Lecture 30

Copland and the American Scene;          Gershwin and Jazz elements

Jazz has contributed an enduring value to America                                                           in the sense that it has expressed ourselves.                                                                   —George Gershwin


Copland; the American sound; jazz-influenced concert music

in this lecture, we discuss Aaron Copland; 

next, we look at concert music by George Gershwin; 

finally, the music of William Grant Still.

Topics covered:

  • Aaron Copland : Appalachian Spring
  • George Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue
  • William Grant Still: “Afro-American” Symphony


  • hear and distinguish the "American" sound
  • hear the influence of jazz on American concert music 


  • watch lecture 30 (in multiple parts for quicker download)
  • review previous chapters, as necessary
  • read textbook, Chapter 28
  • As you are reading your textbook, go through the Listening Exercises in textbook sequence, listening to the examples provided.
  • regarding developing listening skills: you should be in the habit of developing your listening skills early in the game - the assignments will get more complex through the semester and you may find yourself unable to keep up. As simple as these early assignments may seem to some of you, they will help to keep you on the right track, and help you develop the skills required for a greater appreciation in listening to music, including the music that you listen to for your own enjoyment. Of course, those objectives are in total sync with the success you hope to have in this class. Remember that your ability to recognize the music on your CDs will be tested and will, of course, impact your grade. 

Audio / Video lecture

  • click lecture segments below in sequence
  • presented in several segments to reduce download time
  • total lecture time: approx. one hour 15 minutes (all segments included)
  • can be downloaded for portable media players by right clicking each segment link and choosing save option. (note: older Macs and Mac notebooks with single-button mice: control-click) 

Lecture 30.1

Aaron Copland

Lecture 30.2 
Appalachian Spring
Lecture 30.3 
30.3 Elements of Jazz in Concert Music, part 1
Lecture 30.4 
Elements of Jazz in Concert Music, part 2