The composition of art song in America began slowly in the Colonial and Federal periods, expanded greatly in the 19th century, and has become a distinguished and highly regarded addition to the classical music repertoire in the 20th and 21st centuries. Francis Hopkinson — , Philadelphia native and signer of the Declaration of Independence, is usually considered the first important American song composer. In the 19th century, many Americans composed songs for amateur musicians to sing at home usually called parlor songs. In the middle of the century Stephen Foster — emerged as one of the best known American composers of songs. While many of his vocal pieces were written for minstrel shows , the simple but effective melodies of his "songs for the hearth and home" are widely popular, often mistaken for American folksongs. By the end of the 19th century, serious American composers were travelling to European countries to study, especially with German and French composition teachers, and they gained a thorough understanding of Romantic style, including an understanding of the Lieder tradition. American songs written between and are often dismissed as sounding too "derivative", although the compositional craft shown in these works is quite high. American composers began to break from European traditions in the early part of the 20th century.
He wrote primarily for the Broadway musical theatre , but important as well are his orchestral and piano compositions in which he blended, in varying degrees, the techniques and forms of classical music with the stylistic nuances and techniques of popular music and jazz. George Gershwin made piano rolls for player pianos, played the piano in nightclubs, demonstrated sheet music for a music publishing company, and worked as an accompanist and a Broadway rehearsal pianist. He thereafter made a living writing with his lyricist brother Ira popular songs and Broadway musicals and composing important and popular jazz -influenced classical compositions. George Gershwin died of a brain tumour at the age of He wrote several important and popular chamber and orchestral works that were admired by classical composers, including Maurice Ravel and Sergey Prokofiev. George Gershwin is important for his great talent as a melodist in both popular and classical genres and for his chamber and orchestral works that ingeniously blend the forms and techniques of classical music with elements of popular song and jazz.
This would soon change. These years brought striking innovation in musical composition. Among the exhaustive list of isms — impressionism, nationalism, serialism et al — lies one that is not hugely referred to in music, yet not unimportant in the career of Charles Ives. Transcendentalism, the American literary, political and philosophical movement of the late 19th century, inspired Ives to compose one of his most well-known works, the Second Piano Sonata, also known as the Concord Sonata , which he completed in Transcendentalism began as a protest against conventions in society, in the intellectual world and in spiritual beliefs. The core thinking was that an ideal spiritual state transcends the physical state and that is realised by intuition, rather than organised religion. In addition to music for bands, he composed operettas and songs. Sousa has left a lasting impact on the sound of American — particularly patriotic — music. In the last decade of his life, Sousa became increasingly interested in music education and became involved with school music and band contests. George Gershwin was the son of Jewish immigrants and was introduced to classical music as a child.
Born in Kansas City, Mo. A Russian-born, naturalized U. During his nearly year career, Berlin wrote about 1, songs, 18 movie scores and 19 Broadway shows. A native of Providence, R. Born in Washington, D. When Ellington moved to Harlem in his 20s, he began attracting crowds at the Cotton Club, a celebrated jazz nightclub, and fame followed. Foster earned little money with his songs because copyright laws of the era provided limited protection.