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Federal Music Project, Federal One, Works Progress Administration, New Deal, Depression, Classical Music, New Music, American Music, Composers' Forum-Laboratory, Populism, Music Education, Ethnomusicology


After World War I, America was musically transformed from an outsider in the European classical tradition into a country of musical vibrance and maturity. These great advances, however, were deeply threatened by the Wall Street crash of 1929 and the consequent Great Depression. The nation that, for the first time, was developing an international reputation in the arts now faced a crisis of how to support them. Government sponsorship of the arts through the New Deal Federal One projects allowed struggling artists to survive economically during this era. In the realm of music, however, the Federal Music Project (FMP) had consequences that reached far beyond economics and into the realms of politics and culture. This article surveys the important impact of the Federal Music Project on American music in both the East and the West by using statistics, examples, and stories, specifically with regards to new music, populism, American nationalism, minority involvement, and ethnomusicology.





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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.


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