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Frontier FiguresAmerican Music and the Mythology of the American West$
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Beth Levy

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780520267763

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520267763.001.0001

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Communal Song, Cosmopolitan Song

Communal Song, Cosmopolitan Song

(p.317) 12 Communal Song, Cosmopolitan Song
Frontier Figures

Beth E. Levy

University of California Press

This chapter first considers Aaron Copland's political engagement, particularly the geographical settings that agitated his political conscience and the impact which leftism had on his views about folk music. It suggests that Copland's biographical and emotional distance from western Americana opened up space for irony, comedy, and nostalgic displacement in such works as Billy the Kid, Rodeo, and The Red Pony. Copland's own biography supplies supporting evidence for the idea that the imagery of the American West offered a haven for social and sexual aberrance, but also a site where patriarchal visions of social and moral order could be vigorously upheld.

Keywords:   American music, composers, Aaron Copland, folk music, Billy the Kid, Rodeo, Red Pony, American West

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