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AMERICAN HYBRIDITY IN THE MUSIC OF GEORGE GERSHWIN BY BRENDAN RIVERS A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Humanities New College of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the spons orship of Professor Bret Aarden Sarasota, Florida May, 2012
ii Table of Contents ii i v .vi Chapter 1: Contemporaneous and Mo 1 Chapter 2: Review of H 30 Chapter 3: Analysis of Hyb .. 70 Chapter 4: Concl Works Cited 112
iii Acknowledgements There have been many people who have been influential in my academic pursuit of music. I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to everyone who has contributed to my development as a music scholar. I would like to give a special thanks to Professor M aribeth Clark who was incredibly helpful in my development as a writer. I would also like to thank my committee members Professor Stephen Miles and Professor Kariann Goldschmitt, both of whom were extremely supportive and patient as I undertook this projec t. Most of all, I would like to thank my thesis advisor, Professor Bret Aarden, who was unbelievably helpful, supportive, and patient.
iv AMERICAN HYBRIDITY IN THE MUSIC OF GEORGE GERSHWIN Brendan Rivers New College of Florida, 2012 ABSTRACT The g oal of this document is to provide a useful analysis of the hybridity in consciously applied this hybridity in an attempt to assert his own assimilationist attitudes, as well as to portray what he believed to be the multicultural potential of the United States. In addition to the analyses provided in the document, many examples of examples all respond negative responses to his music express some form of exclusionism or purism and serve
v to show that many peo ple either misunderstood Gershwin and his musical goals, or disapproved of them. music: form, rhythm, harmony, and melody. There is evidence of inspiration being drawn from the Western art music tradition, African American music, Latin music, and, in a few cases, Asian music. Perhaps the most significant musical cultures represented in the music of Gershwin are the Western art music tradition and African American music, speci fically jazz and blues. Bret Aarden Division of Humanities
vi List of Examples Ex. 1. 3 7 Ex. 2. 3 7 Ex. 3. 3 8 Ex. 4. 40 Ex. 5. 4 3 Ex. 6. 45 Ex. 7. 50 Ex. 8. 51 Ex. 9. 72 Ex. 10. 74 Ex. 11. 7 5 Ex. 12. 7 7 Ex. 13. 7 8 Ex. 14. 7 9 Ex. 15. 81 Ex. 16. 82 Ex. 17. 83 Ex. 18. 85 Ex. 19. 86 Ex. 20. 86 Ex. 21. 8 6 Ex. 22. 8 8 Ex. 23. 8 9 Ex. 24. 8 9 Ex. 25. 91 Ex. 26. 92 Ex. 27. 93 Ex. 28. 94 Ex. 29. 95 Ex. 30. 95 Ex. 31. 9 7 Ex. 32. 9 7
1 Chapter 1 : Contemporaneous and Modern Reception In his music, George Gershwin deliberately and consciously incorporated elements from various genres and musical cultures. It is important to keep this in mind ity to communicate his own assimilationist attitudes. By composing this hybrid music, he won the hearts of many, but he also incurred the wrath of others. During his lifetime and since his death, his music has been the subject of countless reviews rangin g from the highest praise to extreme criticism. Many reviews, both negative and positive, were responding to application of hybridity. They approved of the associations Gers between America, patriotism, diversity (racial, cultural, and societal), and cosmopolitanism. Those who criticized or deplored his music often did so because of these associations, or because they were themselves exclusionists and/or puri sts. It is also reception because world views and sensitivity towards music, race, dive rsity, and patriotism have changed so drastically over the past several decades. The goal of this hybridity; negative and positive, as well as contemporaneous and modern. There Rhapsody in Blue and An American in Paris and much documentation of their reception. However, there seems to have been a lull in interest pertaining to some of his later works, such as
2 the S econd Rhapsody and the Cuban Overture There is not nearly as much documentation on the reception of these later pieces. Interest in Gershwin was rekindled by Porgy and Bess which, in the long run, might be his most successful and influential work. This chapter will focus on those works which have the most documentation and will discu ss those works chronologically. Rhapsody in Blue The Rhapsody in Blue is perhaps one of the most iconic pieces of music in the Porgy and Bess it is surely his best known and most Rhapsody in Blue made its concert at Aeolian Hall. Whiteman said in his autobiograp was to show these skeptical people the advance which had been made in popular music that jazz had come to stay and qtd. in Wyatt and Johnson 45 46). swung into the E sweat qtd. in Rhapsody in Blue applaus again and again in response to the vociferous outcries of pleasure that greeted him and his
3 qtd. in Schwartz 87). Rhapsody in Blue was the most s ignificant piece in the program. Olin Downes of the Times provided probably the most important This composition shows extraordinary talent, just as it also shows a young composer wi th aims that go far beyond those of his ilk, struggling with a form of which he is far from being master. It is important to bear both these facts in mind in estimating the composition. Often Mr. in spite of that technical immaturity, a lack of knowledge of how to write effectively for piano alone or in combination with orchestra, an unconscious attempt to rhapsodize in the manner of Franz Liszt, a navet which at times stresses something unimport ant while something of value and effectiveness goes by so quickly that it is lost in spite of all this, he has expressed himself in a significant and, on the whole, highly original manner. Downes went on to say: The second theme, with a lovely sentiment al line, is more after the cadenzas are too long, the peroration at the end loses a large measure of wildness and magnificence it could easily have if it were more broadly prepared, and, for all that, the audience was stirred and many a hardened concertgoer excited with the sensation of a new talent finding its voice and likely to say something personally and racially important to the world. ( qtd. in Wyatt and Johnson 50 51). Downes, who d
4 statement with hi s music something that was so often overlooked in reviews of the Rhapsody Writing in the World on February 13 th the day after the concert, Deems Taylor said: It was an experiment in treating the jazz instrumental and thematic idiom seriously, and it was by no means an unsuccessful one. Despite its shortcomings chief of which were an occasional sacrifice of appropriate scoring to mo mentary effect, and a lack of continuity in the musical structure musical worth and displayed a latent ability on the part of this young composer to say something of considerable interest in h is chosen idiom. Taylor continued on Sunday, February 17 th by writing: He is a link between the jazz camp and the intellectuals. Composer of numerous song hits, that testify eloquently to his popular talents, he is also a student and lover of serious mus ic. His Rhapsody faults one might expect from an experimental work diffuseness, want of self criticism, and structural uncertainty; but it also revealed a genuine melodic gift and a piquant and individual harmonic sense to lend significance to its rhythmic ingenuity. Moreover, it was genuine jazz music, not only in its scoring but in its idiom. It was crude, but it hinted at something new, something that has not hitherto been said in music. Mr. Gershwin will bear watching; he may yet bring ja zz out of the kitchen ( qtd. in Goldberg 151). In these comments, Taylor expressed a common, but unfortunate opinion of jazz at the time jazz was of a lesser quality. For example, the English critic Ernest Newman, who agrin of many Americans, described the Rhapsody
5 Newman, and many others, jazz was a primitive popular music, and Gershwin was attempting to elevate it to a higher level writers misunderstood what it is Gersh trying to get those contributio ns the respect and attention they deserved. Rhapsody in Blue is circus music, pre eminent in the sphere of tinsel and fustian. In daylight, nonetheless, it stands vaporous with its second hand ideas and ecstasies; its old fashioned lisztian ornament and brutal, qtd. in Pollack 305). Rosenfeld acknowledges that the Rhapsody draws from jazz and classical idioms, but he seems to feel that these connections are too obvi ous and the work as a whole too unoriginal. Though this sort of view can be found in the work of others, it is very rare that someone accuses Gershwin, especially in the case of the Rhapsody of being unoriginal. It is true drawn from the classical masters, but even those who were extremely critical of Gershwin and his music usually admitted that he was a unique and individual composer with a knack for writing clever and m emorable melodies and themes. 1925, Russian born pianist Dim itri Tiomkin persuaded his bride Albertina Rasch, an
6 Austrian born choreographer, to stage the Rhapsody in Blue as a ballet at the New York Hippodrome with himself at the piano. Tiomkin stated that he thought the Rhapsody was qtd. in Pollack 306). King Carol II of ot only musically, but because qtd. in Pollack 307). William Saroyan, who believed the Rhapsody The Rhap sody in Blue is an American in New York City; at the same time it is an American in any city of the United States. It is also an American in a small town, on a farm, at work in a factory, in a mine or a mill, a forest or a field, working on the railroad or on the building of a highway. It is an American remembering and making plans for the future: dreaming. It is earnest, not sophisticated. There is great loneliness and love in it. Those who were young when they first heard the Rhapsody in Blue are still de eply moved by it, and those who are now young believe the Rhapsody speaks both to and for them as no other music in the world does ( qtd. in Pollack 306). Rhapsody in Blue received review s ranging from the extremes of complete adoration to utter detestation. As has been shown, many of these reviews were responding directly to and cultures. Perhaps the bigg est obstacle that Gershwin had to overcome in order to have his intended message understood was the elitist view regarding jazz and blues music published worked in the classical music field and thus had the expectation that what they heard in the concert hall would fall within their expectations. These
7 expectations did not include elements drawn from popular elements. There were those music to reviews that reeked of music snobbery and exclusionism. Concerto in F The Concerto in F, which premiered at Carnegie Hall on December 3, 1925, was Rhapso dy in Blue Though the Concerto is not as popular as its predecessor, nor its successor ( An American in Paris ), it has been fairly well received. Nearly all who heard the work agreed that, technically, it was a marked improvement over the Rhapsody Morton Gould, who attended the premiere of the Concerto in F qtd. in Pollack 351). inoff of the World wrote: But it was not luck that carried the composer of the rhapsody to success, and luck alone would never have created the Concerto in F heard yesterday afternoon. The truth is that George Gershwin is a genius perhaps the only one of all the younger men who are trying with might and main to express the modern spirit. You may cite his deficiencies as evidenced by his latest work they are obvious. He is not a master of form; he is audaciously irresponsible and writes down, apparently, whatever he feels, indiscriminately. He lacks depth, and it seems that because of his lifelong environment he never will be able to rid himself of jazz, no matter how he sublimates it. But his short comings are nothing in the face of the one thing he alon e of all those writing the music of today possesses. He alone actually expresses us. He is the present, with all its audacity, impertinence, its feverish delight in its motion, its lapses into rhythmically exotic melancholy. He writes without the smallest hint of self consciousness and with unabashed delight in the stridency, the gaucheries, the joy and
8 excitement of life as it is lived right here and now. But that is not all, since every jazz band in every night club in America does this. And here is where his genius comes in, for George Gershwin is an instinctive artist who has that talent for the right manipulation of the crude material he starts out with that a life long study of counterpoint and fugue never can give to one who is not born with it. ( qtd. in Wyatt and Johnson 83) It is true that Gershwin was trying to express something uniquely American but that American quality is not limited to the joy and energy which Chotzinoff describes. Perhaps it is impossible for someone to comprehend the racia l and societal implications something that did not belong in the concert hall. Carl Engel, head of the Music Division at the Library of Congress, described the piece in the Musical Quarterly are distinctly poetical; in the orchestral coloring, that is often piquant without ever being offensive; but chiefly in the general tenor, which is unquestionably new of a newness to Chicago American en heard in the symphonic world, and if it is not the very essence of Americanism, I do not know my qtd. in Pollack 353). William J. Henderson wrote: Of its Americanism, there can be no question. It has the moods of the co ntemporaneous dance without their banality. It has lifted their means moderns. It drops into their language, somet imes, but it has more to say. ( qtd. in Goldberg 208)
9 Dim itri Tiomkin, in an interview shortly after the European premiere at the Paris Opera on May 29, 1928, described the Concerto manners and thought. It is t he most splendid expression of youthful vitality and Gazzetta di Venezia qtd. in Pollack 355). All of these writers seem to have discerned that American quality that Gershwin was attempting to express in his music. While they do not expressly describe the racial and societal implications of this music, by pointing to the uniquely American quality of the music they do show their comprehension, and their recognition of the Concerto contemporary concert music, French critic Emile Vuillermoz heard connections to the European classical music tradition. Vuillermoz, in her review, wrote that the Concerto ns realize that jazz, after having renewed the technique of dancing, might perfectly well exert a deep and beneficent influence in the qtd. in Pollack 355). Like many reviewers, these two recognize some of the sources that Gershwin drew inspiration from. favorably.
