What makes American music American?
Leonard Bernstein gives his answer to the question, in introducing a performance of Aaron Copeland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” (conducted by Copeland himself, no less) in 1958. In short, he says it’s the nation’s “many-sidedness,” “all the races and personalities from all over the globe that make up our country.”
When we think of that, we can understand why our own folk music is so complicated. We’ve taken it all in … and learned it from one another. Borrowed it, stolen it, cooked it all up in a melting pot….
His full introduction and articulation of this goes on for a couple of minutes, and is worth checking out.