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Music in the USA: A Documentary Companion [Paperback]

Judith Tick

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Book Description

July 15 2008
Music in the USA: A Documentary Companion charts a path through American music and musical life using as guides the words of composers, performers, writers and the rest of us ordinary folks who sing, dance, and listen. The anthology of primary sources contains about 160 selections from 1540 to 2000. Sometimes the sources are classics in the literature around American music, for example, the Preface to the Bay Psalm Book, excerpts from Slave Songs of the United States, and Charles Ives extolling Emerson. But many other selections offer uncommon sources, including a satirical story about a Yankee music teacher; various columns from 19th-century German American newspapers; the memoirs of a 19th-century diva; Lottie Joplin remembering her husband Scott; a little-known reflection of Copland about Stravinsky; an interview with Muddy Waters from the Chicago Defender; a letter from Woody Guthrie on the "spunkfire" attitude of a folk song; a press release from the Country Music Association; and the Congressional testimony around "Napster." "Sidebar" entries occasionally bring a topic or an idea into the present, acknowledging the extent to which revivals of many kinds of music play a role in American contemporary culture. This book focuses on the connections between theory and practice to enrich our understanding of the diversity of American musical experiences. Designed especially to accompany college courses which survey American music as a whole, the book is also relevant to courses in American history and American Studies.

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"A treasure for anyone who is fascinated by America and its many streams of music. The selections are fresh and varied. The items treated include (to mention some that involve the letter "C") Colonial hymns, Civil War marches, nineteenth-century prima donna and opera-company manager Clara Kellogg, Copland's Rodeo, Chuck Berry, and salsa musician Willie Colón. The annotations provide crisp information and context but also are studded with subtle, sometimes sly provocations. An ideal compendium for classroom use to complement--or perhaps even replace--a standard textbook on music in America." --Ralph P. Locke, Professor of Musicology, Eastman School of Music (University of Rochester)


"The entire course of American music emerges from this judiciously selected and introduced collection of 159 examples."--Gramophone


"A truly awesome and significant volume."-Alan Rich


"Judith Tick has provided the field of American music studies with an eclectic body of source materials, a road map to our individual and collective pasts. This major contribution turns the volume up: it documents this country's unbridled obsession with her musical self. The experiences lived in America's hushed concert halls, smoky jam sessions, pious cathedrals, and rowdy theaters are embedded in the written cultures they inspired. Have readings ever sounded so good?"--Guthrie P. Ramsey, Jr., Associate Professor of Music History and Africana Studies, University of Pennsylvania


"Everyone who has an interest or a passion for this nation's music will want to become immersed in Music in the USA. Judith Tick weaves this collection of source readings and other writings into an ecstatic quilt--a portrait that could only be made in America."--George Boziwick, Curator, American Music Collection, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts


"Spanning nearly five centuries of writings, the collection offers a richly imaginative vision of our history as constructed through sound. From the Bay Psalm Book, shape-note singing, and Louis Moreau Gottschalk to Ella Fitzgerald, Elliott Carter, and turntabling, Music in the USA: A Documentary Companion brilliantly records many voices on a mix tape for twenty-first-century audiences."--Ellie M. Hisama, Professor of Music, Columbia University, and editor, Journal of the Society for American Music


"The publication of Music in the USA proves a relatively recent theory: that American music in all its forms--old and new, sacred and profane, highbrow and lowbrow--is worth taking seriously, not only for its own sake, but also for the volumes it speaks about the past and present inhabitants of this country. Music in the USA is a powerful antidote to conventional histories of American music, which at best filter and at worst silence voices from the past. By refusing to ventriloquize these voices, Tick and Beaudoin allow our musical past and our national history to be what they are-irresistibly strange, fascinating, and full of life. I can imagine no richer text than this."--Leon Botstein, President, Bard College


"Comprehensive...This volume presents a wealth of resources to help answer the question, "What is American music?" by providing so many approaches to the subject." --Fontes Artis Musicae


"A monument to Tick's dedication to the subject as a musicologist." --Music & Letters


About the Author

Judith Tick is a high-profile music historian who writes about American music, particularly early modernism, and women's history. Among her publications are books and articles about Aaron Copland, Charles Ives, and in particular, the prize-winning biography of the American composer, Ruth Crawford Seeger: A Composer's Search for American Music (OUP 1997). She is an Associate Editor for the journal Musical Quarterly. A faculty member at Northeastern University since 1986, she was named a Matthews Distinguished University Professor in 1999 and elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Stellar Compilation of the Most Important Writings on American Music Feb. 4 2009
By Justin M. Marchetti - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
"Music in the USA" is essential for the student, professor, or enthusiast. Never before has such an array of primary source documents been collected into a single volume. Easy to browse, "Music in the USA" makes for a fantastic research tool as well as a great read for pure enjoyment- one can easily read up on any segment of American musical culture throughout our history. As a student, I highly recommend picking up this book. I have used it many times in my studies, and will surely reference it in my continuing pursuit into the music industry.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unmatchable and Irreplaceable July 20 2011
By Lawrence A. Schenbeck - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I have used this with my undergraduate music students and also for my own research. Plus, I've caught myself reading it just for the pleasure. The selections are not only representative, tracing a broad, deep history of America's many musics, they also often speak vividly, with voices we already known or have always wanted to meet. Just a terrific book.
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