10 A critic from Pittsburg much that at once is grandiloquently expressive and musically interesting, even though interesting because it a ctually points to what would cause so many negative reviews of hall, such as jazz, blues, and elements drawn from popular music. flat tering. L awrence Gilman of the Herald Tribune wrote: The trouble with Mr. Gershwin in this new phase of his is that in achieving respectability he has achieved also tameness and conventionality which, as he should know, so often happens. We need not discuss the question whether his Concerto in F is good jazz or not; that seems to us relatively unimportant beside the question whether it is good music or not; and we think it only fairish music conventional, trite, at its We wanted, in short, to hear a young American composer talking confi dently, bravely, irrepressively, of himself. Instead we heard a facile and anxiously conformist youth stalking the stale platitudes of the symphonic concert hall retailing exhausted clichs which were none too fresh when Rachmaninoff used them; rememberi ng Tchaikovsky; remembering, discreetly, Stravinsky; not scrupling to relapse upon harmonic banalities, offering us the common coin of sentimental melody; using the old jazz meters in the familiar ways, and scoring all this for an orchestra singularly blat ant, thick and inexpressive. ( qtd. in Wyatt and Johnson 86 87) and more m odern masters of the Western art music tradition (Rachmaninoff, Concerto
11 discussion seems t o imply that he is quite fond of what it is Gershwin is trying to do, but Gilman is disappointed with the result in this case. The opinion that the Concerto was less original than the Rhapsody was a common one, and though Gilman does not expressly make thi s connection, it seems, based on his expectations, that he was comparing the two works. For example, Oscar Thompson of Musical America thought conscious and artificial th an in the Rhapsody qtd. in Pollack 352). inherent in his musical outlook, and was a major v irtue of his genius. Perhaps his mistake qtd. in Pollack 354). This is a theme how to label his music. No one seemed to know what to call his mu sic, and this would be seen most clearly with his labor of love, Porgy and Bess An American in Paris Next to the Rhapsody in Blue An American in Paris known instrumental work. Like all of the Gershwin premieres, the 1928 performance was a packed house. Edward Cushing of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported that the large audience present at the December 13 premiere at Carnegie Ha ll greeted American in Paris qtd. in Pollack 439).
12 At a post concert reception, Otto H. Kahn, a prominent banker and philanthropist, delivered a speech addressed to Gershwin. In it, Kahn hailed the composer as one of the qt d. in that springs from the deepest stirrings of the soul of the race. The American nation has not known the suffering, the tragedies, the sacri fices, the privations, nor the mellow and deep rooted romance, which are the age (Goldberg 240 anguish, besetting care and heart searching tri bulations, which mark the history of older qtd. in Pollack 439). Kahn concluded his speech: Now, far be it from me to wish any tragedy to come into the life of this nation for the sake of chastening its soul, or into the life of George Gershwin, for the sake of deepening his art. But I do wish to quote to him a few verses (by Thomas Hardy, I believe) which I came across the other day and which are supposed to relate to America: I shrink to see a moder n coast Whose riper times have yet to be; Where the new regions claim them free From that long drip of human tears Which people old in tragedy Have left upon the centuried years. and strange a of that I could wish for you an experience not too prolonged of that driving storm and stress of the emotions, of that solitary wrestling with your own soul, of that aloofness, for a while, from the actions and distractions of the everyday world, which are the most effective ingredients for the deepening and mellowing and the complete
13 and spiritual powers. ( qtd. in Goldberg 241). Musical Courier asked: introspectiveness of the European nations, the very keynotes of American charac ter, life, and art?... If Gershwin is not composing great music, he surely is creating original music. It copies nothing European, and admittedly speaks to his compatriots with a message which the majority of them have no difficulty in understanding and to which they respond with fullest fervor and feeling. (Pollack 439 440) It should also be noted, that what Gershwin was attempting to say with his music was not a response to events of the past, whether they be tragic or not. His message was of what Ameri misunderstanding Gershwin was not responding to history but to the potential of the society that he lived in. An American in Paris In Symphony Orchestra to effects of a kind they had seldom m ade, effects that emanated from the laboratory of Paul Whiteman rather than the traditions of Haydn or Mozart or the modern masters of counterpoint and orchestration in the city where Mr. Gershwin lately resided. From them, or at least from modern music, h e seems to have derived some useful suggestion, but however far he has wandered in the deficiencies (namely the developmental sections). He was, in the end, quite fond of the piece and pointed to many strengths. He felt that this
14 piece, much more so than the Concerto effectively drew upon different elements and incorporated them into a cohe sive whole. Downes went on to say: now and again combined melodic fragments with genuinely contrapuntal composer seeks a new form of his own working, germane to the nature of symphonic fragment, its lack of formality excuses its manners, and if its hilarity is noisy, it is also contagious. This performance, so far as could be judged of a work hitherto qtd. in Wyatt and Johnson 114) him, it spoke with a voice reminiscent o f the classic, but simultaneously broke from their shadow, in form as well as harmony, melody, and counterpoint. For Downes, Gershwin had created something new and old, something unique yet familiar, and most importantly, something unquestionably Gershwin. Gilman of the Herald Tribune Henderson of the Sun rollicking spirit and there is a most engaging candor about some of its ideas, especially the first walking theme, which is aptness incarnate. There is much cleverness in the score, and some inspirations of our native music. It is without doubt the sassiest orchestral theme of the acq qtd. in
15 Schwartz 170). These writers recognized the American qualities so common in enga ging, apt, humorous, and ardent. The piece, like Gershwin himself, was many things. And, as both writers recognize, the piece was a portrayal of America, with all of its eccentricities and elements. Chotzinoff, in the World declared An American in Paris to Concerto in F harmonic tissue rarely exceeding the alphabet of the science Musical America Roman Carnival, Carnaval de Venise Espana qtd. in Goldberg quite appropriate to compare Gershwin to his predecessors and contemporaries. Gershwin did attempt to label this was done not only because the form of these pieces were based on classical models, but also so that his music could be more easily received and understood within a preexisting context. Besides formal ones, various elements within his music are easily recognizable, and he was even known to literally quote some o f his predecessors in his own work. Despite all of these commonalities, his music was unique both in its character attempting to categorize. This defeated the entire purpose
16 sought to break barriers and transcend categorization by combining elements from musical cultures that were considered by many to be irreconcilable. While admitting that Thompson of the Evening Post conceive of a symphony audience listening to it with any degree of pleasure or patience twenty ye qtd. in Pollack 440). Porgy and Bess: Critical Responses Porgy and Bess Catfish Row or the Suite from Porgy and Bess which was based on music from the opera), is perhaps also his most important and influential work. The opera represents the composer at the height of his abilities, and was easily the most ambitious thing he ever undertook. Porgy and Bess is also very impo rtant because it most clearly intimates the racial implications of his music. Porgy and Bess received mixed reviews. There were those that loved it, those that hated it, and those that were somewhere in between. Many p ( qtd. in Po llack 601).
17 On the other hand, reactions from the audiences seemed to be nothing but positive. At the Alvin theatre premiere on October 10, 1935, the crowd erupted into stopped the show. By the end of the performance, many spectators were crying. The musical director), for about seven curtain calls. Then, following the performance, more than four hundred people attended a reception at the penthouse apartment of publisher Conde Nast (Pollack 603). Brookes Atkinson and Olin Downes, both critics from the New York Times were both present at the premiere of Porgy and Bess Atkinson was the c hief drama critic for the Times was not so impressed with the operatic elements of Porgy and Bes s particularly the use of recitative. In his review, Atkinson wrote: loneliness when, in a crowd of pitying neighbors, he learns that Bess has vanished into the capacious and remote th at was missing before. These comments are written by a reviewer so inured to the theatre that he regards operatic form as cumbersome. Why commonplace remarks that carry no emotion have to be made in a chanting monotone is a problem in art he cannot fathom. Even the hermit thrush drops into conversational tones when he is not singing from the topmost spray in a tree. Turning Porgy into opera has resulted in a deluge of casual remarks that have to be thoughtfully intoned and that amazingly impede the action.
18 in an opera clear their throats before they can exchange that sort of information? (Wyatt and Johnson 214) theme in many reviews of the opera. Atkinson went on to describe the song s found in the opera. Though he was annoyed by the recitative and other aspects of the operatic form, he qtd. in Wyatt and Johnson 215). Comp aring the new opera to the original play, Porgy qtd. in Wyatt and Johnson 215). It seems that, owever, like many others, he was not a fan of opera. He made this clear in his discussion of recitative, which he thought impeded the action of the opera. David Hamilton was another anti recitative critic. In a review of a 1976 Cleveland recording, he clai qtd. in Wyatt and Johnson 199). Percy Hammond wrote in the Herald Tribune qtd. in Pollack 604). Virgil Thomson wrote is qtd. in Pollack 605). Kenneth Tynan, respect anyone who loved all of it, but I will tolerate no one who does not travel miles to
19 qtd. in Pollack 618 sort of epitaph that appeared in Modern Music In his article, he discussed Porgy and Bess d to sustain a symphonic movement Gershwin was wholly inadequate; nor is there any indication that he realized his shortcomings as an architect. And with his failing craftsmanship so also vanished his sense of style. How otherwise explain the laborious and old fashioned recitatives in Porgy and Bess and the indiscriminate and ill fused mixture which qtd. in Wyatt and Johnson 188). on of recitative, there were those who took the opposite stance. In 1935, Irving Kolodin wrote adherence to the characteristics of the persons in the drama, for the excellent se nse of qtd. in contact with the score, one recalls salient passages in the dialogue almost as readily as the qtd. in Pollack 605). Joseph Swain, who w dramatically important passages in the opera subsequent invocation to the dice, are qtd. in Wyatt and Johnson 199). Swain believed that whether or not the recitative contained awkward or imperfect moments, it was necessary to set up the most striking moment s in the work. Engel wrote:
20 In La Boheme Otello Louise Die Meistersinger and all the others, there are many passages of recitative that in themselves might seem dull to this listener or that; but without the musical texture they create, many lyric pass ages that are not songs or arias would be impossible because if there were no musical continuity they would become small, isolated islands of music, unconnected, rootless, and even silly. ( qtd. in Wyatt and Johnson 199 200) In later years, critics r Rich wrote in New York qtd. in Pollack 629). Martin Gottfried wrote in the New York Post that Gersh qtd. in and its splendid r language that grows into song with considerable ease and smoothness whenever the drama r Porgy and Bess Gershwin. He provided a discussion of recitative in Porgy and Bess : Porgy : I always miss the in between singi ng when I hear it in its cut form. Perhaps it is more successful that way; it certainly is for the public. It may be because so much of that recitative seems alien to the character of the songs themselves, instead recalling Tosca and Pelleas danger of throwing out the baby is in the character of the songs and fits the opera perfectly.
21 way to a kind of Gershwin music that would have reached its own perfection eventually? I can never get over the horrid fact of his death for that reason. With Porgy you suddenly realize that Gershwin was a great, great theater composer. He always had been. theater music thrust into a concert hall. What he would have done in the theater in another ten or twenty years! And then he would still have been a young man! What a loss! Will America e ver realize the loss? ( qtd. in Wyatt and Johnson 299 300) Porgy and Bess and the operatic tradition. For this reason, these discussions about his use of recitative are symbolic o f a larger dialogue about Gershwin synthesizing operatic elements into a Broadway production. Many critics allowed their reviews to be influenced by this aspect belong ing in a Broadway show. Those who were fond of opera, or who were open recitative, in Porgy and Bess to point out flaws and immaturities in the music and its application to the larger form. He stated a concern that could be found in several other reviews of Porgy and Bess ; a pr oblem with genre. He, like many others, felt that Porgy and Bess was not an opera, as it qtd. in Wyatt an d Johnson 216). In his review, Downes wrote: George Gershwin, long conspicuous as an American composer with a true lyrical gift and with original and racy things to say, has turned
22 with his score of Porgy and Bess to the more pretentious ways of the musica completely felicitous. With an instinctive appreciation of the melodic glides and nuances of Negro song, and an equally personal tendency to rich and exotic harmony, he writes a melody whi ch is idiomatic and wholly appropriate to the subject. He also knows the voices. He is ( qtd. in Wyatt and Johnson 216) usical styles, and express that Downes believed Gershwin was producing quality music that inspiration from. They also provide an example of a concern about categorization tha t many other critics would express about Porgy and Bess Downes went on to say: themes in a manner apposite to the grouping and action of the characters on the stage. In ensemble pieces rhythm ical and contrapuntal devices work well. Harmonic admixtures of Stravinsky and Puccini are obvious but not particularly disconcerting. Sometimes the spicy harmonies heighten felicitously the color of the music. There is effective treatment of the of the massed voices and the wild exhortations of individual singers. ( qtd. in Wyatt and Johnson 216) Many reviews of the opera focused on how to label Porgy and Bess Engel said Porgy is far more the product of semantics than of anything Gershwin put into his score. It is as if just calling Porgy by classification is a slur on the dignity of Wagner, Ver qtd. in Wyatt and
23 Johnson 199). The Brooklyn Daily Eagle failure, an anomalous work, neither opera nor musical comedy, pretentious, in flat ed and Some cr itics viewed this dilemma as a positive thing. W. J. Henderson, who Sun that Porgy and Bess opera; it is not folk opera; it is not pure Negro; but it is Gershwin talking to the crowd in qtd. in Pollack 605). Douglas Watt felt comedy elements were impressive. Watt st of the American popular song idiom of the day is not only a completely natural and cheering outgrowth of the musical comedy world in which Gershwin had long been a ma qtd. in ma ny of whom would refer to the work as being one of, if not the most important American opera. Porgy and Bess is an opera and it has power and vigor. Hence it is a more important e qtd. in qtd. in Pollack 611). The legendary soprano Mary
24 qtd. in Pollack 607). In 1942, the Music Critics Circle designated Porgy and Bess the most significant musical revival of the year. That same year, Olin Down qtd. in Goldberg 333). he qtd. in Goldberg 337). In a Porgy and Bess is still the only American opera that qtd. in Pollack 625). In a review from October of 1935, Danton Walker of the Sunday Daily News proclaimed Porgy and Bess American qtd. in Allen 251). Responding to a 1995 production, Giorgio Gualerzi called Porgy and Bess only the definitive American opera, but also a unique case in 20 th centur y music ( qtd. in Pollack 637). An anonymous writer described the work, one of the abridged qtd. in Pollack American lyric qtd. in application of elements from various cultures which could be found withi n the United States in order to create a patriotic musical form.
