David Guion's vision for a musical Americana

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Title: David Guion's vision for a musical Americana
Author: Camann, Mark David
Abstract: American composer David Guion (1892 -1981 ) created and expressed in much of his music a unique and unmistakably American voice . Though he is remembered today mostly for piano pieces , especially Turkey in the Straw and Arkansas Traveler , he was famous for championing cowboy songs , African -American spirituals and folk songs as the truly authentic representations of the American experience . He also wrote many original works , including a substantial number of songs in Black dialect . In 1930 Guion starred in a cowboy show at the Roxy Theatre in New York , drawing upon his western -themed music . The next year he had a weekly radio show , broadcast around the country and featuring his music exclusively , with the title Hearing America with Guion . He played a substantial role in transforming Home on the Range into the best -known of all cowboy songs . His magnum opus , the ballet Shingandi , was highly regarded but has yet to be recorded . This dissertation examines those genres among Guion’s compositions that reveal his vision for a musical Americana . Much of his music is based on songs that circulated first in oral tradition before he adapted them for the concert stage . This dissertation surveys the breadth of the oral tradition of these songs , identifies his direct sources , and examines his treatment of melody , rhythm and harmony as he infused his music with such characteristic national flavor that his audiences were , in effect , “Hearing America .” A complete list of Guion compositions is attempted , and to the extent possible , probable dates of composition are established from recital programs and publication agreements . The scripts of his radio shows are reconstructed from papers in his archives and presented here .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /ETD -UT -2010 -12 -2349
Date: 2011-01-27


David Guion's vision for a musical Americana. Doctoral dissertation, University of Texas at Austin. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /ETD -UT -2010 -12 -2349 .

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