“Shooting the Keys”: Musical Horseplay and High Culture

Charles Hiroshi Garrett

in The Oxford Handbook of the New Cultural History of Music

Published in print August 2011 | ISBN: 9780195341867
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

“Shooting the Keys”: Musical Horseplay and High Culture


This article explains how humor acts not only as a kind of psychological comfort or comic relief, but also as an opportunity for cultural critique and a site of competition and interchange between elite and popular culture. The discussion focuses on how musical humorists have connected with different aspects of the world of classical music. It also determines what this connection shows about cultural history and the changing status of classical music in the United States.

Keywords: humor; comic relief; psychological comfort; cultural critique; competition; popular culture; musical humorists; classical music; United States

Article.  9544 words. 

Subjects: Music ; Ethnomusicology

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