North America

North America in the 18th and 19th centuries
At the beginning of the 18th century, the North American continent included not only Spanish and French mandate areas but also 13 English colonies. The colonial area stretched from New Hampshire in the north to Georgia in the south. There was considerable tension between the colonial powers Great Britain and France. They ended in a war that is closely related to the Seven Years War in Europe from 1756-1763. The reason for the fight on American soil was the spread of British traders and settlers across the Appalachians into the Ohio valley claimed by France in 1754. This led to armed conflicts between the British, French and Indians (“French and Indian War”). Between 1758 and 1760 the British conquered the most important French positions and on September 13, 1759 they were victorious in the battle of the Plains of Abraham near Québec (Canada). After Spain entered the war in 1761, the British occupied Cuba and the Philippines. In the Peace Agreement of Paris (“Paris Peace”) in 1763, France accepted the loss of its possessions in North America with the exception of the islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon and some islands in the Lesser Antilles. Great Britain expanded its leading role as a colonial power as a result of the war.) 1763 the loss of his possessions in North America with the exception of the islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon and some islands of the Lesser Antilles. Great Britain expanded its leading role as a colonial power as a result of the war.) 1763 the loss of his possessions in North America with the exception of the islands of Saint-Pierre and Miquelon and some islands of the Lesser Antilles. Great Britain expanded its leading role as a colonial power as a result of the war.

In the years that followed, relations between motherland Great Britain and its colonies in North America deteriorated. The British government stationed stronger troops on American soil and introduced new tax laws (“Stamp Act” of 1765). The colonists saw this as a conspiracy against their freedoms and constitutional rights and responded with a boycott. There were sometimes violent clashes that led to the War of Independence from 1775 – 1783. On July 2, 1776, the American Congress passed the constitutional separation of the 13 colonies from the British Crown. The declaration of independence followed on July 4, 1776. The initially rather weak American military forces were supported by France from 1778 and were finally able to prevail. According to Countryaah, North America gained recognition of its independence in the Peace of Paris in 1783. The new constitutions of the states that emerged from the colonies were republican and were based on the principles of popular sovereignty, the separation of powers, frequent changes of offices and the influence of citizens. In 1777 the states united to form a loose confederation (United States). In 1787 a new constitution was drawn up at the Philadelphia Convention. In 1789, George Washington was elected the first President of the United States.

The following decades were marked by an economic upswing. In the first half of the 19th century in particular, the country expanded its borders to the south, southwest and west. In 1819 Florida, which until then had been under Spanish sovereignty, was accepted into the confederation. With the expansion, which led to strong settlement movements within the country, the violent expulsion of the Indians from the area east of the Mississippi was connected. The traffic routes have been expanded to enable internal migration. From 1830 the construction of a rail network for the railroad began. Agriculture expanded in the southern states. In particular, cotton cultivation (“King Cotton” 1855) was expanded and with it the system of slavery.

Tensions rose between the north and south of the country, particularly over the issue of slavery. In 1854 the Republican Party was founded, which, under the leadership of Abraham Lincoln, opposed the further spread of slavery.

When Lincoln was elected president in 1860, eleven southern states decided to leave the Union. The remaining states, citing the indissolubility of the federal constitution, disputed the right to such an exit. In 1861 the southern states attacked Fort Sumter in Charleston, triggering the American Civil War. This ended in 1865 with the surrender of the southern states, unity was restored and slavery was abolished. However, an increasingly violent racism developed against the black population, in the course of which the Ku Klux Klan emerged.

At the end of the 19th century, the development of the continental settlement area of ​​the USA was completed. With the extermination of the large bison herds by the railway construction, the livelihood of the Plains Indians was destroyed. They were forced into reservations west of the Mississippi. The natives won their last great battle at Little Bighorn in 1876. In 1886 and 1890, with the Apaches under Chief Geronimo and the Sioux, the last tribes submitted to the former colonists.

