In this Book

summary

Sounds American provides new perspectives on the relationship between nationalism and cultural production by examining how Americans grappled with musical diversity in the early national and antebellum eras.

During this period a resounding call to create a distinctively American music culture emerged as a way to bind together the varied, changing, and uncertain components of the new nation. This played out with particular intensity in the lower Mississippi River valley, and New Orleans especially. Ann Ostendorf argues that this region, often considered an exception to the nation—with its distance from the center of power, its non-British colonial past, and its varied population—actually shared characteristics of many other places eventually incorporated into the country, thus making it a useful case study for the creation of American culture.

Ostendorf conjures the territory’s phenomenally diverse “music ways” including grand operas and balls, performances by church choirs and militia bands, and itinerant violin instructors. Music was often associated with “foreigners,” in particular Germans, French, Irish, and Africans. For these outsiders, music helped preserve collective identity. But for critics concerned with developing a national culture, this multitude of influences presented a dilemma that led to an obsessive categorization of music with racial, ethnic, or national markers. Ultimately, the shared experience of categorizing difference and consuming this music became a unifying national phenomenon. Experiencing the unknown became a shared part of the American experience.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Contents
  2. restricted access Download |
  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xi-xiv
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Introduction
  2. pp. 1-15
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 1. Insecurity and Nationalism: The Call to Create a Unified American Music Culture
  2. pp. 16-41
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 2. The Threat of Diversity: The Lower Mississippi River Valley as a Case Study
  2. pp. 42-68
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 3. The War of the Quadrilles: Ethnic Loyalty and American Patriotism
  2. pp. 69-106
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 4. “Other” Musicians: Ethnic Expression, Public Music, and Familiarizing the Foreign
  2. pp. 107-141
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. 5. Bounding Ethnicity: The Creation and Consumption of Ethnic Music Genres
  2. pp. 142-172
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Conclusion
  2. pp. 173-178
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Notes
  2. pp. 179-198
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 199-242
  3. restricted access Download |
  1. Index
  2. pp. 243-250
  3. restricted access Download |

Additional Information

ISBN
9780820341361
Related ISBN
9780820339757
MARC Record
OCLC
754329202
Pages
272
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.