25 Several critics responded to Porgy and Bess by comparing it to other successful work, it does show that there were those who that it could confidently stand alongside the opera classics. In response to a 1952 production, The Scotsman ranked the opera alongside Wozzeck Mathis der Maler and The Threepenny Opera significant operas written seeing a 1961 Light Opera production of Porgy and Bess th qtd. in for individuals is Verdian, his comprehension of them, Mozartean. His grasp of folk ingenious and innov qtd. in Pollack 628). Porgy and Bess qtd. in Pollack 628). Eric Salzman, in Stereo Review expressed his opinion that the work was grand dramatic work on a really large and qtd. in Po Don Giovanni or Boris Godunov Levine went on greatest first qtd. in Pollack 632). Simon Estes thought the piece was
26 qtd. in Pollack 632). Rene Demesnil ostoyevsky. Claude Baigneres, who noted similarities to Mussorgsky, Debussy, Stravinsky, and Charpentier, qtd. in Pollack 619). Several critics were not impressed with Gersh have Swanee River and ( qtd. in Pollack 605). Similarly, Kolodin of Porgy and Bess qtd. in Pollack 605). Rosenfeld mbers failed to: Communicate a reality, either the rich, authentic quality of the Negro or the experience of Porgy the pathetic cripple who unexpectedly gets his woman and rejoices and suffers with her and then at last loses her, or of Bess, the weak victi m of the flesh and the devil. It would seem as if Gershwin knew chiefly stage Negroes and that he very incompletely felt the drama of the two protagonists. ( qtd. in Pollack 605) Gershwin made some unfortunate statements claiming that he was writing quite nave to expect an opera to communicate a realistic or authentic vision of African American life, or any life. It is a fictional story meant to entertain. True, the setting of the story was based on a real place, and Porgy was based on an actual person, but the levels of similarity between the story and reality are extremely shallow. The characters and their
27 interactions were designed to entertain, not to show America how typical African Americans live. Speaking musically, there are so many connections to European traditions in the opera (it is an opera after all) that it is no surprise that it does not feel authentically African American. With the different elements d rawn from various musical cultures (European and African American traditions), the intention was for the music to feel American. Ralph Matthews, of the Afro American wrote in 1935 that Porgy and Bess was a rtrayed and sympathetically remindful of the old masters, and by closing the eyes can be swept with the beauty of the arias; but when they are heard open eyed against the shoddiness of Catfish Row, they seem mis qtd. in uccessful. In 1937, Gershwin was awarded the David Bispham Memorial Medal for Porgy and Bess Also, it is thought that the opera played a significant role in his election to honorary membership to the St. Cecilia Academy of Music in Rome later that year. In his book, George Gershwin: His Life and Work Howard Pollack wrote: weeks following the New York premiere. Over the years, a selective reading of only a few of these reviews notably thos e by Brooks Atkinson and Olin Downes in the New York Times, Virgil Thomson in Modern Music and Paul Rosenfeld in a 1936 collection of essays has left the erroneous impression that the work was poorly received. In fact, whatever their reservations, the g reat majority of both drama and music critics loved
28 achievement to date but the best American opera ever written, and a milestone in the development of a national opera. They widely praised the intelligibility of the text, the way the music enhanced the drama, and the (Pollack 603 604) Porgy and Bess was a complete failure. It is true that its initial ru n was relatively short, but many people and critics responded quite favorably to the work. Given how long the opera, and many of the songs from it, has survived within American popular culture, it seems safe to say that, on some level, it must have been qu ite effective. Many of the negative reactions towards Porgy and Bess like those towards music original Porgy, provided an interesting theory on why Porgy and Bess s uccessful. After pointing out that the show closed in New York after only 128 performances, he noted that Gershwin had never had a real flop on Broadway. But: There was a Jewish following which was significant on Broadway He had gone and written an opera and they were not about to come. The opera people, those who went to the Metropolitan Opera, felt that George Gershwin was Tin Pan Alley and Broadway and how dare he! And then the p apers, so many of the press wrote that this is not opera. Some called it musical comedy, some folk opera; they called it everything: musical drama, musical comedy, music theater, operetta. ( qtd. in Wyatt and Johnson 224)
29 It is unfortunate, but many of the on similar views and opinions. People had a style or genre that they identified with, and when Gershwin interrupted or corrupted those elements with other styles or genres, these people reacted harshly. Porgy and Bess it has become an American classic. Even those who are unfamiliar with the opera itself would not be able to avoid its famous songs. The fact that so many songs from Porgy and Bess have been and recorded innumerable times speaks volumes about the power of Porgy and Bess because it was too pretentious and snobby; many fans of opera thought it was too much like musical theat er, and too much like a Broadway show, so they refused to take it seriously; several African Americans were critical because they felt that as an outsider, take his mu sic seriously because of his background as a popular songwriter and making and composing was ultimately the reason for much of the negativity that he received. The nagging of deficiencies has become so common place that many echo the concerns of their predecessors without even bothering to experience and explore the music themselves.
30 Chapter 2 : Review of Hybridity Hybridity Oxford English Dictionary the inter breeding of two different species or varieties of animals or plants: mongrel, cross bred, half ctive heterogeneity, with the United States by combining stylistic elements from th e music of different cultures found within the country. In most of his concert works, Gershwin used characteristics characteristics from other cultures (perhaps most notably Latin eral historical stages of the largely from jazz and blues music.
31 To Gershwin, race and class mixing was a unique and wonderful aspect found within American society and cult ure (Rapport 510). Being born and raised in New York City, Gershwin lived in what was then, and probably still is, the most diverse city in the nation. This allowed him to be exposed to various cultures, and music. Because of his location, he would have be en able to witness firsthand the kind of cross cultural discourse that would have inspired his particular compositional style. heritage (Rapport 511). Along with African Amer icans, Jewish immigrants in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries were participants in the Great Migration and were largely responsible for the changing demographics in northern cities that occurred in a short span of time. The Jewish race seem ed to exist somewhere between black and men who were pioneers in the arguments against ra cialized categories of humanity. The Melting Pot: Drama in Four Acts protagonist, named David Quixano, is a Jewish New York compose r who was writing an Pot where all the races of Europe are melting and re forming!... Germans and Frenchmen, Irishmen and Englishmen, Jews and Rus sians into the Crucible with you He is only in the Crucible I tell you he will be the fusion of all races, perhaps the coming superman. Ah, what a glorious Finale for my symphony if I can only write it. (Rapport 511 512)
32 While this assimilationist sentiment excludes several prevalent American races, such as African Americans, Latinos, and Asian Americans, it seems to express the exact sentiments that were so essential to Gershw in and his musical career. The parallels and drawn inspiration from it (Rapport 512). goals. His hybrid music drew much negative attention, because his combination of n conflicted with what people expected. unfortunately, may have reinforced the racial categories of music that were so prevalent during his lifetime. In his article, Bill American Concept of Hybridity classical and jazz signifiers to accomplish his vision, Gershwin reinforced the white and black associations of the gestures he e mployed and perpetuated the prevailing societal 512). Rhapsody in Blue The Rhapsody in Blue hall. It could be a rgued that Blue Monday but given the fact that Blue Monday premiered in the intermission of a musical comedy
33 and was written in only five days, it seems unfair to place it in the same category as concert works and Porgy and Bess These later works were composed over a much longer period of time, and were presented in a more appropriate setting. Due to these things, the Rhapsody in Blue concert work, and it usually is. In the Rhapsody in Blue Gershwin incorporated various elements from different musical cultures. Western Art Music, African American music, and American popular music (Tin Pan Alley) influenced the Rhapsody more than anything else. There is, however, evidence of other musical cultures and genres that can be found in the piece. It has been suggested that there are elements of Hispanic music in hinese flavor in the opening theme. The themes that will be discussed in this section will be referred to as the n Arrangements and the American For the form of the piece, Gershwin drew inspiration from the classical idiom. The developmental and transitional sections also draw f rom the Western art music tradition. The Rhapsody falls within the tradition of the piano concerto as represented by Liszt, Tchaikovsky, and many others. In his book, George Gershwin: His Life and Work Howard Pollack claims that the work seems to mirror a movement symphony or sonata, with an interconnected first movement, scherzo, slow movement, Wanderer Fantasy Piano Sonata in B Minor have their own time signature
34 approached by chromatic sequencing. Pollack points out that all but one of these sections progress tonally by thirds; B to G, G to E, E to F (this being the exception, unless one thinks of it as being an enharmonic o third), and F (or enharmonically G ) to B it is generally agreed that the Rhapsody is piece is divided into a moderately fast first section, a slow middle section, and a third and final fast section. Goldberg adherence to the Liszt formula for the Hungarian rhapsody, which is essentially a slow movement ( lassu ) followed by a fast ( friss last few pages may be regarde d as a fantasia concedes that the piece, in its entirety, may be considered a fantasia with no strict fidelity to form. Rhapsody in Blue is often accused of being ma perhaps the best known example of this view. He and those who shared a similar view felt that Gershwin drew from his experience as a Tin Pan Alley tunesmith and composed (Wyatt and Johnson 296 297). However, other critics claim that upon a close examination con
35 balanced, finished tunes are more common in the instrumental works of composers like Schubert, Mendelssohn, Tchaikovsky, and even Mozart and Haydn than they are in the concer Rhapsody is an asymmetrical nine bar unit that changes key at its conclusion, and its Starr claims that the first theme is a sort of introduction to the second thematic idea, preparing for the key of E by emphasizi ng its dominant, B Uneven phrases measures or so of this piece. It is not until rehearsal 9 in the published score that four bar phrases, which are more suggestive o rehearsal nine that the tonality is stable for more than two phrases at a time, allowing for like music to be present. Rehearsal 9 opens with the first sixteen in the piece (see ex. 1 its entirety once, but is followed by even phrases, with measures in multiples of two, and a tonal stability that characterizes much of this second section of the piece. The following me lodic idea, which can be found at rehearsal 11, is the second theme in the piece and is often known ). This idea is four like attributes of this theme. The prima
36 theme and treated as two four bar phrases arranged as an antecedent and consequent. Bef satisfactory conclusion, the piece dissolves into a long solo piano passage. The concluding section of the Rhapsody begins at rehearsal twenty eight where another new theme theme, is introduced (see ex. 3 ). The first phrase of this melody is eight bars long, and can be asymmetrically divided into a pattern of 2 + 6. from are nearly always symmetrical. The second phrase of this melody initially appears to be a balanced consequent, answering the initial phrase as if it were the antecedent. H owever, this phrase turns out to be only six bars long. Typically, antecedent consequent phrases are of equal length. Because the first phrase receives no satisfactory answer but rather developmental continuation, this melody has no clear ending. As a resu lt, this thematic opening phrases are heard only twice in the 100 or so measures of development. While Rhapsody ful, he find s clever ways of
37 Ex. 1 Rhapsody in Blue Journal of the Society for American Music 2.4 (2008) 516. Print. Ex. 2 Rhapsody in Blue Journal of the Society for American Music 2.4 (2008) 516. Print. In the Rhapsody there is evidence of sophisticated motif transformation. The opening fourteen measures seemingly foreshadow the rest of the piece. Charles Schwartz pointed out three separate motifs which are melodically and rhythmically distinct from each other that are presented in these opening fourteen measures. The first of these motifs is found between measures two and five, the second between five and eleven, and the third betwee n eleven and fourteen (see ex. 4 ree Two themes which appear later seem to be related to the initial motif. The first measure of the theme between measures 138 and 141, for example, seems to be bas ed on an inversion of the melodic section found in measure three. The final two measures of this theme, measures 140 and 141, seem to be related to the first measure of the initial motif.
