Going off the rails: exploring the impact of the railroad on the development of musical culture in Kansas City, Missouri (1869-1905)
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Kansas City, Missouri, is a musical oasis in the United States. In addition to being considered one of the four original jazz centers, local audiences also enthusiastically welcome art music and experimental music of all kinds. This deep appreciation for music and the arts can be traced to the development of the railroad in Kansas City and how it connected the city to the artistic lifeblood of the country. This thesis explores the existing research about the establishment of Kansas City as a railroad hub and the subsequent cultural blossoming experienced in the city at the turn of the century. This thesis project makes a connection between the railroad and the growth of music culture. The development of various aspects of music in Kansas City including, band, orchestra, opera, theater, vaudeville, music education, and music publications which the research in this thesis indicates is traced back to the societal impacts the railroad had on the frontier town in the last three decades of the nineteenth century. Next, this thesis project provides commentary on the function of demographics, including a brief consideration of gender, in the musical culture of Kansas City—specifically the way women defined culture and programming. Finally, this project summarizes and contextualizes the trends, habits, and preferences that make up the music culture in the city within the musical expectations and culture specific to the United States. The establishment of the railroad in Kansas City connected the city to the musical trends of the United States; because of this artistic connection, Kansas City developed into a musical microcosm of the United States’ musical narrative.
Table of Contents
Introduction -- The railroad connection -- Musical growth -- Conclusion
M.M. (Master of Musicology)