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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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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: 25 September 2021

Conclusion: On the Trail

Conclusion: On the Trail

(p.369) Conclusion: On the Trail
Frontier Figures

Beth E. Levy

University of California Press

This chapter discusses the most famous orchestral evocation of the West, “On the Trail.” This central movement of Ferde Grofé's Grand Canyon Suite, premiered by Paul Whiteman in 1931, has for generations represented the quintessential western soundtrack. In typical occidental fashion, its popularity springs from at least three sources: the colorful and pictorial surface of the score, the “real-life” connotations of its ersatz cowboy song; and the influence of new media and clever marketing. Over the course of two decades, “On the Trail.” reached millions of radio listeners courtesy of the Philip Morris Company's tobacco advertisements. More than any other portion of Grofé's suite, “On the Trail” celebrates the human presence in the West.

Keywords:   American West, music, Ferde Grofé, Grand Canyon Suite

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