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In Arranging Gershwin, author Ryan Banagale approaches George Gershwin's iconic piece Rhapsody in Blue not as a composition but as an arrangement -- a status it has in many ways held since its inception in 1924, yet one unconsidered until now. Shifting emphasis away from the notion of the Rhapsody as a static work by a single composer, Banagale posits a broad vision of the piece that acknowledges the efforts of a variety of collaborators who shaped the Rhapsody as we know it today. Arranging Gershwin sheds new light on familiar musicians such as Leonard Bernstein and Duke Ellington, introduces lesser-known figures such as Ferde Grofe and Larry Adler, and remaps the terrain of this emblematic piece of American music. At the same time, it expands on existing approaches to the study of arrangements -- an emerging and insightful realm of American music studies -- as well as challenges existing and entrenched definitions of composer and composition.
Based on a host of newly discovered manuscripts, the book significantly alters existing historical and cultural conceptions of the Rhapsody. With additional forays into visual media, including the commercial advertising of United Airlines and Woody Allen's Manhattan, it moreover exemplifies how arrangements have contributed not only to the iconicity of Gershwin and Rhapsody in Blue, but also to music-making in America -- its people, their pursuits, and their processes.
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