38 In this case, the eighth note triplets are augmented into quarter no te triplets, and then retrograding the measure long phrase. The first measure of the later theme in question, measure 138, is also strikingly similar to the famous theme in the slow section. In this case, the notes must be augmented, so that where they wer e eighth notes, they are now quarter notes. Instead of repeating the third note at the same pitch level, it is dropped an octave. Ex. 3 252. George Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue (NY: Harms Inc. 1928) Print. The home key of B is probably one of the most common keys in jazz and blues music. The piece travels through various other tonal centers, as many as nineteen changes in key signature by some counts. However, Gershwin makes such extensive use of blue
39 notes and other jazz an d blues related harmonic and melodic tools that the terms major vocabulary to that of Bela Bartok, who employed modes from Eastern Europe to create his own style. Similarly, Gersh win was borrowing from the language of what he would Many people believe that the blues is exclusively a twelve bar song form, but in reality there are several different formal structures that can be found in the blues. During bar AABA or ABAB song forms. There were, and still are, several other blues forms such as the blues waltz, which is usually 24 bars long, blues with a bridge, which usually involves a 12 bar blues and an 8 bar bridge (B section) applied to an AABA form which results in 44 bars, and of course there are countless variations of the standard 12 bar blues (Levine 219 236). In this piece, Gershwin seems to have drawn more from pop ular blues forms, though melodic and harmonic material is similar to that of the 12 were the driving, dance like rhythms. Popular blues form s were much more up tempo
40 Ex. 4 Measures 1 Rhapsody in Blue George Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue (NY: Harms Inc. 1928) Print. Rhapsody Several cultural and musical American musical traditions, but also Jewish liturgical music. As Larry Starr describes it, Rhapsody in Blue step
41 relationshi ps, and therefore underlining half step relationships in the large scale harmonic piece ascend by fourths, but by rehearsal five this pattern breaks. At this point, the tonal center is A, a half step below the original key of B According to Starr, this can be analyzed as a sort of blue note modulation. hat in the Rhapsody there is an extensive use of the dominant seventh sharp ened ninth chord. This combination of a major triad, a flat tened seventh, and the sharp ened ninth (enharmonically the minor third of the chord) is very commonly used in blues and j chord) music. This chord appears during an iteration of the first, or ritornello, theme between measures 77 and 80 of the orchestral score. The second note of this theme is accompanied by this V 7 9 chor d. The following melodic note is the flat tened ninth, which is also common in jazz and blues harmony. The use of consecutive triads serving a Bach, Debussy, and Chopi n. As was discussed earlier, Rapport identifies five themes in the Rhapsody in Blue the final melodic strain of the piece is the most memorable tune and is often where interpreters first look for material. As the final theme in the Rhapsody claimed
42 line and its contrapuntal devices. This theme follows a 44 bar (14 + 8 + 14 + 8) ABAC form. Though pop tunes are frequently self contained 32 bar melodies in four bar phrases, the internal ABAC form, along with the more common AABA form, is very common among popular songs (Schneider 97). A few other melodies in this piece also evoke popular AABA or ABAB song forms, though they are compressed into sixteen bars w ith four 4 bar phrases. Concerto in F The Concerto in F Concerto in F is often discussed as being a step forward for Gershwin. According to Rapport, for example, Concerto in F thrives on even more striking, and more seamless, combinations of jazz and classical qualities than his Rhapsody in Blue While many found the Concerto to be less unique than the Rhapsody critics felt the piece by Steven Gilbert along with several others ( qtd. in Pollack 347). However, Pollack points out that this movement lacks a readily observable binary or tertiary design; making the argument for a sort of sonata form unlikely (Pollack 347). In this mo vement Gershwin employs several different ideas, but the focus is the Charleston rhythm, which,
43 n qtd. in Pollack 357) (see ex. 5 ). Ex. 5 Charleston rhythm in Concerto in F George Gershwin, Concerto in F (NY: New World Music Corp. 1928) Print. The main theme of the movement, which is initially stated by the bassoon at measure nine, is based on the pentatonic scale. The pentatonic scale was almost a Gershwin trademark. In his book, Modernism and Popular Music Ronald Schleifer claims that the pen tatonic scale simultaneously represents a crossroads between black and pot music (Schleifer 82). Gershwin himself saw the pentatonic scale as being linked to qtd. in Pollack 350). In her book, Fascinating Rhythm: The Collaboration of George and Ira Gershwin Deena Rosenberg pointed out Porgy and Bess ) in a major key, writing m elodies consisting largely of notes from the pentatonic scale enabled him to tinge the positive major sound with a poignant minor one, because the five notes contain
44 a few examples of his melodies which use the pentatonic scale. Gershwin himself pointed Oh, Kay! qtd. in Polla ck 350). The second theme of this movement is introduced by the piano at rehearsal four. By using two primary themes, there is a noticeable connection to sonata form. Though this secondary theme is not initially presented in the dominant, as is common prac tice in introduced in the opening of the movement also reappear prior to and after this hwin does not develop his ideas, but rather seems to juxtapose and transform them, more along the lines of a theme and variations than a sonata. Due to these discrepancies between this e phrase rhapsodic sonata form (Pollack 348). Charles Schwartz said that the Concerto of a free flowing rhapsody a musical approach that evidently came natural ly to him Sixteen measures after rehearsal 25 in this first movement, we are greeted with a Latin in p r ). This rhythm accents the same beats as the Latin Habanera rhythm which had such a huge impact on the development of jazz music.
45 Ex. 6 Concerto in F beginning 16 measures after rehearsal 25. George Gershwin, Concerto in F (NY: New World Music Corp. 1928) Print. The second movement of the Concerto in F e. It utilizes the atmosphere of what has come to be referred to as the American blues, but in a purer form than that in which they This movement is based on multi strained blues and ragtime compositions. The main blues theme, introduced by solo trumpet and wind choir in counterpoint, is treated as the A theme in an ABACA rondo form. This formal structure was perhaps clearer in his original condensed manuscript, in which there was a longer middle A section which did not g et carried over into his orchestral score. Charles (Schwartz). toccata theme; B, the piano theme from the first movement (the first time transformed, the second time in its first guise); C, a new jazzy theme put forth by the trumpet and strings (at rehearsal 7); D, the romantic melody from the sl
46 intrudes on all of the other themes, thus obscuring the rondo form. Because of this, the movement, as Pollack describe and the main toccata idea, one that further translates into a conflict between a minor mode (toccata theme) and a bluesy major mode (jazzy theme), brilliantly resolved in the Pollack 350). This movement also includes a brief, four part free canon. According to Pollack, the work is reminiscent of nineteenth century concerto traditions due to its formal gestures and cyclic finale. It seems to be most similar to Russian concertos, which seems likely considering how fond of Russian composers Gershwin was. Some of the chromatic passages seem to recall Cesar Franck, whose Symphonic Variations In the Concerto Gershwin linked t ogether melodic strains of varying tempi and quality with a final strain that could easily be extended through various forms of repetition. Jelly Roll Morton described this sort of compositional process in relation to resulting in a piece that unpredictably An American in Paris An American in Paris the Rhapsody in Blue Porgy and Bess and those songs which have since become
47 standards. An American in Paris like the Concerto composer (Schwartz 171). Most likely, it was more popular than the Concerto for this reason, and due to the fact that its melodies and themes were more memorable. An American in Paris was also the last of Ger number of reviews up until his opera, Porgy and Bess compositions, An American in Paris is a hybrid piece that combines elements from several genres and cultures. It also represents hi s first attempt at writing programmatic music. While the concert works that came before this did evoke certain ideas and themes, they were not meant to tell a specific story, whereas An American in Paris was intended to be a tone poem. In fact, at its premiere there was a detailed narrative that was written to accompany typical French style, in the manner of Debussy and analysis with narrative references for Musical America: strong rhythmic undercurrent. Our American friend, perhaps after strolling into a caf, and having a few drinks, has suddenly succumbed to a spasm of homesickness. The harmony here is both more intense and simple than which the spirit of the music returns to the vivacity and bu bbling exuberance of the opening part with its impressions of Paris. Apparently the homesick American, having left the caf and reached the open air, has downed his spell of the blues and once again is an alert spectator of Parisian life. At the conclusion the street noises and French atmosphere are triumphant. (Pollack 433) The work can be divided into five sections, each of which contains its own principal theme or themes. Once these themes are stated, they continue to reappear
48 throughout the piece. The articulated by a taxi motive (including taxi horn beeps) and a brief quote of the popular 1905 Charles Borel C first stated by solo trumpet with felt crown, reveals a kinship not only with the slow assumes even more tangibility with the string response that answers this melody (at three before rehearsal 47) and the walking bass that bar blues theme introduced by two trumpets. Many commentators describe this as a Charleston. There are several meter changes in and betwee n the five sections. To Schwartz, this newfound The five sections form an over arching ABA structure. A includes the first two sections, B the third and fourth, and the retur of widely varying mood provides additional formal ambiguity, leading some analysts to suggest other schematic interpretati
49 for example, describe the piece as being in four parts, with what Pollack describes as final part a recapit ulation coda. Larry Starr claims that the piece can be divided into three sections, with the third section being completely recapitulatory. The middle section, in this case, is in tripartite form, with its ABA thematic structure reflecting the overall ABA structure on sonata form. This analysis was not unique to Starr According to Deems movement in that it announces, develops, combines and recapitulates definite themes. Only, whereas the ordinary symphonic movement is based upon two principal themes An American in Paris qtd. in Goldberg 233). Pollack and Starr both agree that the piece is in ABA, tripartite form, which was a commonly used form in many pieces of classical music, such as minuet and trios, symphonies, and concertos. An American in Paris is another one of those Gershwin works that is often accused of being a string of popular tunes loosely tied together. But, as Larry Starr points melodies rather unsatisfactory pop tunes, which is why neither the composer nor anybody else has considered them pop e p iece as an example (see ex. 7 ). Though it arrives on the tonic (F) in the eighth bar, the
50 of the opening melody, create a sense of imbalance and asymmetry which seem to demand continuation. This is achieved by shifting the melody to its upper register and presenting register e of bars 1 6 into a new, rapid, repeated note motive; and the inversion of the rising major third c d e into a descending, rhythmically altered motive a g and forward momentum at the end of the melodic phrase strongly sugge st long range compositional intent. Also, the end of the phrase (the new descending third idea) is extended by introducing new pitches. This extension results in an asymmetrical eleven Ex. 7 Measures 1 An American in Paris George Gershwin, An American in Paris (NY: New World Music Corp. 1929) Print. Starr points out that this unit is developed later in the piece, where the original eight bar melody is repeated, but with harmonic changes to the second half which serve to fu rther destabilize the ending on F, which is now the seventh above a G major triad
51 (see ex. 8 ). The extension that follows this statement develops the repeated note motive which eventually leads into a Vigoroso passage which challenges meter and tonality (S tarr 99). Ex. 8 An American in Paris George Gershwin, An American in Paris (NY: New World Music Corp. 1929) Print. According to Pollack, the piece represents a comparison between the music of France and America: The A parts, representing Paris, largely feature duple meters, singsong rhythms, diatonic melodies, and the sounds of oboe, English horn, and taxi horns; while the B episode, representing New York, tends more toward 4/4 meters, syncopated rhythms, bluesy melodi es, and the neatly juxtaposes a statement of the slow blues theme with a countermelody that features both the humorous them e and the first three albeit elongated notes of the sauntering theme. (Pollack 437) There are several examples of contrapuntal ingenuity throughout the piece. Some of the techniques used include: o inution, thema tic transformation, invertible counterpoint, contrary motion, and other involves a repeated six note motive played by the flutes and xylophone
52 accompanied by the same motive repeated i n augmentation in the bassoons and lower strings, along with a melody in the oboe corresponding to the flute countermelody heard at the very start of the piece. In another passage (at rehearsal 21), this taxi motive appears for two measures juxtaposed with the triplet idea and the strolling theme in augmentation, followed by two bars that simultaneously state the sauntering theme, the sauntering theme in augmentation, and the and the openin g flute countermelody join together at one point (rehearsal 34), as do the sauntering theme, the humorous theme, and the triplet idea at another (rehearsal 41). (Pollack 437) meas the humorous theme is juxtaposed with a fragment from the slow blues theme. This is followed by the final chord of the piece. Many of these contrapuntal techniques that Ger shwin was applying to An American in Paris were drawn from the Western art music tradition. These contrapuntal techniques, such as retrograde, augmentation, dim inution used in past centuries by other concert hall composers. Porgy and Bess Porgy and Bess various musical cultures into a single work. While he did draw upon the Western art music tradition more than he h ad in his past works, he also more seamlessly integrated practices from jazz, blues, and popular music. Much of the overarching formal traits of the opera can be traced back to the western art music tradition, as well as some of his contemporaries in the o peratic field. On a smaller scale, the individual numbers and songs have formal structures drawn from various places: opera, musical comedy, as well
53 as popular music. Similarly, his harmonic and melodic vocabulary can be traced back to various musical trad itions. In the end, Porgy and Bess is Gershwin at his best and most surrounds it, point to how powerful it has become in American musical culture. Whether or not one a fictional Catfish Row, the fact that numerous songs from the opera have remained strongly engrained in our American culture for nearly eight decades speaks volumes about the effectiv Classical Influences: Immediately after its premiere, critics began pointing to predecessors that Gershwin seemingly drew upon as he was writing Porgy and Bess Reynolds pointed out that after the Boston and New York premieres, music critics began citing numerous precedents such as Carmen Louise (Reynolds 2). Oscar Levant reported that while he w as writing Porgy and Bess Gershwin Die Meistersinger as a guide to the plotting of the Die Meistersi nger fight fugues. hwin is also reported as proclaiming to
54 attempt to put into operatic form a purely American theme. If I am successful it will resemble a combination of the drama and romance of Carmen with the beauty of Meistersinger the plot of Carmen In his book, George Gershwin Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg the life of a community and a consequent abundance of ensemble writing, along with an ambitious role for the orchestra and an array of leitmoti fs employed imaginatively and also cited Carmen Martha In terms of characters and themes, Boris Godunov and Die Meistersinger von Nurnberg served as predecessors for Porgy and Bess The emphasis on public as opposed f oratorio, pageant, and revue, and that places the opera in the context of twentieth century trends, including instrumental sections in Porgy and Bess place it within t he tradition of number opera, as represented by Bizet and Verdi, as well as the more through composed operas of Mussorgsky and Wagner. Most critics, however, claim that Puccini had the most impact luctuations of tempo and
55 the scene between Bess and Crown on Kittiwah, in which the tonal center constantly dramatic encounter, constructed G to D) with a style of its own, but its formal organization seems essentially heightened recitatives and little ariosos throughout Porgy and Bess were along the lines of Puccini. Porgy and Bess y argue a large scale organizational strategy in which thematic materials are restated cyclically exhibiting teleological genesis a procedure by which the form leads the listener gradually toward a goal (Davis and Pollack 373). Rotational form was extremely important in Classical era formal rhetoric: movements otherwise organized according to such traditional Formenlehre categor becomes even more elemental in the formal strategies of such late nineteenth and early twentieth century composers as Bruckner and Sibelius, and in operatic music from mid Wagner onward, functioning in this rep ertoire as a substitute for more conventional architectonic strategies that were quickly becoming obsolete. (Davis and Pollack 388) According to David and Pollack, the opening scene of Porgy and Bess contains five distinct rotations between an introductio n and a coda, neither of which is rotational. The two theme pattern found here can be traced back to earlier rotational forms in the music of Mozart and Bruckner.
