ASPECTS OF AMERICAN MUSICAL LIFE AS REFLECTED IN THE NEW MUSIC REVIEW AND CHURCH MUSIC REVIEW, 1901-1935
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The early twentieth century was a time of growth and important change in American musical life. However, many aspects of our national musical culture during this period remain largely unexplored. Among these is The New Music Review and Church Music Review (NMR) which from 1901 to 1935 offered a detailed chronicle of American musical life in some 404 issues and in over 16,000 pages. During its thirty-year publication run, the NMR was one of the most important music journals published in the United States and one that enjoyed "a high reputation for its able editorials and the excellence of its contributed articles."
This dissertation examines the central and, in the main, previously unexplored topics treated in the journal's feature articles including attempts to define an American musical identity, the promotion of American music and composers, and the history and development of the organ and its music in the United States -- i.e., efforts to standardize the organ console, the controversy over unification of organ pipes, transcriptions, service playing, programs, and accompaniment for motion pictures and choirs. The journal also treats the history and accomplishments of the American Guild of Organists, problems relating to early twentieth-century American sacred music, the purposes of church music, musical reforms in the Episcopal and Roman Catholic Churches, the education of the clergy, congregation, choirmaster and organists in their responsibilities for the implementation of sacred music, and the selection of church repertory, especially hymns and anthems.
There are four appendices: the first summarizes the NMR's articles on choral music, the second summarizes the NMR's articles on music education, the third lists the NMR's biographical sketches, and the fourth provides a descriptive list of the journal's contributors.