Copland's rodeo set work analysis


Background to Western Classical Tradition

  • Since 1910
  • Orchestral music represented overindulgence, opulence and the notion that biggeris most certainly better.
  • Composers started to rebel against the Late Romantic musical style.
  • Number of composers developed new ways of creating music, looking backwards for inspiration, developing mew musical languages and styles that challenged the basis of music itself. 
  • Music became increasingly influenced by other popular and traditional music that surrounded them in every day life.
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About Aaron Copland

  • Born 14 November 1900 in Brooklyn, New York.
  • Copland started to write melodies from the age of 11 and this is when he first began music theory and composition lessons. 
  • He was very interested in western classical music and wanted tto learn about composition in Europe. 
  • He moved to Paris when he was 20 and had composition lessons with Nadia Boulanger whowas a very famous female composer.
  • He attended The American Conservatory Fontaine bleau as one of the students in its first year of opening.
  • Copland returned home and formed the 'League of Composers' in the USA. It was a group of like minded composers who would push forward with a musical style that aimed to bring together western classical style and populist culture.
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About Aaron Copland

  • In 1929, the Great Depression in America begain and after a period of poverty-induced soul searching, Coplanddeduced that his heart was in left-wing politics and the populist movement. Its beliefs spurred on the style of many of his subsequent works.
  • Copland was determined to use his music in a way that would speak to the American people and so undertook to become deliberately influenced by music that was around him everyday. He experimented with these influences.
  • In the twenties, music collectors had made a number of recordings of American folk tunes and Copland used some of these folk tunes in his music.
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Background to the study pieces.

  • The two study pieces are from a larger piece composed by Copland, a ballet that received its first performance in 1942. The ballet uses typical American social scenes to play out the story of a cowgirl who is a tomboy and finds it difficult to find love.
  • Saturday Night Waltz is a movement from the ballet and so is Hoedown. These are the set pieces for this set work.
  • Copland has used a number of American folk tunes within Rodeo and some of these feature within our set works e.g. Bonaparte's retreat and Miss McLeod's Reel.
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