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Music in Canada

Music in Canada: Capturing Landscape and Diversity

Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 512
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  • Book Info
    Music in Canada
    Book Description:

    Kwakwaka'wakw welcome songs, an aria from Joseph Quesnel's 1808 opera Lucas et Cécile, rubbaboos (a combination of elements from First Peoples, French, and English music), the Tin Pan Alley hits of Shelton Brooks, and the contemporary work of Claude Vivier and Blue Rodeo all dance together in Canada's rich musical heritage. Elaine Keillor offers an unprecedented history of Canadian musical expressions and their relationship to Canada's great cultural and geographic diversity. A survey of "musics" in Canada - the country's multiplicity of musical genres and rich heritage - is complemented by forty-three vignettes highlighting topics such as Inuit throat games, the music of k.d. lang, and orchestras in Victoria. Music in Canada illuminates the past but also looks to the future to examine the context within which Canadian music began and continues to develop. A CD by the author of previously unrecorded Canadian music is included.

    eISBN: 978-0-7735-7476-2
    Subjects: Music

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-2)
    Elaine Keillor
  4. 1 Exploring the Sounds of Canada
    (pp. 3-14)

    More than ever before, it seems, Canadians are concerned with questions of identity, and musical expression – a powerful communication force – can be an important source of information about the Canadian ethos. Ninety percent of human communication is non-linguistic. While music can involve language, it also relays non-textual messages that we respond to on several levels. On a sensory level, performers and listeners take in musical sound through the body and receive kinaesthetic and immediate stimulation of feelings and memories associated with that sound. These responses are influenced to some degree by cultural conditioning, including the geographical spaces in which the...

  5. 2 Traditional Musical Expressions of the First Peoples
    (pp. 15-46)

    By at least 14,000 years ago humans were living throughout the land that today we know as Canada, and by 1400 C.E. there were a number of cultures established across the country. Each of these cultures integrated musical expressions into their daily lives according to their needs and belief systems, which in turn were interdependent on an economic foundation closely tied to climatic and geographical characteristics of the area; it has become customary to group cultures sharing common characteristics together into regions.¹ The following review is subdivided into eight geographical regions, largely determined by language families and traditional economies (see...

  6. 3 Music the French Brought to Canada
    (pp. 47-66)

    By the early 1400s the rich supply of fish off the west coast of the Atlantic had attracted European fishermen, and the goal of finding a trading route to the East spurred further exploration. In 1498, Jean Cabot attempted to found a colony that could serve as a trading station between England and Asia, and further attempts were made by the Bristol Company of Adventurers in 1503 and 1504. Meanwhile, Basque, Portuguese, and French boats had made Newfoundland fish a common commodity in western Europe.

    The accounts of Jacques Cartier give us the first details about music in Canada. Records...

  7. 4 Music the British Brought to Canada
    (pp. 67-91)

    By the early 1700s France controlled an area stretching from Newfoundland to the prairies, north almost to Hudson Bay, and south through the Ohio and Mississippi valleys to Louisiana, with a population of some 70,000 colonists. Britain had more than a million colonists, and skirmishes between the two competing powers had been going on for the past century. An account of the siege of Louisbourg in 1745 includes a brief musical reference: a week before the surrender, the conquering British had “celebrations, with violin, flute, and vocal music, plus a generous allowance of rum, in honour of the birthday of...

  8. 5 Expanding Settlements before Confederation
    (pp. 92-116)

    Major political changes occurred with the arrival of more and more settlers. In 1769, Britain separated Prince Edward Island from Nova Scotia and created provinces of Cape Breton and New Brunswick. The fur trade retained economic importance, but in 1821 intense transcontinental rivalry coupled with a declining demand for furs forced the North West Company, operated by French-speaking bourgeoisie in Montreal, to merge with the Hudson’s Bay Company. In the later 1700s Canada gradually began to export wheat, first to the West Indies and then to Britain and southern Europe. The timber trade, centred in Quebec City, the Ottawa Valley,...

  9. 6 Forging a Nation with Music: 1867–1918
    (pp. 117-143)

    On 1 July 1867 New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Canada united to become the Dominion of Canada, a result of initiatives begun at Charlottetown in September 1864. One of the main forces in forming a nation was to improve economic conditions through massive public expenditure on railways that would link sparsely populated areas and open up rich terrain for agricultural and timber development, and the Intercolonial Railway clause of the Constitution Act played a crucial role in Canada’s development. The “last spike” of the all-Canadian route, built by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company, was driven on 7 November 1885. This...

