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The Cambridge History of American Music
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Book description

The Cambridge History of American Music, first published in 1998, celebrates the richness of America's musical life. It was the first study of music in the United States to be written by a team of scholars. American music is an intricate tapestry of many cultures, and the History reveals this wide array of influences from Native, European, African, Asian, and other sources. The History begins with a survey of the music of Native Americans and then explores the social, historical, and cultural events of musical life in the period until 1900. Other contributors examine the growth and influence of popular musics, including film and stage music, jazz, rock, and immigrant, folk, and regional musics. The volume also includes valuable chapters on twentieth-century art music, including the experimental, serial, and tonal traditions.


‘Unlike European musical history, the terra incognita of American music for non-specialists is the pre-modern era. The first half of The Cambridge History of American Music covers all aspects of this period and is worth the price of the whole.’

Source: The Times Literary Supplement

‘Enjoyable and non-technical, this fine volume has much to offer to all those interested in the highways and byways of the American musical landscape.’

Source: BBC Music Magazine

‘… copes with its subject’s pluralism by employing many authorities, collated under a general editor, David Nicholls, whose approach is as far-sighted as it is intelligent.’

Source: Tempo

‘The generally high quality of the essays as well as the admirable and unexpected liveliness of the book as a whole shows the virtue of Nicholls’s approach.’

Source: Journal of the American Musicological Society

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