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On the Probability of a Distinct American Note in Musical Composition

DURING the past six months The Etude has placed before its readers the views of several eminent writers and musicians on the subject of American music and the probability of a distinct American note in musical composition. We believe in this idea most thoroughly, and shall do all in our power to advance the movement. Teachers who have the training of pupils who show decided talent and appreciation of music must ever keep before such pupils the highest and best in music, and the thorough appreciation and understanding of such music. Teachers of composition, American born, or foreigners who have come to be a part of us, should make it a part of their work to seek the means whereby individuality can be maintained and strengthened. Under such influences the distinctive American character already formed and still growing stronger and more distinct, will, sooner or later, begin to assert itself. Students of music, men and women, for their part, must work earnestly, thoroughly, and with the definite purpose, to learn to express Americanism in their work.

Bearing on this idea of Americanism in music we print here a few words to the Editor, written by the eminent composer, Mr. Arthur Foote, of Boston:

“It is probable that, through natural and unconscious development, music composed by Americans will come, gradually, to possess characteristics differentiating it from that written by Italians, Russians, Bohemians, etc. This will not be brought to pass just by wishing, or by conscious striving; such things do not so happen.

“We have naturally been strongly influenced by the music of composers in other lands; formerly by Germany, and now, apparently, quite as much by the newer French school. But there can be no doubt that composers will appear among us, when least expected, of such individual thought and expression, that the world will recognize a new American strain. The incubator process will, however, not be a successful one.”

We urge the careful reading of Mr. Mathews’ article, found on another page of this issue.


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You are reading On the Probability of a Distinct American Note in Musical Composition from the July, 1906 issue of The Etude Magazine.

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