Aaron Copland is known as a father of American “classical” music.
Before Copland, much of the “classical” music presented in the U.S.
was composed in Europe.
Watch a YouTube video of the original production of the ballet
Appalachian Spring, with music composed by Aaron Copland and
choreography (and dancing) by Martha Graham. This is presented in
four parts (each part is between 7 and 9 minutes):
Part I: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmgaKGSxQVw
Part II: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTdyDOWtE2Q
Part III: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=91y-NEdTj-g
Part IV: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KIn6xHbSZg
Without relying on any outside resources, discuss how the music
sounds “American.” You can also discuss how the music,
choreography, costumes, staging, etc., as a whole, contribute to the
“American” presentation. Some points to ponder in your discussion:
• Musical themes
o Do all the themes sound newly composed? If not, do they
sound familiar? If so, what style of music might the
o Describe what makes the music sound “American.”
o Is the tonality primarily major or minor? What sort of
implications might the tonality have on the American
o Does the rhythm impact how “American” the music
o What is the story about?
o What do the costumes and staging have to do with the
o What, if any, American themes are reflected in the