School of Music


Master of Arts in Music Education (MA)


Cassandra Hibbard


Dvořák, American, nationalism, folk music




This study is conducted to determine the influence Antonin Dvořák had on the creation of American musical nationalism. Prior literature on the topic coupled with analysis of the musical scores are used to gain understanding of the musical elements that can be seen as a precursor to a uniquely American sound. To illustrate this further, Czech nationalistic pieces by Dvořák and Smetana are used to show a distinct difference in style utilized by Dvořák in his pieces written during his time in America. Dvořák’s use of American folk music, African American spirituals, and Native American music are fused together in his American pieces with homage paid to his Czech roots and can be described as uniquely an American experience. The fusion Dvořák uses in his music can be seen as symbolism of America being a ‘melting pot’ with immigrants moving to America and fusing elements of their homelands with the new national identity found in America. Based upon the research and analysis, implications for further research are outlined and implications for practice are synthesized to inform conductors while studying Dvořák’s scores and performing his pieces to ensure stylistic elements are correctly understood.

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