Charity benefits
        4. Musical society concerts
      5. Public concerts emphasized variety, running more to short pieces than long ones, designed to appeal to a broad range of audience tastes.
        1. Glees
        2. "Concerto"
        3. "Grand symphony"
      6. Repertoire featured:
        1. Instrumental selections by the leading European composers of the day
        2. Vocal selections expressing more tender sentiments
        3. New patriotic numbers encouraging listeners to take pride in American identity
    3. Theater music
      1. The eighteenth-century American theater was an enduring extension of English-language stage works from London, especially Shakespeare.
      2. Not until well into the 1800s did any appreciable number of American-born singers or players find a place on U.S. stages.
      3. Musical works by Americans had almost no role in these performances.
      4. Like dance, theater provoked strong opposition.
      5. English traveling companies first appeared in the colonies in the mid-1700s in:
        1. Philadelphia
        2. New York
        3. Charleston
        4. Williamsburg, VA.
      6. Boston resisted touring troupes for a time owing to a law that prohibited theater from 1750 to 1793.
      7. Typical programming
        1. Tragedy, comedy, or drama with music
        2. Farce
        3. Musical interlude
        4. Overture
      8. Genres of musical theater work
        1. Ballad opera, e.g., John Gay's, The Beggar's Opera (1728)
        2. Pasticcio, e.g., Love in a Village (1762)
        3. Comic opera, or simply opera, e.g., The Children in the Wood (1793)
      9. Musical theater in America was a branch of "show business."
        1. American companies established by the 1790s in:
          1. Baltimore
          2. Boston
          3. Charleston
          4. New York
          5. Philadelphia
        2. theatrical repertory was growing with original American compositions
      10. Female actors were paid less and respected less than males.
      11. "Home, Sweet Home"