Sigh. Maybe I’m being nit-picky. And I understand hyperbole as a rhetorical device. Also, this was a fine article. But the opening salvo raised my proverbial hackles. Tim Smith of the
If American music had to be defined in only two words, these would do nicely: George Gershwin.
Really? (Also: passive voice?)
As the composer of Rhapsody in Blue, An American in Paris and a trove of inimitable popular songs from his scores to musical plays and films -- with lyrics by his brother Ira -- Gershwin defined the Jazz Age.
It seems to me that’s exactly what he did. Not define American music. Define the Jazz Age. See? You…that’s contradictory. But more true.
But he also transcended his time.
Fine, sure. I like Gershwin just fine. His music is still, and often, played today. It’s popular, tuneful, and prominently featured by United Airlines (ever been to the
However, the story of American music begins in or about the 16th century with the Shakers. And continued for 500ish years. Classicism. Romanticism. Modernism. Jazz. Folk. Pop. What have you. LOTS of stuff. Not the Jazz Age, which was nice, but...only one thing, among many.
If I had only two words to define American music, I’d pick:
I’m just sayin’ is all. Too nit-picky?