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Mavericks and Other Traditions in American Music$
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Michael Broyles

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780300100457

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300100457.001.0001

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We, the Rebels

We, the Rebels

(p.1) Chapter 1 We, the Rebels
Mavericks and Other Traditions in American Music

Broyles Michael

Yale University Press

This book focuses on America's maverick composers, those who lived unusual lives or flaunted norms and wrote works that were considered incomprehensible and even unplayable. It examines the role of the maverick in American music and culture. It looks at a number of mavericks, most of whom are composers of art music, including William Billings, John Cage, Anthony Philip Heinrich, Frank Zappa, Charles Ives, Leo Ornstein, La Monte Young, Steve Reich, Carl Ruggles, Henry Cowell, Harry Partch, and Meredith Monk. The book shows that the maverick tradition lies at the center of the myth about rugged individualism. In tracing the history of the maverick tradition, the book considers the role of nature, both physically and metaphorically, in opposition to notions of science and progress. Moreover, it discusses the forces both in the musical community and in American culture that account for the rise of the maverick. It considers the fundamental question raised by the maverick tradition—communalism versus individualism—and looks at the important themes of Puritanism, nature, and democracy found in the work of both Billings and Heinrich.

Keywords:   mavericks, American music, maverick composers, William Billings, Anthony Philip Heinrich, Frank Zappa, Charles Ives, Puritanism, democracy, individualism

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