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Revealing MasksExotic Influences and Ritualized Performance in Modernist Music Theater$
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W. Anthony Sheppard

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780520223028

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520223028.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 17 October 2021

Orientalists and a Crusader

Orientalists and a Crusader

(p.169) 11 Orientalists and a Crusader
Revealing Masks

W. Anthony Sheppard

University of California Press

The idea that the world contained undiscovered “musical resources” waiting to be exploited by the composer through encounters with the exotic was central to much twentieth-century American music. These resources included new scales, orchestral colors, and forms of music theater. The “excavation” by American composers of Asian music and, later, of African music has taken multiple forms. For some composers, experience with exotic cultures provided an entirely new conception of music; others attempted to immerse themselves in a detailed study of a particular musical culture and to create works within that tradition. The earliest symptoms of an Orientalist contagion in American music occurred at the level of melodic borrowing. Charles T. Griffes (1884–1920) and Emerson Whithorne (1884–1958), contemporaries and friends, employed Chinese, Japanese, and Javanese melodies (acquired through printed transcriptions) in their compositions of the 1910s and '20s, respectively. While Whithorne studied Asian music in the British Museum, Griffes encountered the exotic nearer to Whitman's Broadway. Of the first wave of American Orientalists, Griffes was the most successful.

Keywords:   American Orientalists, exotic cultures, musical resources, American composers, Charles T. Griffes, Emerson Whithorne, Asian music

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