56 The fugue itself, which serves as the climax for the rotational form, is not conventional. Davis and Pollack point out some of the unconventional aspects: subject, but with the subject in the highest voice supported by material anticipating the countersubject in two lower voices. In addition, while the Fugue opens with a three voice exposition, it mostly features four distinct contrapuntal layers and sometimes more, as in the second episode (R131.3); and the bass voice (which enters on C2 at R127.7) initially functions independen tly of the Fugue per se, stating the subject for the first time, in the dominant, only at R130.5. The last episode is particularly intriguing, in that it functions to dissolve the Fugue through an exploration of tritone relations that culminates in the mus R138.3. (Davis and Pollack 399) According to Christopher Reynolds, Porgy and Bess is heavily indebted to Alban Wozzeck Gershwin was very open about his admiration for the work of Berg. He met the composer during a 1928 visit to Vienna and had a strong admiration for the composer after that point. He possessed an autographed excerpt of the Lyric Suite and his copy of the score for Wozzeck was one of his most prized possessions, according to Oscar Levant. The stron gest connections between the two operas have to do with structural processes. Motives and chords, along with large and small musical events in features of the lullabies in of tune barroom pianos, fugues, and se veral leitmotifs (Reynolds 3) Raymond Knapp compared the use of an onstage piano in the two operas, claiming that in both cases, the piano is used to depict the poverty and powerlessness of the characters (Reynolds 3)
57 There are several extended passages in Porgy and Bess that combine related dramatic events with common musical structure and context in Wozzeck The main examples as given by Reynolds are the lullabies, the fugues, the mock sermons, and the seduction scenes. Reynolds believes that the ric hest comparison between the two operas is between Clara (in Porgy and Bess ) and Marie ( Wozzeck follow music played onstage in fast duple meter and, at their conclusions, a new motive of central importance is briefly introduced, a motive that later accompanies death; further, (Reynolds 5). The begin Five American Dances for Piano The are presented and developed i leitmotifs that are introduced in the pre fugal section is associated with a male antagonist Crown and the Captain ( Hauptmann presenting this motive once in inversion against itself. These pre fugal sections both lead e internal details and occur in the midst of dancing and
58 accompany two vocal lines. Both of these sections also contain ostinatos. Reynolds points re both in 4/4 time and include quarter note triplet motion Reynolds went on to say: Berg and Gershwin also create duple syncopations within triplets by adding grace notes to a line that in any case already oscillates between two notes. After listening to the sermon the dancers resume. This event leads in Wozzeck th and in Porgy and Bess to Serena shaming the dancers while the orchestra plays an additive rhythmic motive (in the right hand of the piano vocal score) that is related to the rhythmic chordal motive that accompanies t he deaths of Crown and Robbins. (Rey nolds 11). women enter on a high F Gershwin follow these exclamations with imitative counterpoint at the third, both writing motives essentially on scale degrees 5 and 1, with four entries over rhythmic chordal pedals. At the moment the women yield, the thirds come together and the texture shifts to a scale of parallel triads accompanied by triplets moving in the same direction. Throughout this section, the musical dim follow, where Bess and Marie sing nearly identical motives to express unworthiness and Berg had as signed Marie in exactly the same circumstance; namely, remorse after having
59 Murders also occur in both operas, each accompanied by lengthy pedals. into the lake, Berg supplied chromatic rising six storm music that grows to a climax with chromatic six (Reynolds 4). Another parallel between Porgy and Bess and W ozzeck is in their extensive uses a 1 spelled as a G major chord with a C or D Perle described it as a G 9 11 chord. In Porgy and Bess this chord also appears spelle d on G with a C or D The chord can transposes the chord to E 2 chord occurs at R157+6, and in this case is spelled G F A B E. Several of the techniques that Gershwin employed in Porgy and Bess can be attributed to his long Wozzeck Reynolds pointed out several techniques in Porgy and Bess which could be traced back to both 1 Petrushka It consists of two major triads An American in Paris as well. 2 composer Alexander Scriabin. It is a six note pitch collection which can be interpreted as a quartal hexachord consisting of an augmented fourth diminished fourth, augmented fourth, and two perfect fourths. However, the chord can be spelled other ways. Variations on this chord have been used by other composers, including Duke Ellington who used it in his piano piece Reflections in D (1958).
60 m 3 and complex metric textures (Reynolds 16). Porgy and Bess in the tradition of nineteenth century operas, extensively uses leitmotifs. Pollack provides a list of various leitmotifs found in the opera: act I, one after 22) and a downward cascading gesture (act I, two before 23) that depict the craps game (and that were ith life on Catfish Row; a theme for Robbins (act I, 40); a bluesy melody that portrays Porgy, including chromatic tag possibly meant to illustrate his handicap (act I, 70); an aggressive, syncopated theme designating Crown (act I, two before 84); a melod y that accompanies good luck (act I, 105); a various ways to fate or doom (first heard in the bass at the conclu sion of though, like many of these leitmotifs, it is derived from material found in the opening prelude and respectively. (Pollack 585) Throughout the opera, Gershwin also treated varied modal resources as leitmotifs. This tone 3 Thi involves a melodic figure and a rhythmic pattern which have different numbers, resulting in the attack point continually shifting within the pattern. For examp le, a four note melodic figure which repeats within a rhythmic sextuplet pattern.
61 Gershwin employed several contr apuntal techniques throughout the opera. Gershwin picked up these techniques from other contemporary composers, as well as from his various music instructors. The fate theme, one of the leitmotifs discussed by Pollack, is used several times in the opera. P erhaps one of the most notable uses is in the act to its conclusion. The jagged craps game and Crown motives are fused together to form the fugue that accompanies the fi ght scenes. The fugues can be found in act I at 127 retrograded to accompany his retur n to Catfish Row in act 3, two before 132. Canons can chorus at 173.Though Porgy and Bess is perhaps the best representation of this, many of monly use augmentation and o inution. Sometimes, the two superimposition of three rhythmic versions of the same melody (at 219) suggests both religious rapture and mechanical movemen from his teacher, Schillinger. The variety of musical forms employed for the individual songs in Porgy and Bess are drawn from many. Larry Starr wrote on this subject:
62 The straightforward strophic structure of songs such as priately modeled on the reflect the operatic antecedents in the extent and complexity of their structures. (Starr 146) Starr goes on to point out that none of these songs easily fit into the categories that their forms suggest. Seemingly simple songs which are modeled after popular music forms, ele ments that would be uncharacteristic in a popular or Broadway number. For example, e bridge, or B section, is far too long for a musical comedy song and the final A section concludes with a high B of its wailing melismas place this number firmly in operatic territory, yet the underlying form o Broadway AABA almost infinitely flexible and versatile. The mingling of musical styles, by the index
63 b ar structure with balanced phrases, a clear ABAC form, and a diatonic melody line built from a six (Starr 135). This scale is essentially a B minor pentatonic scale but with an added C (the second scale degree is omitted from the minor pentat onic scale, which consists of the tonic, third, fourth, fifth, and seventh scale degrees of the natural harmonic scale). The inherent hybridity of the pentatonic scale has already been discussed. The orchestral accompaniment creates a sense of unease with 136). This sort of chromaticism and dissonance ca n also be found in the music from the introduction, where the perpetual sixteenth notes accompanied by a syncopated chordal indefinite as well, with the harmony charact erized by quartal chords, and the absence of build until they each contain eight differe nt notes of the chromatic scale. According to e players,
64 ions with its arriving by the tenth measure at a C in rounded binary form, and uses an antecedent consequent structure in the A section. There is a 16 bar parallel period, the first nine of which form the antecedent. The final chords of this song are I IV I, which could either be analyzed as a plagal ca dence, common in western religious music, or a blues cadence. (Latham 110) as being like a Sc hubertian art song due to its use of thirty second note sextuplet figuration in the accompaniment and its standard ternary form. Latham went on to say that solid ground: he i s confident enough to foray into a dissonant, atonal B section and return Winterreise, feature omatic embellishments, blue notes, as well as modulations to distant keys. The main theme of
65 Street Scene (1931). Both of these melodies are primarily in D major in 4/4 time. Rhythmically, the two melodies are quite different, but their pitch content is quite similar. The seven note phrases only have two differing notes: the first note (E for Newman and D for Gershwin) and the penultimate note (B for Newman and B for Gershwin). A second all Lat ham pointed out that this main theme is used as a rondo refrain. The formal design of this song is ABACABADAEA (Latham 117). comedy, though it is not unheard of in the operatic and oratorio repertoire. The elements that make Porgy and Bess so significant are those that are influenced by African American music. Pollack wrote on this subject: and music underpins its great individuality, including allusions to a wide range of black ve all, the Negro but its recitatives as well. (Pollack 588)
66 There are also two instances of polyrhythm found in the opera. These are significant because polyrhythm is associated wit h African and African American musical practices. the complex polyrhythms are unmeasured. This incorporation of polyrhythm was inspired by his contact with African Amer ican singers both in Charleston and Hendersonville. Heyward recalled an evening meeting he attended with Gershwin in Hendersonville prayer. The odd thing about it was th at while each had started at a different time, upon a qtd. in Pollack 579). Many of the songs from Porgy and Bess have been compared to spirituals and other African 589). Pollack wrote on this topic, citing several collections of spirituals that resembled (Pollack 589). In her book Elizabeth Sohler argued that Gershwin adapted Gullah 4 traditions and incorporated them 4 The Gullah people were the group of African Americans who inhabited James Island. The Gullah people Porgy While Gershwin was in C harleston as he worked on
67 into his opera. Sohler points to the w act. She also claims that Gershwin adopted the melody Charleston street cries by Harriet Kershaw Leiding. However, other critics claim that the cries of the Strawberry Woman and Crab Man were analogous to moments in Louise Though Gershwin mainly drew from African American music and Western Art music traditions, he also incorporated musical characteristics from other cultures. The es that emphasize the minor third above the tonic, which is a common trait of both African American and Jewish music. In his ten volume Thesaurus of Hebrew Oriental Melodies A. Z. Idelsohn (1882 1932) pointed out that one of the distinguishing aspects o f Jewish music is its emphasis on what minor scale or at least has minor charact out: use of the minor third in his melodies. For his tunes also exhibit the declamatory and expressive traits found in Biblical prayer chant, as well as characteristics associated with Jewish secular pieces. (Schwartz 324) Porgy and Bess he spent much of his time with the Gullah people, attempting to learn about their music and culture (Schwartz 260).
68 and melodic vocabulary. In his book, Tonality as Drama: Closure and Interruption in Four Twen tieth Century American Operas, Edward Latham provides a fairly detailed harmonic analysis of Porgy and Bess. Latham points out that at R80 there is an oscillation between i 7 and V 7 9 (with the third omitted). The application of sevenths to tonic chords is c ommon practice in jazz and blues, and, as discussed earlier, dominant chords with sharp ened ninths are extremely common in blues music. Latham also points to the use of augmented sixth chords, used as pre dominants. This application is common in the Wester n European Art music tradition. Similarly, secondary dominants are used in the opera. explore s ome of the findings of these researchers in relation to the hybridity in Rhapsody in Blue Concerto in F An American in Paris and Porgy and Bess more famous and influential concert works. Since there has been more documentation of compositions, it seemed appropriate to focus on these four pieces. It seems quite clear unique brand of American hybridity drew from several musical cultures. iated with those characteristics drawn from the Western art music
69 styles associated with jazz and blues, and in the case of Porgy and Bess African American folk musi c. As has been pointed out, elements have also been drawn from other musical cultures. These other cultures include Latin America, where Gershwin often looked to for rhythmic material, Eastern European Judaism, which inspired much of erial, American popular musical forms, specifically things drawn from Broadway music, and even Asia.
