George gershwin and the Roaring 1920s

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  • and the Roaring 1920s

I- Historical Context

  • The Roaring Twenties: 10 years of prosperity after WWI (1914-1918)

  • From a war to a peace economy: selling weapons lending money to Europe and Germany to rebuild.

  • Mass production

  • Wish to make the most of one’s life

  • Gershwin and music: Need of happiness after four years of war and a lot of people killed.

II- Technological changes

  • Radio, Film = a medium for the masses a society of leisure

  • Change in communication: Automobile industry (Ford), Road construction, Electrification, Telephone

  • An urban society Urbanization

  • Advertisement, mass production  the birth of consumer society

  • Gershwin: Use of modernity in his work Broadway musicals / films

III- The Dance Age

  • Society of leisure, pleasure, happiness, extravagance

  • Dance halls and live music

  • Fox-trot, Charleston, tango, tap dance.

  • « Immoral and provocative » dances  freedom of expression

  • Gershwin’s music: Musicals,

  • Love stories, happiness.

IV- The Jazz Age

  • Radios made jazz popular

  • Live music in famous nightclubs (Cotton Club)

  • From Black music (Armstrong, Bechett, Fitzgerald) to everybody’s music.

  • Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess

  • « Jazz I regard as an American folk music »

  • G. Gershwin, 1927

V- The emancipation of women

  • 19th Amendment to the Constitution: Women have the right to vote.

  • National Women’s Party

  • Fashion and the « flapper »: short bobbed haircut, short dresses, legs and arms exposed, smoked cigarettes, high-heel shoes, make-up.

  • Towards equality men/women cf Louise Brooks

VI- Prohibition

  • 18th Amendment to the Constitution

  • Religious and national attempt to come back to a « moral » society

  • Repression

  • Smuggling, crime and gangsters (cf Al Capone)

  • Prohibition repealed in 1933

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