Examining the aftermath of 1917, this section traces the impact of the year’s events on future US musical directions. Recording technology advances made the spread of jazz possible, led to heightened fidelity of sound reproduction in classical music, and eventually altered the entire culture of live performance. Classical music did not disappear, but the advent of jazz presaged the coming dominance of popular music. World War I’s aftermath spawned a culture war between rural and urban Americans, and gains made by African American servicemen encountered a backlash of racial violence and discrimination in the 1920s. The negative stereotypes of the war years hastened German American assimilation. World War II saw different cultural and musical responses, and American classical composers benefited from World War II patriotism in ways their predecessors had not. Finally, the ability of “The Star-Spangled Banner” to unite and divide Americans is an ongoing legacy of World War I.
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