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George GershwinHis Life and Work$
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Howard Pollack

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780520248649

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520248649.001.0001

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Gershwin and the New Popular Music

Gershwin and the New Popular Music

(p.41) Chapter Three Gershwin and the New Popular Music
George Gershwin

Howard Pollack

University of California Press

This chapter claims that many recollections suggest Gershwin's early absorption of British popular music, an inheritance displayed in various scores. Gershwin rarely dwelled on his Jewish-Russian background, but remained interested in the Yiddish theater. Although Jewish Americans clearly contributed significantly to the development of popular music in the early twentieth century, this phenomenon remains subject to widely varying interpretations. In drawing on the nexus of Irving Berlin's popular songs, James Reese Europe's ragtime-jazz, and W. C. Handy's blues, the Castles looked ahead to Gershwin's own career. When Gershwin took a job plugging songs in 1914, he arrived not so much as a trailblazer but as someone eager to join in the excitement.

Keywords:   British popular music, Jewish music, Yiddish theater, Irving Berlin

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