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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, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 14 October 2019

Encountering Indians

Encountering Indians

(p.87) 3 Encountering Indians
Frontier Figures

Beth E. Levy

University of California Press

This chapter focuses on the music of Charles Wakefield Cadman, who was Farwell's contemporary and by far the most popular Indianist of his generation. Cadman's frontier music dramas operated with a ready-made cast of characters meant to evoke real people and places, but they also relied on centuries of operatic practice that placed more importance on the suspension of disbelief than on the pretense of realism. In fact, Cadman's works illustrate very powerfully the tensions at the heart of so many American westerns: between “tall tales” and “true-to-life” stories, between the desire for dramatic effect and the impulse toward verisimilitude. If Farwell offered up a visionary West—philosophical and introverted to the point of idiosyncrasy—Cadman represents an extroverted West, pragmatic in its aims and material in its rewards.

Keywords:   Charles Wakefield Cadman, American music, Indianist, frontier music dramas, American West, composers

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