George Gershwin, was born September 26, 1898. In Brooklyn. New York by the name of Jacob Gershwin. At the young age of 15, George dropped out of school and began playing piano professionally at age 15. Only a few years there after, he was to be one of the most sought after musicians in America. A man of many eclectic genres, he composed Jazz, opera and popular songs for stage and screen. Many of his works are now considered to be standards. Gershwin died immediately following his brain surgery on July 1 1, 1937, at the tragically young age of 38.
George Gershwin is noninsured to be one of the most successful composers of the united states. Many of his compositions have become Jazz standards which have survived from the sass’s to the sass’s. Jazz musicians commonly use his songs for Improvisation and a vast amount of bebop music is structured on the chord changes of many of his original songs. His pieces for classical performance including Rhapsody in Blue, An American In Paris, the Concerto In F for Plano and orchestra, and the Preludes for piano are still commonly found In today’s programs.
Charles Ham states that Gershwin has ” Ritter popular classical music and classic popular pieces” (Schneider). George asked to study with ravel. Ravel countered that with how well Gershwin’s career was going, he should be getting lessons from Gershwin instead. Gershwin was later compared to Claude Debussy In his work Concerto in F. The listeners claims of similarity didn’t deter him from further exploring French styles. Gershwin was also interested in the works of Dimmit Stochastic, Albany Berg, Drains Millard Igor Stravinsky, and Arnold Schoenberg.
Gershwin also asked for composition lessons from Schoenberg. Like Ravel, Schoenberg refused, complimenting Gershwin’s style. Gershwin was major Influenced by early 20th century French composers. George Gershwin once said “… True music must reflect the thought and aspirations of the people and time. My people are Americans. My time is today. ” Gershwin was set apart by being able to alter forms of music Into his own exclusive style. Jazz music Indigenous of Tin Pan alley was turned mainstream by mixing in rhythms and tonality of the pop music of his age.
Gershwin built his songs on a single tune. That tune was the inspiration and is used as the subject constantly throughout the piece. Richard Crawford writes that the “… Oldies of Gershwin’s concert works are surely the chief reason for their appeal. They share with many of his popular songs a trait that helps to imprint them firmly on the listener’s memory: the opening material is consistently restated before contrasting material is heard. ” In his classical music Gershwin commonly wove in his tune.
Wayne Schneider explains “Gershwin’ musical building blocks are not those of Bach or Beethoven or Brahms, but the ways in which he fashions music by carefully foreshadowing and lovingly remembering his million-dollar tunes should not be denied their aesthetic right”(Schneider). He would surround them with music that would reveal and hide the subject. It was all very calculated. His talent In doing so Is what made his music timeless and what sets him apart as a composer. Composers who used similar mechanisms of writing were 1 OFF melodic structures.
In comparison, his tonal vocabulary was more modern. A notable characteristic of his music are his common use of blue notes. Crawford explains that “Sometimes these notes function as dissonances, as in one theme of the Rhapsody, where on strong beats they clash with the bass At other times they soften the melodic contour” (Crawford). Most of Gershwin’s works infuse African American elements. It is no coincidence that his largest work, Porgy and Bess is a drama centered around African Americans. He infuses harmonies that contain unusual voice leading.
Richard Crawford explains how Gershwin employed “… Against five descending upper voices the bass line ascends. Parallel octaves between soprano and tenor, alto and baritone, lend an artless quality to the passage; yet only a sophisticated ear could have calculated the progression’s freshness” (Crawford). This approach to the form in his compositions exemplifies him as composer with strong quinine that doesn’t cloud expression. Gershwin was fascinated with rhythm. Patterns were very apparent in his early music.