70 Chapter 3 : Analysis of Hybridity The goal of this chapter is to explore the hybridity found in some of the smaller This chapter will look at the themes of Rhapsody in Blue (1924), Prelude II in C from Porgy and Bess (1935). These four pieces were selected because they were written compositional style. Rhapsody in Blue It is difficu lt to judge how to classify the famous opening measure of George Rhapsody in Blue In the score, it is simply a trill on the dominant followed by a large run from the dominant up to the leading tone, all of the notes in between falling nicely in to the B major scale. However, the notes on the page are not what make this measure so iconic: it is the execution that has captured the imagination of millions. The desperate wail of the clarinet is the perfect opening to an equally mystifying career in the concert hall. Like all things Gershwin, this single melody has stirred up controversy. Whose idea was the wailing glissando? Many claim that it was virtuoso solo cl arinetist Ross Gorman initially played this measure straight, as written; a seventeen note scalar run. During a long and exhausting rehearsal, Gorman allegedly
71 asked him to perform the measure that way at the concert. Charles Schwartz claims that this story came directly from the Rhapsody provides no citation (Schwartz 81). Regardless, this glissando and wail transforms what would be a standard scalar run into a jazzy, bluesy cry that effectively foreshadowed what would come next by establishing a jazzy, humorous tone. Immediately following this memorable introduction, many of the Rhapsody main thematic ideas are presented. The first o f these is th ). This theme begins on the high B following the opening measure. The theme appears to be four measures long, but the final measure is always interrupted, so it is essentially three measures. Melodically, this t heme is strikingly similar to the B blues scale. All but five of the twenty notes, excluding grace notes, neatly fall into the blues scale. One of these five notes is the D in measure three. Though the major third above the tonic is not part of the blues scale, it is common practice in blues music to alternate between major and minor thirds. This leaves the four G the blues scale, they are each approached and departed by either a whole step or a half step. Th is stepwise motion, along with the stepwise motion in the accompaniment, could introduced the young Stufenreichtum or the law of propinquity. 5 5 Stufenreichtum or the law of propinquity, is defined as expressing fresh, new, lush or strange chromatic har monies (Kilenyi 360). Goetschius, in his book The Material Used in Musical Composition wrote on page 234: as far as it is possible to sys tematize so elusive a process, seems to be: That any change which results from either a whole step or half step progression in any or all of the parts, is p ermissible (as long as it preserves a reasonable degree of consonance), by virtue of the relation of propinquity (Pollack 714).
72 Ex. 9 Rhapsody in Blue Journal of the Society for American Music 2.4 (2008) 516. Print. The application of the law of propinquity, or smooth voice leading and stepwise motion, is characteristic of the Gershwin style. The harmonies that accompany this e law of propinquity (see ex. 10 ). The second inversion I chord in measure two desce nds by step to the strange chord on the third beat of that measure. The accompaniment plays an A maj 5 chord in second inversion, while the melody alternates between A and G This collection of pitches can be analyzed in a variety of ways. For example, w hen the original pitches (E A C G and A ) are spelled enharmonically (E B D G A ) it appears that this chord is an E 7 chord, with the A being a non harmonic tone. All of the pitches involved move by step into the next measure, and ther e is no clear tonal function. The harmonies become less mystifying in the next measure. Measure three opens with a dominant quality I 7 chord with a ninth that descends by half step to the flat tened ninth in the accompaniment. Dominant seven chords built o n scale degrees other than the dominant are very common in jazz and blues music (Levine), and the use of a ninth further aligns this chord with jazz practices. On the offbeat of two in this measure, the
73 melody plays a D which can simultaneously be analyz ed as an anticipation note (anticipating the minor seventh of the following chord) and as a blue note (the minor third of the chord played against the major third, or enharmonically a sharp ened ninth). The following chord, played on beat three, is a dominant quality IV 7 chord. Like a dominant I 7 the application of a dominant seventh to a subdominant chord is characteristic of jazz and blues practices. The fact that it progresses to a I chord (B major) in the following measure strongly reinforces thi music, the IV I progression being the characteristic progression of the blues. This I 7(9/ 9) IV 7 I progression is achieved entirely with stepwise motion, so while the harmonies align themselves with jazz and more stron gly blues, the voice leading of the theme is more reminiscent of Schoenberg and contemporary Western art music.
74 Ex. 10 Measures 1 Rhapsody in Blue George Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue (NY: Harms Inc. 1928) Print. The chord that follows on beat two of measure four is surprising for several reasons. The bass abandons the smooth voice leading which had characterized the previous measures by leaping down an augmented fifth from D to G The chord also departs from the preceding harm onies because it is the tritone substitution of the V (F), which is a common practice in jazz (Levine 260 271). Enharmonically, this chord is also equivalent to the German augmented sixth chord. In either case, the chord serves as a predominant which progr esses smoothly by half step (in the accompaniment) to the following V 79 it to a close.
75 appea rs at measur e eleven (see ex. 11 ). This theme is prepared by a sequence which ascends, tonally, by fourths. At measure eleven, the theme is played in the middle of an E major chord which is sustained for the four bars that constitute the theme. Like the this case the E blues scale. The root of this scale is significant because it is a fourth above the original key, B creating a seeming I IV progression which is itself indicative of the blues. Of the twenty seven notes in the melody, five do not fall within the E blues scale. These five notes include three G s and two C s. The G s are a major third above the root, E switching between the major and minor third is common practice in blues music. The C s could be analyzed as being non chord tones. The first would be an app oggiatura which is approached by an E a minor third above, and which departs to the D a half step above. The second would simply be anal yzed as a passing tone between the D and B Ex. 11 Rhapsody in Blue Journal of the Society for American Music 2.4 (2008) 516. Print.
76 instead of a theme because it is n cell is tagged onto the end of themes, or is used as sequential or transitional material. By the key of A This theme at sixteen. Melodically, this theme is hard to classify. It has the very narrow range of a fourth and consists of only four separate pitches. These pitches (A B C and D ) suggest A minor, but this theme is extremely short. Following the triplets on beat four of measure twenty, the piece moves directly into G major i n measure twenty one (see ex. 12 is an A clear. The E on beat one of measure nineteen implies an A augmented chord, but the third of the chord is omitted and the E progresses to F on the next beat, which suggests t hat it might simply be a chromatic passing tone. If one assumes that the E is not a chord tone, then the progression is more clear and can be identified as being drawn from the blues: the chord on beat two is clearly a D seventh chord. Measure twenty begins with the same pitches as measure nineteen, A and E In this case, the E would be analyzed as a chromatic escape tone which leaps up to the minor seventh of the following A minor seventh (i 7 ) chord. This is followe d by yet another D dominant seventh chord on beat three which marks the end
77 follows it, it seems to be a self contained two measure theme with blues influenced harmoni es: i IV 7 i 7 IV 7 // 6 i i 7 IV 7 But even if it is analyzed as an introduction for the G still be aligned with jazz practices: ii V 7 ii 7 V 7 // ii ii 7 V 7 The syncopated entrance of each phrase of the theme a lso supports a jazz connection. Ex. 12 Measures 19 20 of Rhapsody in Blue George Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue (NY: Harms Inc. 1928) Print. theme at measure 91 (see ex. 13 ). Melodically, this theme is clearly in C major. All of the notes in the diatonic major scale are present if the B grace note is included. The only exception is the G grace note at beat two of measure ninety two. This simply serves as an ornament leading into the A that follows. Melodically, this theme seems very similar to what would be found in classical music. Harmonically, this theme is extremely simple as well, wi th the A 7 9 harmony in measure 94 being the exception. The progression is a dominant quality I 7 // V 7 // I 7 (dominant quality) // V 7 9 (tritone substitution of V). The tritone substitution gives the theme a surprising, jazzy tinge which is supported by t he rhythm. While the 6 The double slash (//) here indicates a measure break.
78 melody is clearly establishing the 4/4 meter, the accompaniment blurs the pulse. Accents are placed on the one, the offbeat of beat two, and four. Beat four also departs from the even divisions of the notes up to this point by moving t o triplets, which creates a sense of forward momentum that drives the theme. These accents are identical to those of the Habanera rhythm, which, as was mentioned earlier, is a common Latin rhythm influential in the early development of jazz rhythms. Ex. 13 Measures 91 94 of Rhapsody in Blue George Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue (NY: Harms Inc. 1928) Print. appear. While this is the first entrance, it is more useful to look a t the second iteration which appears at measure 201 in order to understand this melody with a harmonic context
79 (see example 15). Melodically, this theme seems to employ the G mixolydian 7 mode, and all of the notes fall into this scale. This use of mode ali gns the theme with jazz. The 7 chord in measure 202. Measure 203 opens with an A 7 chord which progresses to a D 7 on beat three. The ii V 7 progression in measure 203 is often found in Classical music, but is one of the most common progressions in jazz. Ex. 14 Measures 201 203 of Rhapsody in Blue George Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue (NY: Harms Inc. 1928) Print. The final theme to appear in the Rhapsody so often accused of being drawn from the music of Tchaikovsky. The melody of this theme can be divided into two parts. The first part is a mere two measures long. This phrase of the melody consists of seven consecutive chords which are used melodically (see ex. 15 ). Though there are pedals in each of these measures (E in 245 and G in 246), the first measure of the progression is fairly straightforward and diatonic, while the second measure breaks the Classical phrase mo del: I V 7 I I // I vi iii I. The next phrase of this theme is six measures in length. The melody is sounded in the middle 7 The Mixolydian mode is essentially a major scale with a flattened seve nth scale degree. The resulting order of tones and semitones is TTsTTsT.
80 of a series of very open chords, each of which last two measures. The melody is an example of a practice that Gershwin lea rned from Schillinger, which Schillinger In this case, the melody is a three pitch series (D D C ) and the rhythm has five distinct notes (eighth, eighth, quarter, qu arter, quarter) in each 4/4 measure. This results in each pitch being sounded in each rhythmic position exactly twice over the six measure phrase. The harmonic progression that accompanies this melodic technique is F 7 (V 7 /V) B 7 5 (V 7 5 ) E (I). The F (double sharp ) in the B 7 chord in measures 249 and 250 could simply be analyzed as a chromatic passing tone moving between F the root of the previous chord, and G the third of the following chord. This seems likely as the next highest voice in the acco mpaniment also moves by half step over these six measures, but in contrary motion against the uppermost voice. This smooth voice leading makes it seem as if Gershwin was again applying the law of propinquity to this harmonic progression. In the end, this t heme clearly sticks out from the other themes in the Rhapsody in Blue because it seems to be drawn almost entirely from the Western art music tradition, whereas most of the elements found in the other themes were largely drawn from the jazz and blues idiom s. Perhaps this is why it has become the Rhapsody most recognizable theme; it stands out from all of the other themes.
81 Ex. 15 Measures 245 252 of Rhapsody in Blue George Gershwin, Rhapsody in Blue (NY: Harms Inc. 1928) Print. Prelude II in C (Andante con moto e poco rubato) short pieces have received very little attention, and as a result have not been discussed in previous chapters. These preludes are excellent exa scholars have tended to ignore them, this analysis is meant to contribute to the larger discourse about Gershwin and his music. This specific prelude was selected due to its rather subdued energy level, which contrasts energy music. This piece is largely accompanied by an ostinato bass with two voices that each move on the quarter note beat. The ostinato repeats each measure (see ex. 16 ). An analysis for this could be i I iv I or I V/iv iv V/iv. This analysis t is supported
82 by the melodic notes in measure seven which create a i 7 V/iv iv 11 V/iv progression (see ex. 17 ). Ex. 16 Measure 1 of Prelude II in C George Gershwin, Prelude II (USA: New World Music Corp. 1928) Print. Ex. 17 Measures 1 13 of Prelude II in C George Gershwin, Prelude II (USA: New World Music Corp. 1928) Print.
