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About This Book
Identifying music as a vital site of cultural debate, Struggling to Define a Nation captures the dynamic, contested nature of musical life in the United States. In an engaging blend of music analysis and cultural critique, Charles Hiroshi Garrett examines a dazzling array of genres—including art music, jazz, popular song, ragtime, and Hawaiian music—and numerous well-known musicians, such as Charles Ives, Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong, and Irving Berlin. Garrett argues that rather than a single, unified vision, an exploration of the past century reveals a contested array of musical perspectives on the nation, each one advancing a different facet of American identity through sound.