24 Pages

Into the Ivory Tower: Vernacular Music and the American Academy

This paper examines the historical methods and motives for the incorporation of select vernacular music idioms into the American university system. We look at the history of four music genres - choral music, bands, piano music, and jazz - whose cultural status has been debated and manipulated in order to render them acceptable pedagogical topics. Drawing on the extensive literature which accompanied these debates, we show that the value and meaning of vernacular musics have been significant philosophical issues throughout the history of American university education.