The country’s industrialization and urbanization progressed. While 28% of Americans lived in cities in 1880, by 1900 it was 40%. The importance of agriculture declined. In terms of foreign policy, the USA increasingly strived for the status of a world power. The Spanish-American War in 1898, in which the USA secured supremacy in the Caribbean, but also the mediation of the Russo-Japanese peace of 1905 initiated by Franklin Roosevelt are examples of this.

Music in North America

The European emigrants who applied to North America encountered a native culture of the indigenous indigenous people that differed greatly from their own. The music of the Indians was mainly vocal and unanimous with accompaniment of drums. The knowledge about it is based on the research conducted by American music ethnologists, beginning from about 1900, on the waste of repertoires that remained in oral tradition in the heavily decimated tribes. Watch Native American music and dance.

In the religious practice of immigrant communities, a singing tradition was developed in which melodies and lyrics were taught on hearing by a singer. The hymns were sung very slowly and embroidered with melisms and teasing. The repertoire is known from one of the first books published in North America, “Bay Psalm Book” (1640; tunes were first included in the edition 1698). In the 18th century, special singing schools were created to improve the singing in the churches. The song teacher William Billings edition of multi-part hymns (1770) is the first music by a composer born in North America. From about 1750, European touring companies introduced ballad operasand other operas. Furthermore, musicians schooled in Europe were driving the emergence of a public concert system with a repertoire of European art music in cities such as Charleston, Boston, Philadelphia and New York. In contrast, the music industry in the settler communities further west was strongly influenced by the popular music traditions that various immigrant groups brought with them. In ethnically homogeneous areas, these traditions lived well into the 20th century.

More often, however, the traditions were mixed, and new music styles and genres emerged. The cross-fertilization of traditions that in the long term came to mean the most to the development of a unique American music culture is the meeting between the African music of the black slave population and the white American Euro-American tradition. The cultural fusion is particularly evident in the emergence of two new genres during the 19th century: spirituals and minstrel shows. Arranged driving versions of negro spirituals became known outside the United States from the late 19th century, including through Fisk Jubilee Singer’s extensive tours. Stephen Fosterachieved great success with songs that tied to the minstrel tradition. An American driving tradition was formed through driving societies in cities mainly on the East Coast. Significant of the musical general education also became the driving activity that several of the religious communities built up. Other music traditions that emerged during the 19th century are music for bands. Already in the 1880’s, there were 10,000’s of blowing ensembles in cities and smaller communities throughout the United States. JP Sousa is an important representative of this musical subculture, which had a dominant role until the 1920’s, when new media radically changed the conditions for music.

In the field of art music, the development during the 19th century meant that professional orchestras were formed in the larger cities. For a long time most musicians were educated in Europe, but with the establishment of indigenous music schools from the 1820’s, the foundation of their own art music tradition was laid. Among the first more significant American composers are LM Gottschalk, JK Paine (1839-1906), Edward MacDowell and Charles Ives. With his free and experimental attitude, Ives inspired the avant-garde developed in the 1930’s by composers such as Edgar Varèse, Henry Cowell, John Cage, Steve Reich and Philip Glass.and which strongly influenced European avant-gardeism from the 1960’s. Other major American composers such as Aaron Copland, George Gershwin, Samuel Barber and Leonard Bernstein focused more on reaching a wide audience. The same endeavor is found in composers such as John Corigliano, David Del Tredici (born 1937) and John Adams while Elliott Carter, Milton Babbitt, George Crumb and Morton Subotnick (mainly electro-acoustic music) chose to turn to a narrower listening group.

In the 1930’s, many prominent European composers came to the United States because of political developments. For Arnold Schönberg, Igor Stravinsky and Béla Bartók, the settlement became permanent, while e.g. Paul Hindemith, Darius Milhaud and Hanns Eisler chose to return to Europe after 1945.

The leading US symphony orchestras are in New York, Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Cleveland. Significant opera scenes can be found in New York (Metropolitan) and San Francisco. Many universities have performing ensembles (choirs and instrumental groups) that nurture and further develop the art music tradition.

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