I was thinking the other day about music history and I realized I don’t know diddly about 19th Century America, other than reading Thomas Jefferson’s little account of his slaves singing and playing their banjars.
I assume there weren’t any “Cowboy crooners” strumming guitars, since IIRC the “Spanish” guitar wasn’t popular in this country until the 20th Century. I still like that scene in The Three Amigos though.
How about classical music? I don’t know of any American composers from the era, but how about the Europeans? Did any of the folks we revere nowadays make it big in this country? (“Dude, you gotta like, totally check out this new Tchaikovsky sheet music I got. It makes my chaps sizzle!”) Did they prefer contemporaries or dead people?
I don’t expect there was a Tombstone Philharmonic, but would there be little travelling chamber groups?
Okay, so none of this is the stuff you want to knock back whiskey and ogle floozies with. What do you call the stuff the white-haired guy plays on that little piano? In the really late period (1910?), I guess it could be Ragtime, but I’m thinking more about 1870 or so. Traditional pieces, little ditties the piano man threw together, popular songs with a known author?
What’s the generic term, if any, for American music of this era? If you don’t know a name for it, I’ll have to make one up, and we wouldn’t want that.
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