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Gershwin Essay

1287 words - 5 pages

My primary goal for enrolling in music appreciation was to learn about the composers/musicians that have greatly contributed to modern music. Therefore, I decided to analyze a piece of music ?Rhapsody in Blue?, which affected music in 1920?s and still impacting the music world today. George Gershwins, ?Rhapsody in Blues?, first performance was on February 12, 1924, and became an overnight success taking the music world by surprise. In this paper, I intend to analyze two very important versions of ?Rhapsody in Blue,? and describe Gershwin?s life leading to his achievement.George Gershwin was born Jacob Gershowitz on September 26, 1898 in Brooklyn, New York. The son of immigrant parents, George had two brothers, Arthur and Ira, and one sister Francis. Although, George is the most well know of the family, his brother Ira was also a successful lyricist. In fact, if it were not for Ira?s interest in music, George?s parents would have never purchased the family?s first piano. George, took an immediate interest in the piano, and immediately began successfully playing by ear. His parents arranged for piano lessons, and George began to study seriously at the age of 12 years old.George began his professional career in ?Tin Pan Alley,? Located in New York City were aspiring composers and songwriters would bring their music in hopes of selling them for a modest amount of cash. He became a ?song plugger? for the Jerome Remick Company. There, he became exposed to thousands of songs, giving him a better idea on the quality of music. Two years after he started work for Jerome Remick, George had his first song published. ?When you Want Em You Can?t Get Em? this piece was not an instant success for George, but it attracted attention from other great composers. This composition shaped the foundation, for the success George?s future was beholding.Very few composers have achieved instant celebrity to anything like the degree that George Gershwin enjoyed following the performance of ?Rhapsody and Blues?. This piece was composed very quickly. In fact, the whole evolution of this composition was an experiment. Paul Whiteman, one of New York?s foremost bandleaders had hired the Aeolian Hall for what was billed as ?An Experiment in Modern Music?. The experiment was to see whether it was possible for American composers to achieve a combination of classical and popular idioms and forms. This experiment was a success, and paved Gershwin?s road to a short but successful career.?The Rhapsody was extremely important to the future of American music because it introduced what Rudy Vallee called symphonized syncopation to sophisticated audiences in the serious setting of the concert hall. The Rhapsody in Blue, which owes much to the influence of Liszt, Tchaikovsky, and the Russian music Gershwin heard as a young student, has beautiful, recognizable, unforgettable melodies, and the entire piece is characterized by Gershwin's energy and rhythmic sense.? In ?Rhapsody in Blue? he...

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