Cover image for The Gershwin style : new looks at the music of George Gershwin
The Gershwin style : new looks at the music of George Gershwin
Schneider, Wayne Joseph, 1950-
Publication Information:
New York : Oxford University Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
xiv, 290 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML410.G288 G49 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Even as orchestras, performers, enthusiasts, and critics across the nation--and across the globe--celebrate the one-hundredth anniversary of his birth, George Gershwin (1898-1937) remains one of America's most popular yet least appreciated composers. True, he is loved and revered for hiswonderful popular songs, a few instrumental works, and the majestic opera Porgy and Bess. But most of his music is virtually unknown; hundreds of compositions, Broadway show tunes, and even several large and important instrumental works are gradually disappearing with the generations that firstheard them. The Gershwin Style: New Looks at the Music of George Gershwin is a bold new work that stands in opposition to this disappearance. It is also a fresh collection of essays that promises to make a key contribution to American music research. Editor Wayne Schneider has corralled some of the leadingauthorities of Gershwin's efforts--renowned experts and authors who have researched his music for years if not decades--and sets their work alongside articles by scholars who come to Gershwin for the first time from backgrounds in American music or popular music in general. The notable contributorsinclude Wayne D. Shirley, Charles Hamm, Edward Jablonski, and Artis Wodehouse (who has transcribed nearly all of Gershwin's piano performances). No one who surveys the American musical landscape can doubt Gershwin's enduring popularity or profound influence, but his critical standing among today's serious music scholars is much less certain. As Schneider points out in his Introduction, there have been many biographies of Gershwin butcomparatively few studies of his music in and of itself. Covering both the "popular" and "classical" extremes of Gershwin's output, as well as the many and subtle points in between, this book reevaluates the music of an American original from several enlightening perspectives. This is a book withmuch to offer any student or scholar of American music--while some essays explore new methods of measuring Gershwin's abilities as a composer, others draw on hitherto unavailable musical and archival sources to make arguments previously unthinkable. The essays gathered here, most of which werewritten especially for this volume, thus address a number of important research topics, among them biography, source studies, music analysis, performance practice, and questions of interpretation and reception. The contributions also reflect the wide diversity of contemporary thinking regarding thelogic, legacy, and lure of Gershwin's music.

Author Notes

Wayne Schneider is Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Vermont.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Schneider (music, Univ. of Vermont) has compiled an eclectic mix of essays on the music of American composer George Gershwin that admirably completes Steven Gilbert's Music of Gershwin (LJ 12/95), one of the few recent monographs to focus on Gershwin's compositional style rather than his life. Contributors include Gershwin biographer Edward Jablonski, popular music culture scholar Charles Hamm, and Gilbert himself. Whereas Gilbert in his earlier volume applied an analytical approach to the entire Gershwin oeuvre, the writers in Schneider's book treat specific works and also delve into more diverse topics, such as Gershwin's influence on later pop/rock music, the making of the film Rhapsody in Blue, and the development of the piano roll industry. The discourse is elevated throughout but not inaccessible for those with the requisite musical background. Recommended for academic and larger public music collections.¬ĎBarry Zaslow, Miami Univ. Libs., Oxford, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Schneider (Univ. of Vermont) assembles here 11 papers, eight of them concentrating on Gershwin's music and how it relates to classical and popular music and to jazz. The editor provides little biographical information, instead offering analysis and critical reception of Gershwin's music. Although the collection gives some attention to formal orchestral works (Rhapsody in Blue, American in Paris, Concerto in F), the essays concentrate on Gershwin's works for the stage and screen: one essay details use of Gershwin music in his movie biography, Rhapsody in Blue; another analyzes overtures to his musicals; two discuss his songs; two treat Porgy and Bess and Blue Monday. Two additional papers describe the piano-roll recordings Gershwin made and give a detailed "rollography." The final, unnecessary, paper tells of Ira Gershwin's career. Schneider provides no information about the contributors (except that they are "from a wide variety of backgrounds and . . . each is a Gershwin fan"). Some of the technical papers, with musical examples, will be best appreciated by a musician. Excellent notes with each paper serve as the bibliography. A useful addition to comprehensive music and performing-arts collections. R. D. Johnson; SUNY College at Oneonta

Table of Contents

Introduction: The Gershwin StyleWayne Schneider
Part 1 Analysis and Manuscript Studies
Toward a New Reading of GershwinCharles Hamm
Rotating Porgy and BessWayne D. Shirley
Gershwin's Operetta Overtures: Medley or Composition?Wayne Schneider
Nice Work: Thoughts and Observations on Gershwin's Last SongsStephen E Gilbert
Some Musing's on 'Nice Gershwin Tunes': Form, and Harmony in the Concert Music of George GershwinLarry Starr
Part 2 Reception
Rhapsody in Blue: A Study in Hollywood HagiographyCharlotte Greenspan
Gershwin on the Cover of Rolling StoneSusan Richardson
George Gershwin and JazzAndre Barbera
Part 3 Performance Practice
Tracing Gershwin's Piano RollsArtis Wodehouse
George Gershwin's Piano RollographyMichael Montgomery
What About Ira?Edward Jablonski