83 The melodic line enters on the offbeat of beat three in measure four on G For the most part, thi s melody oscillates between G and B the fifth and flat tened seventh of the C blues scale. In measure seven, this melody moves up to C on beats two and four. The vii o /iv and V/iv chords, which link the piece to classical music, serve to tonicize the subdominant chord in each measure, further emphasizing the oscillation between tonic and subdominant. This oscillation, coupled with the implied harmonic progression, suggest a sort of blues lullaby. Typically, lullabies alternate between tonic and do minant, but seeing as this is so indebted to the blues it only seems appropriate that this lullaby would alternate between tonic and subdominant. Measure ten presents a series of major chords ascending by half step on beats one, two, and three. The left h and here presents an example of parallelism, a common practice in jazz (Levine 305 309). These chords are F major, G major, and a G seventh chord. Melodically, this measure is very similar to the D blues scale, with the addition of the G which serves a s a chromatic passing between the third (G ) and second (F ) scale degree of the D blues scale. It also presents an example of a blue note with the G on beat two sounding against a G in the bass. Measures eleven and twelve serve as yet another example of Gershwin applying the law of propinquity. All the motion in these measures comes from the stepwise motion in the left hand. A variation of the pieces main theme comes in on the offbeat of beat three in measure twelve, but this time focusing on the minor third between C and E the first and second scale degrees of the C blues scale. The chord progression here could be analyzed as a long F min 9 chord (iv 9 ). Beats
84 one and two of measure fourteen strongly outline an F o chord which leads into a G 7 harmo ny on beat three. Beats three and four of this measure are interesting because it seems to be a case of polyvalence 8 due to the clear G 7 chord in the left hand against the arpeggiated A maj 7 chord in the right hand. Polyvalence is a technique drawn from th e modern Western art music tradition. An example of polyvalence can be found in the 9 which was discussed in the previous chapter. If one were to analyze this as a G 13 chord, the progression would be vii o7 /V V 13 which then progresses t o a clear C minor harmony in measure fifteen. Extended tertian harmony, like this G thirteenth chord, is very common in jazz. Measures fifteen and sixteen clearly outline a bluesy i IV // i iv progression which then leads to a reiteration of the op ening material, but with an added coun ter melody (see ex. 18 ). This section ends on a C seventh harmony, which acts as the V 7 preparing for the modulation to F major in the next section beginning at measure 31. While modulating to the subdominant is comm on practice in classical music, it seems likely that Gershwin would have chosen this new tonal center to again emphasize the tonic subdominant relationship which is so prevalent in blues music. This new section is much clearer, harmonically. The melody, i n the left hand for this section, is extremely difficult to classify however. It seems fairly typical of Classical within any specific scale. Harmonically, the focus of this section seems to be built around 8 Polyvalence is essentially the stacking of chords that would normally serve separate functions. 9 The Petrushka chord consists of two major triads a tritone apart which are sounded simultaneously.
85 a I V 7 vii o I progression (see ex. 19 ). At measure 40 the harmonic pattern is broken. Measures 40 to 42 follow the harmonic progression vii o V 7 // iii 7 IV // I. Measure 43 has an E min 7 chord on beats one and two, and a G 7 on beats three and four (see ex. 2 0 ). This G 7 (tritone substitution) progresses down by half steps to F major in measure 44.This progresses to G 7 (II 7 ), which in the key of C would be IV V 7 Following the fermata on the G seventh chord, the original material returns in the original key of C All of the following material is almost identical with the exception of a few decorative grace notes until measures 59 to 61 (see ex. 2 1 ). This arpeggiated chord is completed in the final measure when B the flat tened seventh, is sounded, creating a C dom 9 chord, resulting in a very jazzy conclusion. Ex. 18 Measures 14 21 of Prelude II in C George Gershwin, Prelude II (USA: New World Music Corp. 1928) Print.
86 Ex. 19 Measures 31 33 of Prelude II in C George Gershwin, Prelude II (USA: New World Music Corp. 1928) Print. Ex. 20 Measures 40 44 of Prelude II in C George Gershwin, Prelude II (USA: New World Music Corp. 1928) Print. Ex. 21 Measures 57 61 of Prelude II in C George Gershwin, Prelude II (USA: New World Music Corp. 1928) Print.
87 Book: I Got Rhythm Book (1932) came from the show Girl Crazy (1930), though it was originally written for Treasure Girl (1928). It has since become a standard and p ermeated jazz practices over the past several differences between it and the original. The harmonizations are not the same as those song, and because it would become the focus which premiered in 1934. Like the original version of the song, this piece is based on the traditional AABA popular song form. There is a sma ll four bar middle section that serves to bridge between the two AABA sections. The first section is in D major while the second is in F major. The middle section is basically sequential material with dominant seventh chords that descend by half step unti l a C 9 chord is reached to prepare the beginning of the next section in F. The melody, which is usually in the uppermost voice, is based on the pentatonic scale. As was mentioned in the previous chapter, the pentatonic scale simultaneously represents a cro ssroads between black and white, as well as Eastern and Western music
88 (Schleifer 82). The syncopated rhythm of this melody aligns it with jazz. Each of the A sections is made up of an antecedent and consequent phrase, a structure common to classical and po pular music. In the antecedent, there are two harmonic phrases. The second phrase of the antecedent introduces some jazzy extended tertian harmonies, and introduces tritone substitution (see ex. 2 2 ). The progression, in measures three and four, is D 9add 6 E o7 G major, and A 7 Perhaps the best analysis of the E o7 chord is to call it the ii of a ii V tritone substitution progression in A (the V of the current key). However, the A 7 chord which is expected to follow is instead a G triad (IV). The A 7 chord does not appear until the end of the consequent phrase. In any case, this harmonic progression is I 9add6 (A tritone sub) ii IV V 7 Measures seven and eight have the following progression: I V 7 (cadential 6/4) // I V 9add6 /V (tritone sub) V 9add6 completing the ii V tritone subs titution progression (see ex. 23 ). Ex. 22 Measures 1 George Gershwin, (NY: Simon and Schuster Inc. 1941) Print. The following A is identical to the first up unt il its seventh measure, which is measure fifteen in the score (see ex. 24 ). The right hand is still identical to what came in
89 the preceding A section, but the left hand provides a jazzy stepwise walking bass (A A, B B ) that moves into the B 7 chord t hat opens measure sixteen. The following harmony seems to be quartal in nature (from bottom to top: F, B E A ). Quartal harmony is common in jazz, but can also be found in the music from the Western art music tradition. This chord then leaps up to a B 7 chord that, via the law of propinquity, progresses by half steps into the A 7 chord that opens the B section. Ex. 23 Measures 5 George Gershwin, (NY: Simon and Schuster Inc. 1941) Print. Ex 24 Measures 13 George Gershwin, (NY: Simon and Schuster Inc. 1941) Print. Melodically, this B section is based on the exact same syncopated rhythmic figure as the previous sections. This section also largely stays within the D major pentatonic scale, with the exception of the G in measure eighteen (see ex. 25 ). The opening of
90 section B contains a harmonic sequence which progresses by dominant relationships: F9 (V/B ) B 9 (V/E ) E 9 (V/A ).This type of harmonic sequence is common in classical music. This sequence is contained within the first six measures of this B section, and is broken by the G 7 chord (vii 7 /A ) which brings measure 22 to a close. A second harmonic sequence begins in t he following measure, measure 23, the seventh measure of B. This sequence consists of four major triads which descend by half step: F F / E D. The fact that the final A section begins in the next measure on a D major triad (I) suggests that the prev ious chord is a tritone substitution. Thus, this sequence in measures 23 and 24 is based on tritone substitutions sequence which preceded it. The final melodic note in measure 24 is an A which is in stark contrast to the A in the left hand. This is an example of a blue note, and serves to create a typical V I motion in the melody in contrast to the tritone progression in the left hand; again, contrasting the two ideas presented in the preceding harmonic progressi ons.
91 Ex. 25 Measures 17 George Gershwin, (NY: Simon and Schuster Inc. 1941) Print. The harmony on beat one of 33 is quite interesting (see ex. 26 ). If the melody note, F, is considered separately, this chord could be analyzed as a French augmented sixth chord (the pitches being E B G D ). The B and G spelling support an augmented sixth analysis, however the voice leading does not. The B does step down to A but the G steps down to G the minor seventh of the following A 7 (V 7 ) chord. This chord does serve a predominant function, so it seems like this is a French augmented sixth chord, but treated unconventionally. The following cho rd is clearly an A 7 (V 7 cadential 6/4), which progresses to a D major (I) chord in measure 34, creating a Fr +6 V 7 I progression.
92 Ex. 26 Measures 31 George Gershwin, (NY: Simon and Schuster Inc. 19 41) Print Measures 35 to 38, exactly in the middle of the piece, serve to transition between the first AABA section in D major to the second AAB A section in F major (see ex. 27 ). This material lacks a tonal center (there are no sharp s or flat s in the key signature) and is largely sequential. The four lower voices all descend by half step for all four measures, beginning on an enharmonically spelled C or D dom 9 chord (the pitches as written are D F, B, E and G which was preceded by G ). The melodi c material becomes sequential at the end of 36 and breaks with the harmonic sequence in 38. Like the second sequence in the earlier B section, this harmonic sequence emphasizes tritone substitution relationships. The final chord is a C dom 7 which serves a s the V 7 9 of the upcoming key of F major.
93 Ex. 27 Measures 35 George Gershwin, (NY: Simon and Schuster Inc. 1941) Print. The second AABA section begins at measure 39 in the key of F major. Melodically, this is identical to the opening section, though in the key of F instead of D The accompaniment, however, is different both rhythmica lly and harmonically (see ex. 28 ). Rhythmically, it is very similar to ragtime and stride piano music with the steady qua rter note bass emphasizing strong beats with low, accented notes and providing chordal accompaniment on weak beats. This section also introduces a countermelody which follows each two bar melodic phrase. The rhythm of this countermelody (sixteenth eight h sixteenth) is very common in ragtime music. The 2/4 meter, syncopated melody, and rhythmic filler material further serve to establish this connection.
94 Ex. 28 Measures 39 George Gershwin, (NY: Simon and Schuster Inc. 1941) Print. The second A section begins at 47. This is an exact repetition of the preceding A section up until its final measure (54). The B section begins in measure 55, and like the first B section of the piece presents se quential material. In this sequence, all the voices move by step. This section can be viewed as another example of Gershwin applying the law of propinquity, which helps explain the strange harmonic progres sion in this section (see ex. 29 ). This A provides a third rhythmic variation of A, though the melody, now in the bass, is the same and the harmonies are largely similar. The final progression of the piece, beginning in measure 71, is V 9 /V V 7 9 (cadential 6/4) // vi 7 (see ex. 30 ). These final two measur es present a series of classical signifiers: a secondary dominant, a cadential 6/4 figure, and a deceptive cadence. In the end, it is a strange, surprising, and humorous ending.
95 Ex. 29 Measures 54 George Gershwin, George Gersh (NY: Simon and Schuster Inc. 1941) Print. Ex. 30 Measures 69 George Gershwin, (NY: Simon and Schuster Inc. 1941) Print.
96 Porgy and Bess: Porgy and Bess is probably one of the most popular songs of all time, and has surely been covered and recorded more than almost any other song in American history (Pollack 661). This famous aria takes the form of a lullaby whose melody is almost exclusively made up of notes from the B minor pentatonic scale. It can be organized into two antecedent consequent phrases. The song begins on the third beat of the measure before rehearsal 17 in the piano/vocal score of the opera. The oscillating opening chords make up a significant portion of this song (see ex. 31 ). The best analysis of these chords is a B min add6 moving to an A 7 (i add 6 vii 7 ). These pitches all move up a whole step from the B minor chord up to th e A 7 This is another example of parallelism, a common jazz practice. This oscillation is broken in measure four (three after rehearsal 17), as the vii 7 in beat three returns to the i add 6 on beat four, which then moves to an E min 7 (iv 7 ) chord in measu re five, which then progresses to a B minor (i) chord with chromatic passing motion in two v oices in measure six (see ex. 32 ).This iv 7 i progression is typical of minor blues music, and the chromatic passing motion is another example of Gershwin applying the law of propinquity. The melody note in measure seven (C ) does not fall within the B minor pentatonic scale. This C is hit only one other time in the song (at measure 25, one after rehearsal 20), and both marks the end of an antecedent phrase, and a chromatic countermelody is initiated in the accompaniment. This chromatic countermelody falls outside the B minor pentatonic scale but is reminiscent of the third,
97 fourth, and fifth notes of the blues scale (4, countermelody also includes a blue note: the E on beat three of measure seven (two before rehearsal 18) against the E in the bass. This countermelody is always accompanied by an F major C 7 / F maj F min (V V 7 /V // V v) progression. The song then moves back into the i add6 vii 7 oscillations in measure nine (rehearsal 18) via stepwise motion. Ex. 31 Measures 1 George Gershwin, Porgy and Bess (NY: Gershwin Publishing C orp. 1935) 15 17. Print. Ex. 32 Measures 3 Porgy and Bess (NY: Gershwin Publishing Corp. 1935) 15 17. Print.
98 accompaniment mark the beginning of the second antecedent consequent phrase. The presence of background singers serve to place the song within the realm of spirituals and choral music. Oth er than these additions, this music is largely the same as the preceding section. One of the more interesting points is when the voices take up the first countermelody, creating a moment of call and response between the leader (the soloist, Clara) and the choir. was drawn largely from the Western art music tradition and African American music traditions, specifically jazz and blues (also folk music and spirituals in the case of Porgy and Bess ). Harmonically, Gershwin tended to employ jazzy and bluesy progressions. Much of his music u ses extended tertian harmonies and IV I and ii V progressions were extremely common. Gershwin also used tritone substitutions on several occasion s, and often played with the technique. In order to create a sense of contrast, Gershwin would occasionally use more conventional progressions which were drawn from Rhapsody in Blue is an excellent example of this. D ue to its more Classical profile, this theme stood out from the more jazz and blues influenced themes which made up the bulk of the Rhapsody become possibly the most recognizable theme from the work. Perhaps the most important f Smooth voice leading is a sort of Gershwin trademark, and many of the strange and
99 exotic harmonies which can be found throughout his compositions can be attributed to hi s application of this technique. practices. His favorite scale seems to have been the pentatonic scale and its variants. Many of his songs used this scale, including two of his most many of his themes. He did also employ other scales in his work, such as the Mixolydian scale. He also occasionally used major and minor scales in his compositions.
