George Gershwin and African American Music

Maurice Peress

in Dvorák to Duke Ellington

Published in print April 2004 | ISBN: 9780195098228
Published online May 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199869817 | DOI:
George Gershwin and African American Music

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This chapter details Gershwin's early contacts with African American music and musicians. His Blue Monday Blues of 1922, a failed attempt at writing an operatic scene about Negro characters, is sung by whites in blackface. The chapter also discusses his thoughts on Jewish artists and African American music. Fifteen years later, Gershwin's masterpiece, a folk opera, Porgy and Bess, comes to Broadway and receives mixed reviews. The orchestration question is resolved at the end of the chapter.

Keywords: Blue Monday Blues; Leonard Bernstein; Porgy and Bess; blackface; Jewish artists; African American music; Broadway

Chapter.  4948 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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