Minstrelsy, Ragtime, 'Improvisatory Music' and Percy Grainger's 'Unwritten Music'

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Writings on Percy Grainger and his music occasionally refer to his interactions with African-American related popular musics, such as his early 1930s academic encounter with Duke Ellington, his blackface minstrel song-inspired Tribute to Foster or his African-American minstrelsy-inspired piano solo, In Dahomey: ‘Cakewalk Smasher’ (henceforth referred to as Cakewalk Smasher to differentiate it from the ‘Negro musical’ In Dahomey that inspired it). The latter work is gaining increasing attention as a rediscovered ragtime artefact, a technical challenge for pianists, an early experiment in open scoring and also as an addition to a body of works by a cohort of early twentieth-century modernist composers, such as Debussy and Stravinsky, who employed abstract representations of AfricanAmerican-inflected musical elements in their works.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGrainger the Modernist
EditorsSuzanne Robinson, Kay Dreyfus
Place of PublicationSurrey UK
PublisherAshgate Publishing Limited
Number of pages23
ISBN (Print)9781472420220
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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