100 Chapter 4 : Conclusion concert music, and by doing so to show that Gershwin consciously and deliberately applied this hybridity to assert his own assimilationi st attitude, which was essential to his identity as an American. By creating hybrid music, Gershwin brought criticism on himself from people who reacted to his synthesis of jazz, blues, and classical elements. Many of the published criticisms that he and h is music were subjected to expressed various forms of exclusionism. be familiar with his life story. As a first generation Jewish American growing up in New York City, Gershwi n was exposed to many races and cultures throughout his life. This, coupled with his lifelong desire to immerse himself in various musical cultures, especially the musical culture of African Americans, led him to write the sort of hybrid music that he woul American musicians and composers has been well documented. While there were other composers who were attempting to write hybrid music, such as Maurice Ravel, Igor Stravinsky, and Aaron Copland, Gershwin been considered the most successful. His concert works crossed boundaries that many would have believed impossible, and the popularity of his music speaks to the cut tragically
101 short, he has become perhaps the most recognizable and famous American composer of all time. The purpose of the first chapter was to provide some of the documented responses id elements of recognized the hybridity that was a hallmark of Gershwin compositions, and reacted to these elements in different ways. Many critics responded quite favorably hybrid music. For example, William J. Henderson, in his review of the Concerto in F Concerto rem inded him qtd. in Goldberg 208). Ralph Matthews, of the Afro American actually referred to Porgy and Bess beautifully qtd. in Allen and Cunningham 354). Other reviewers were extremely critical. Many of the negative reviews which tende ncies. This exclusionist attitude was recognized by several people, including Morton Gershwi wrote about the Concerto in F qtd. in Pollack 353).
102 Discussing Porgy and Bess Engel expressed th e concern that peoples complaints about the opera were about its label as an opera more than anything else. He went on to Porgy those who believe that such a classifica tion is a slur on the dignity of Wagner, Verdi, and Porgy and Bess fal Porgy and Bess Johnson 224). his concert works. For example, Oscar Thompson, of the Evening Post considered An American in Paris are perhaps most commonly found in resp onse to Porgy and Bess In his discussion of the fashioned recitatives in Porgy and Bess fused m difficulty of categorizing the opera also serves to show exclusionist attitudes. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle anomalous work, neither opera nor musical comedy, pretentious, in flat ed and essentially
103 Another form of exclusionism can be found in the conversations about the racial implications of the opera. Many people claimed that as an outsider, Gershwin had no right to appropriate the music of African Americans. In discussions about the music of lore subjects recounted by an outsider are only valid as long as the folk in question is unable to speak for itsel (Wyatt and Johnson 201). Because African Americans were able to speak for themselves, Thomson felt that Gershwin had no right to portray them in his opera. Porgy and Bess is often accused of being insensitive for its portrayal of African Americans and t he issues that they face in the opera. However, the topics of conflict in Porgy and Bess are not unique to the African American race, nor do I think it was the country and are extremely common in New York where Gershwin lived and grew up. to become a thug prior to his exposure to music. Charles Schwartz clearly documents bsession with sex in his book, Gershwin: His Life and Music Drugs would surely be unavoidable in one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world, though there is no documentation to suggest that Gershwin was himself a user. These were themes that Gershwin would have recognized and could identify with, and perh aps this is why he was Porgy and Bess was merely a demons as portrayed by a group of African Americans, who, notably, are portrayed as the heroes in the tail. The f ew appearances of white characters in the tale clearly establish them to be the authority and the law, and, as
104 Interestingly, Gershwin denied the white characters any pitch ed music. The music associated with white characters has musical rhythms and contours, but no specific pitches. These segments are placed in contrast with the responses from black characters, which are sung. By doing this, he denied the white characters an y real power within the story. By creating silence in the opera, the white characters are stunting the development of characters and halting the progression of the plot. By doing this, Gershwin established Many people fundamenta lly misunderstood what the composer was trying to say tions of the gestures he employed and perpetuated the prevailing societal ideas about separate races connected to distinct forms of musical societal diversity of America. By incorporating musical elements that could be found in these different subsections of America, Gershwin was trying to express his own assimi lationist attitudes. Gershwin saw himself as a sort of patriot, and he took on the responsibility of communicating what an American identity meant to him. To Gershwin, an American identity could not be classified or categorized by a single race, culture, o r societal label. Gershwin believed that America was a multicultural society with the potential to assimilate its various cultures into a single, unified American culture. He saw
105 this American potential as being best represented by large metropolitan areas specifically his hometown of New York City. Within this relatively small area, multiple cultures interacted with each other on a daily basis. This cross cultural dialogue resulted in many unique products, which was best represented by jazz for Gershwin. This can be inferred Wherever I went I heard latest concert, the cracked tones of a hurdy gurdy, the wail of a street singer, the obbligato of a broken violin, past or present music I was hearing within me. Old music and new music, forgotten melodies and the craze of the [sic], rag time ditties, combined in a mighty chorus in my inner ear. And through and over it all I heard, faint at first, loud at last, the soul of this great America of o urs. And what is the voice of the American soul? It is jazz developed out of ragtime, jazz that is the plantation song improved and transformed I do not assert that the American soul is Negroid. But it is a combination that i ncludes the wail, the whine, and the exultant note of the all souls unified in the great melting pot of the world. (Wyatt and Johnson 93) These beliefs led him to use jazz as the driving element in his compositions. While Gershwin did recognize its African American roots, he felt that jazz was uniquely (Wyatt and Johnson 90).
106 American music, it is important to note that t hroughout his life he sought to immerse himself in that Putting Popular Music in Its Place Charles Hamm American community, pointing to the compo Calloway, Fats Waller, Bessie Smith, and many others. American musicians and composers does not mean that he could compose authentic African American music; but that was never his goal. It does, however, show that his interest in this music was not just for commercial reasons. African American music spoke to him, and he saw it as being perhaps the most significant musical contribution to American culture. For this reason, his patriotic b rand of hybrid music made extensive use of elements drawn from jazz and blues. The goal of chapters two and three was to show and explore some of the hybrid Gershwin scholar music. Analysts have noted that some of the defining characteristics of the Gershwin style include syncopated rhythms, bluesy melodies, jazzy harmonies, and classical forms. He was even known to incorporate some Latin and Oriental elements into his music. The Cuban Overture provides the best example of Gershwin using Latin elements, especially Rhapsod y in Blue but the better example would be the third variation, marked This variation attempted to
107 only the whit the Western art music tradition. For example, the Rhapsody in Blue is loosely based on the piano concerto as represented by Liszt, Tchaikovsky, and many others. Several scholars, such as Larry Starr and Deems Taylor, claim that An American in Paris is based on sonata form. The final movement of the Concerto in F is in rondo form (Pollack 349) Porgy and Be ss Wozzeck and also employed Classical rotational form in the opening act. Besides these larger formal structures, Gershwin often employed popular song Rhapsody in Blue is in a standard 44 bar ABAC song form. The overall form of An American in Paris in addition to its middle section, can be analyzed as being in ABA tripartite form. Several songs in Porgy and Bess Broadway AABA song form. jazz, blues, and the Western art music tradition. Perhaps one of the most defining Stufenreichtum or the law of propinquity. The smooth voice leading and exotic harmonies that result rks. In his article,
108 Rapport points out that in the Rhapsody there is an extensive use of the dominant seventh sharp nine chord, which is common in jazz and blues music. I n other parts of the Rhapsody the harmonies tend to fall more within the realms of classical music. In the Concerto Gershwin plays with this dialogue between jazz and classical harmony in the a tussle between the jazzy th eme and the main toccata idea, one that further translates into a conflict between a minor mode (toccata theme) and Prelude II in C and Ger shwin makes extensive use makes extensive use of secondary dominants, which are frequently used in classical Porgy and Bess Gers hwin uses a Neapolitan chord which serves to prepare for the V 7 I progression which follows it. In Classical music, Neapolitan chords are frequently used as a predominant. are strongly associated with jazz. There are moments where rhythms are obviously referencing specific cultures. Gershwin occasionally employed the Charleston rhythm, a very common rhythm in jazz music. This rhythm is used extensively in the Concerto in F Many analysts describe the fourth section of An American in Paris as a Charleston. In his music, Gershwin also makes extensive use of the Habanera rhythm, and v ariants of it. This Latin rhythm was crucial in the development of the unique rhythmic feel of jazz music, and is frequently used in jazz compositions and
109 improvisations. The Latin clave rhythm, along with other Latin rhythms, was extensively used in Gersh Cuban Overture eighth sixteenth figurations. In a few cases, he also used rhythmic figures in the accompaniment of his music that are reminiscent of rag time music. This sort of figuration can be seen in An American in Paris George material is focused around minor thirds. This is perhaps seen best in his second Prelude. The emphasis on this interval is attributed to both African American and Jewish musical practices. Many of his most memorable melodies are very bluesy in quality. For example, Rhapsody in Blue contains twenty notes, and all but five of these notes are within the B he Song Book This scale is also extensively Rhapsody in Blue and the C major scale e Rhapsody compositions, serve to show not only his multi cultural approach to writing music, but art
110 t ime ditties, combined in a mighty chorus in my inner ear. And through and over it all I His assimilationist attitude can also be seen in his appearance and actions. Charles Hamm described a twofold strategy for assimilation used by the new immigrants in the early twentieth century: modifying appearance so as to conform, and attempting to make positive contributions to American life and culture (Hamm 322). Gershwin cl early did both of these things. He was very conscious about his appearance. He always made sure to be dressed extremely well, and was always clean shaven. This can be seen in virtually every picture of him, except perhaps those from when he was working on Porgy and Bess in South Carolina. George and Ira Americanized their names towards the beginning of their careers. Jacob became George, and Israel became Ira. They both used their misspelled family name, Gershwin, as well. To Gershwin, America represented a unique melting pot of cultures. Gershwin felt that by representing this melting pot in his music, he would be not only asserting himself as a patriot, but leading the way towards a new, uniquely American art form. His goal to write hybrid music was perha ps best articulated in a comment he made about Rhapsody in Blue of our vast (Pollack 704). While he may not h ave made reference to the melting pot in his other works, he always described his music as being uniquely American. Many critics
111 misunderstood Gershwin and his goals, assuming he was trying to write classical music, jazz, or African American music. Rather, he was trying to combine these different elements into a cohesive whole which, according to Gershwin, could only be classified as American.
112 Works Cited Allen, R., and G. P. Cunningham. "Cultural Uplift and Double Consciousness: African American Response s to the 1935 Opera Porgy and Bess." The Musical Quarterly 88.3 (2006): 342 69. Print. Allen, Ray. "An American Folk Opera? Triangulating Folkness, Blackness, and Americaness in Gershwin and Heyward's Porgy and Bess." Journal of American Folklore 117.465 (2004): 243 61. Print. Crawford, Richard. "Where Did Porgy and Bess Come From?" Journal of Interdisciplinary History 36.4 (2006): 697 734. Print. Davis, Andrew, and Howard Pollack. "Rotational Form in the Opening Scene of Gershwin's Porgy and Be ss." Journal of the American Musicological Society 60.2 (2007): 373 414. Print. "George Gershwin: About the Composer." PBS PBS, 7 June 2006. Web. 04 May 2012.
113 Porgy and Bess New York, NY: Gershwin Publishing Corporation, 1935: 15 17. Goldberg, Isaac. George Gersh win; a Study in American Music. New York: F. Ungar Pub., 1958. Print. Hamm, Charles Edward. Putting Popular Music in Its Place Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2006. Print. Knapp, Raymond. The American Musical and the Formation of National Identity Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2005. Print. Latham, Edward D. "The Multi Tonality as Drama: Closure and Interruption in Four Twentieth century American Operas. Denton : University of North Texas, 2008. 96+. Print. Levine, Mark. The Jazz Theory Book Petaluma, CA (P.O. Box 445, Petaluma, 94953): Sher Music, 1995. Print. Pollack, Howard. George Gershwin: His Life and Work Berkeley: University of California, 2006. Print. Hybridity." Journal of the Society for American Music 2.4 (2008): 507 30. Print. Journal of the Society for American Music 1.1 (2007): 1 28. Print.
114 Schleifer, Ronald. "Melting Pot and Meeting Place: The Gershwin Brothers and the Art of Quotation." Modernism and Popular Music: Language and Music in Gershwin, Porter, Waller, and Holiday Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2011. 81 93. Print. Schneider, Wayne. The Gershwin Style: New Looks at the Music of George Gershwin New York: Oxford UP, 1999. Print. Schneider, Wayne. The Gershwin Style: New Looks at the Music of George Gershwin New York [u.a.: Oxford Univ., 1999. Pr int. Schwartz, Charles. Gershwin: His Life and Music New York: Da Capo, 1979. Print. Starr, Larry. George Gershwin New Haven: Yale UP, 2011. Print. Wyatt, Robert, and John Andrew. Johnson. The George Gershwin Reader New York: Oxford UP, 2004. Print.