George Gershwin

Austin Kobza

George Gershwin's Influence on American Music

Gorge Gershwin was very influential on American culture, as he played a wide variety of genres, not just one. Some of these genres include Opera (Porgey and Bess), Concerto (Rhapsody in Blue), Keyboard, Orchestral (Cuban Overture and An American in Paris), Vocal Music (Summertime) and Musical (Girl Crazy and Lady, Be Good!). Also, he did some pop music, as in Kickin' the Clouds Away. The last influential thing he did was Swanee. It was performed as stage music when a New York theatre just opened. It became popular because of this. George Gershwin's music covered a wide diversity of genres, which helped him to appeal to all types of music lovers, and allowed him to majorly influence American culture.

The Life of George Gershwin

George Gershwin was born on September 26th, 1898 in Brooklyn, New York. He started his musical career at age 11 when his brother Ira was given a secondhand piano. George immediately flourished as a student, and his teacher, Charles Hambitzer even said "I have a new pupil who will make his mark if anybody will. The boy is genius." Gershwin dropped out of school at age 15, and worked as a song plugger. A song plugger is someone who works at a night club, usually pianists, to play their songs before they are officially published. Because of this, he worked as a rehearsal pianist for Broadway singers. This led him to produce his first major song, which premiered in 1916: "When You Want Em', You Can't Get Em'; When You Have Em', You Don't Want Em'. Gershwin was in a lot of major plays before and after Rhapsody in Blue, which premiered in 1925. In 1935, Gershwin started working on one of his most famous plays, Porgey and Bess. However, most of the lyrics that was used in these were written by his older brother Ira. While working on a musical in 1937, he had to go to surgery because of a brain tumor, but he died during surgery to remove it. George Gershwin died on July 11th, 1937. He was only 38 years old.

This is an Excerpt From "Rhapsody in Blue"

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B4DAh29B3WOBa1NoTlN2VzA2OFk&authuser=0

This link goes to a google doc with an excerpt from "Rhapsody in Blue". "Rhapsody in Blue" is possibly Gershwin's most famous peice, as it really put him on the map. If it wasn't for this song, he might not have been as influential as a artist as he is now. Many piano and classical artists began to put in jazz elements into their music thanks to this song. It was a classical peice with a hint of pop, and opened up the floodgates for classical-pop. Also, there is part of the sheet music for the song below.

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People who Influenced Gershwin

George Gershwin was influenced by a lot of music, which led him to have a lot of genres in his music. He was appealed to French styles, and he studied a lot of it. Most of his influences were from this. Some of the major ones were Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy, Alban Berg and Stravinsky.

How George Gershwin and Martha Argerich Are Alike

Someone who I think resembles George Gershwin is Martha Argerich. Gershwin uses different genres, tempos, and tones during his music. Martha Argerich also does this, and the difference of tone and genre is clearly shown between these two of her pieces; Jeux D'eau and Toccato in C Major, Op 11. Jeux D'eau sounds very uplifting and happy. However, Toccato in C Major, Op. 11 is very dark and gloomy, and is a bit saddening. This change is like Rhapsody in Blue and Kickin' the Clouds Away. Yes, they both are very happy and peaceful. However, the tempo is different, as the latter is more pop music, and fast paced. This just shows how these two artists are alike.

A Quick Bio of Martha Argerich

She was born on June 5t, 1941 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. When she was five Martha got a teacher, Vincenzo Scaramuzza, who was very strict. In 1955 her family moved to Switzerland for her to study more. At the age of 16 she won a piano contest, the Geneva International Competition. She was influenced by many artists. The only solo albums she produced were her first two, but the other ones were not, and they were collaborative albums.

Gerswhin vs. Argerich

Here are links with excerpts from songs composed by Gershwin and one from Argerich to compare them.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B4DAh29B3WOBamstOXBVeWhGV0U&authuser=0 - Gershwin, Kickin' Away The Clouds


https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B4DAh29B3WOBN1k1NndBSU42ZWM&authuser=0 -

Argerich, Jeux D'eau