Conclusion: <i>On the Trail</i>

Beth E. Levy

in Frontier Figures

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780520267763
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520952027 | DOI:
Conclusion: On the Trail

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This chapter discusses the most famous orchestral evocation of the West, “On the Trail.” This central movement of Ferde Grofé's Grand Canyon Suite, premiered by Paul Whiteman in 1931, has for generations represented the quintessential western soundtrack. In typical occidental fashion, its popularity springs from at least three sources: the colorful and pictorial surface of the score, the “real-life” connotations of its ersatz cowboy song; and the influence of new media and clever marketing. Over the course of two decades, “On the Trail.” reached millions of radio listeners courtesy of the Philip Morris Company's tobacco advertisements. More than any other portion of Grofé's suite, “On the Trail” celebrates the human presence in the West.

Keywords: American West; music; Ferde Grofé; Grand Canyon Suite

Chapter.  1963 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: American Music

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