Chapter

Gershwin and the New Popular Music

Howard Pollack

in George Gershwin

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2007 | ISBN: 9780520248649
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520933149 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520248649.003.0003
Gershwin and the New Popular Music

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This chapter claims that many recollections suggest Gershwin's early absorption of British popular music, an inheritance displayed in various scores. Gershwin rarely dwelled on his Jewish-Russian background, but remained interested in the Yiddish theater. Although Jewish Americans clearly contributed significantly to the development of popular music in the early twentieth century, this phenomenon remains subject to widely varying interpretations. In drawing on the nexus of Irving Berlin's popular songs, James Reese Europe's ragtime-jazz, and W. C. Handy's blues, the Castles looked ahead to Gershwin's own career. When Gershwin took a job plugging songs in 1914, he arrived not so much as a trailblazer but as someone eager to join in the excitement.

Keywords: British popular music; Jewish music; Yiddish theater; Irving Berlin

Chapter.  8163 words. 

Subjects: American Music

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