  10. 7 The Rise of Popular Musics
    (pp. 144-165)

    Prior to 1800 there are passing references in Western musical history to a specific type of music preferred by a large segment of the population but it was only during the nineteenth century that a genre of popular music clearly emerged. Timothy Rice has pointed out that artificial divisions arising in Europe were linked to nationalist strategies of the day (Rice 2000, 2). Nevertheless, the concept of a refined music enjoyed by the cultivated, literate, or monied classes – as opposed to folk music used by the rural peasant class and popular music used by the urban working middle class – had...

  11. 8 Musical Expansion: 1914–1945
    (pp. 166-184)

    The two wars that enclose this period left drastic worldwide political, economic, social and technological alterations in their wake. These years also saw women playing significant roles outside the home and an increase in linguistic tensions that further entrenched anglophone and francophone Canadians as two solitudes. Within Quebec, musicians no longer crossed linguistic borders as readily as before, and although some national bridges were established in the 1950s and 1960s, the Canadian music industry became largely structured as two distinct units, one serving anglophone Canadians and the other serving francophone Quebec. Women who taught music in their homes did not...

  12. 9 From A Rag Time Spasm to I’m Movin’ On
    (pp. 185-205)

    By 1900 New York had become the centre of the entertainment industry in North America. America’s first musical “smash hit”The Black Crook, which opened at Niblo’s Garden in 1866, included more than a hundred chorus girls (who appeared in one scene with black tights and no skirts!) laying the groundwork for lavish spectacle and hit songs. Between 1855 and 1900 theatres on or near Broadway produced eighty-three operettas and seventy-two other musical shows. This vibrant theatre scene encouraged composers to write songs¹ they hoped would be used in musical comedy, vaudeville, or revues, setting the stage for Tin Pan...

  13. 10 Performers and Creators: 1945–1970
    (pp. 206-224)

    Canada contributed much to the defeat of fascism in the Second World War, at great cost, but unlike Europe and other areas in the world, North America was not in ruins. Canada was in an advantageous position with its mining potential, forestry industry, hydro power, uranium deposits, vast reserves of oil and gas plus manufacturing and financial know-how. With a world-wide demand for resources, foreign capital poured into the country along with a postwar wave of immigration mainly from Europe. After the rationing of the war years, Canadians revelled in consumer goods and full employment, bolstered with unemployment insurance, family...

  14. 11 I Know an Old Lady: Modern Folk to Cancon Quotas
    (pp. 225-248)

    The decade of the 1950s saw worldwide changes in popular music. A large teenage population with money to spend bought music that spoke to their needs, and producers quickly found that they were not satisfied with sentimental love songs against a background of dreamy strings. Canadian Gisele Lefleche (b. 1927), a talented pianist, violinist, and singer, played a key role in popularizing the sentimental songs of the early 1950s; as Gisele MacKenzie she first performed with the Bob Shuttelworth Band then as lead singer on the television showYour Hit Parade(1953–7), and later on her own show on...

  15. 12 Refined Music in Canada and Abroad
    (pp. 249-269)

    The final three decades of the twentieth century saw increasingly rapid change, nationally and internationally, as Canadians dealt with issues concerning energy, the environment, free trade, and deficits. Increasing cutbacks had a major impact on funding for cultural and education programs; while the success of Canada Council initiatives had resulted in a wealth of gifted artists, there was insufficient activity in Canada for all to earn a living wage. At the same time, artists from many different fields were developing skills relevant for the electronic age. By 1980, changing conditions had led to a realization that a new examination of...

  16. 13 Closer to the Heart
    (pp. 270-295)

    The last quarter of the twentieth century saw a wide variety of directions in jazz. The establishment of jazz studies at the university level and stage bands in high schools increased jazz opportunities for young people, and CBC jazz broadcasts have played a crucial role in promoting the careers of Canadian musicians. With the establishment of the jazz label Sackville in Toronto in 1968, the approaches of Swing, traditional and avantgarde jazz became more well-known. By 2000, the Justin Time jazz label, founded in 1983, had released more than 200 albums.

    Composers who continued the easy-listening traditions of Lombardo, Farnon,...

  17. 14 Space and Identity
    (pp. 296-320)

    John Beckwith’s is the most obviously Canadian music, not just in its folk material, but also in its roughness. Abrupt transitions, tedious ostinati, broken by sudden shocks. It is like Canadian history and geography. Look at the museums. First one sees a picture of an Indian and his family, then a picture of a logging camp in the bush, then a picture of a Canadian Pacific Railway engine, then a photograph of modern Montreal. There is no connection between these things, or rather, the connections are missing except in your imagination, events seem to pop up abruptly out of nothing....

  18. Appendices
    (pp. 321-360)
  19. Notes
    (pp. 361-418)
  20. References
    (pp. 419-453)
    (pp. 454-455)
    (pp. 455-456)
  23. Index
    (pp. 457-499)