DSpace Repository

Composing the &quot Land of Sewing Machines and Typewriters&quot : American Modernist Music and the Piano in the Machine Age 1918-1933

Show simple item record

dc.contributor.advisor Lochhead, Judith en_US
dc.contributor.author Fena, Christine en_US
dc.contributor.other Department of Music en_US
dc.date.accessioned 2013-05-24T16:38:20Z
dc.date.accessioned 2015-04-24T14:45:06Z
dc.date.available 2013-05-24T16:38:20Z
dc.date.available 2015-04-24T14:45:06Z
dc.date.issued 2011-12-01
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1951/60275 en_US
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11401/70915 en_US
dc.description 302 pg. en_US
dc.description.abstract Throughout the 1910s and 1920s, when much of the world's gaze was fixated on the innovative technologies and striking urban environments of the United States, a &quot machine-age&quot aesthetic became significant in the struggle for American composers to compete with Europe's domination over &quot cultivated&quot music. By mixing machine themes with music, composers like George Antheil challenged conventions, sparked debates, and questioned boundaries such as those between the past and the future of music, European and American culture, human performers and &quot mechanical&quot instruments, and the esteemed space of the concert hall and the &quot noise&quot of industry and the metropolis. Entangled in many of these debates, which surfaced throughout popular, academic, and avant-garde discourses, were questions about the evolving roles of pianos and automatic pianos both in the concert hall and at home. The percussive and mechanistic aspects of the piano, the surge of innovations in automatic piano technologies, and the production, marketing, and design of the instruments all made the piano an ideal vehicle for both creating and / or embodying machine-inflected music and imagery. From the wide range of experimentation with its form, function, technique, and identity, the piano became a locus for some of the era's most fervent social and cultural debates regarding the mechanization, urbanization, and &quot Americanization&quot of art and society. This dissertation examines the importance of the machine aesthetic, and especially the &quot piano as machine&quot idea, in the construction of an American brand of modernist music throughout the 1920s. Rhetoric surrounding both American avant-garde works and evolving piano technologies often mirrored the anxiety and elation that arose from the increasingly ubiquitous encounter between humans and machines. Just as automatic pianos were cast as either &quot soulless machines&quot or the beginning of a utopian future, so were the tone clusters of Henry Cowell, for example, described in reviews as either shards of mechanistic noise and monotony or pieces of futuristic brilliance. Critics paid particular attention to how effective American composers were at &quot expressing America,&quot with its fast-paced cities and modern technologies. The successes and failures of both the piano industry and machine-inflected American modernist music were directed by the larger social adjustment to a quickly changing world. By the early 1930s, both the machine aesthetic and the automatic piano went out of vogue, but they remain important vehicles for understanding the experimentation, achievement, and disillusionment of the American modernist music scene in the 1920s, and represent the conflicts and contradictions of a time of abrupt transitions. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship This work is sponsored by the Stony Brook University Graduate School in compliance with the requirements for completion of degree. en_US
dc.format Monograph en_US
dc.format.medium Electronic Resource en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher The Graduate School, Stony Brook University: Stony Brook, NY. en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Music à American history en_US
dc.subject.lcsh Music Ð American history en_US
dc.subject.other American Music, George Antheil, Henry Cowell, Machine Age, Modernism, Player piano en_US
dc.title Composing the &quot Land of Sewing Machines and Typewriters&quot : American Modernist Music and the Piano in the Machine Age 1918-1933 en_US
dc.type Dissertation en_US
dc.mimetype Application/PDF en_US
dc.embargo.release Not applicable en_US
dc.embargo.period Permanent en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Auner, Joseph en_US
dc.contributor.committeemember Sugarman, Jane Cook, Susan en_US

Files in this item

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show simple item record

Search DSpace

Advanced Search


My Account