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Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences


As enumerated in Allen and Dawe’s Current Directions in Eco-musicology, the field of eco-musicology explores relationships between land, culture, and music in all the complexities of those terms. The following study considers similarities between how land and music functioned similarly in defining the flexible culture of Depression era North and Latin Americas. Four popular compositions of the era — Chávez’s Sinfonía india (1935), Copland’s Appalachian Spring (1944), Grofé’s Grand Canyon Suite (1931), and Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasilieras (1930-8) — are compared to the management of land and preservation and conservation of nature. The case studies demonstrate that nature, land, and music became easier for the general population to access. This access encouraged redefinition of national identities based in commonalities of shared heritage: the land, and the songs of those who inhabited it. These correlations illuminate culture both of the Depression era Americas, and of our current societies.