Why did American songs have compositional faults and still emulate the American spirit?

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cvb2447 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The European people who came to the "new world" had many cultural traditions to draw from for their arts and music. But gradually, American settlers lost touch with these models and developed their own forms of art, usually for entertainment, relaxation and to make a record of their existence.

American music and art, from early banjo playing to limning, seemed awkward and inferior to the Europeans but it was a reflection of the basic nature of life in a whole new civilization. Any compositional faults would be judged so according to European standards then or our standards today.

Early American choral music is very difficult to listen to for our ears today. But the early settlers in this country usually had no training and no schools to enter for learning. The American Spirit was to just try to make music for fun or paint a portrait as a record for a family. There were few instruments or art materials available unless imported from Europe.