Talk:An American in Paris

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
WikiProject Classical music / Compositions 
WikiProject icon An American in Paris is within the scope of WikiProject Classical music, which aims to improve, expand, copy edit, and maintain all articles related to classical music, that are not covered by other classical music related projects. Please read the guidelines for writing and maintaining articles. To participate, you can edit this article or visit the project page for more details.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by Compositions task force.

Link suggestions[edit]

An automated Wikipedia link suggester has some possible wiki link suggestions for the An_American_in_Paris article:

  • Can link tone poem: ...shwin's time in [[Paris]], it is in the form of an extended tone poem evoking the sights and energy of the [[France|French]] capi...
  • Can link native speakers: ...d movies referencing France seldom use location shooting or native speakers. For example, in the [[Home Alone]] franchise, all airport ... (link to section)
  • Can link French-Canadian: ...t scenes were fake and the speakers could not even pass for French-Canadian. Great care is however sometimes put into reproducing Paris... (link to section)

Notes: The article text has not been changed in any way; Some of these suggestions may be wrong, some may be right.
Feedback: I like it, I hate it, Please don't link toLinkBot 11:22, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I have removed the reference to French-Canadians as I consider it to be an NPOV violation when read in context with the rest of the sentence, which didn't make a lot of sense (all airport scenes in movies are, by definition, fake) and was also edited out. 23skidoo 06:05, 2 Dec 2004 (UTC)

I moved information on the movie to An American in Paris (movie). I also changed the links that are intended for the movie to point to the movie section as well. Hopefully this will allow the song section to grow, while noting that it is two seperate artistic works. --Poorpete 19:13, 9 Mar 2005 (UTC)

Proposed move[edit]

I think that the movie is more notable and should get this namespace if we have to choose between them. However, I will advocate making this a disambiguation page. If no one objects, I will do this myself in a few days. savidan(talk) (e@) 03:07, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

New York premiere[edit]

If it was performed in New York State before that date, note that New York refers to the state, not the city- just since the expression I believe often means New York City premiere? Schissel | Sound the Note! 20:06, 4 October 2006 (UTC)

Taxi Horns: tuned or untuned?[edit]

The score calls for four taxi horns, labeled "a", "b", "c", "d". Many recordings use these labels as literal pitches. Strangely, however, Horn "a" always sounds together with a b in the orchestra. Horn "b" with an a, Horn "c" with a c, horn "d" with a b flat. So, if you use these horns with pitches as labeled, you get all sorts of unmusical dissonances. I have heard a recording where more or less untuned horns were used, whch suited the music better. Or should they be tuned to the according orchestral pitches (b, a, c, and b flat)? Does anyone have any evidence as to which system was intended by Gershwin? (I suppose he used four horns that were available (in b, a, c, and b flat) and chose the orchestral pitches according to them, but that's my own opinion...) -- megA 13:04, 8 September 2007 (UTC)

Unmusical dissonences were probably what Gershwin was getting at. A taxi horn is not meant to be musical, especaially in a major metro area. Justin Tokke 01:07, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
True that. All the major recordings I've heard (e.g., Bernstein/N.Y. Phil.) have semi-dissonant horns. Otherwise, what's the point? Gershwin would have simply given that line to one of the brass instruments if he was after good intonation. +ILike2BeAnonymous 01:18, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
In the Bernstein recording you mention, the horns, although squeaky, are tuned to a, b, c, d, which gives us C major over D flat major and later D major chords. Which I think was not what Gershwin intended. Compare this to this (otherwise neglectible) recording: (Sandor/Budapest Phil.) [1], where the horns are "tuned" to their corresponding orchestral pitches, and its first (1929) recording: (Shilkret/Victory Symph.) [2], where horns with random pitches are used.
My opinion is that Gershwin opted for truly dissonant (or randomly pitched) horns, and simply labeled them a, b, c, d, without pitch connotation. As stated in the preface to the Warner-Chappell/Eulenburg orchestral score about the premiere: "...Ersatz horns were not deemes adequate for the four taxi horns, ...'authentic' horns from Paris were brought over specially." So if Gershwin had specified simple tuned horns, they would have been easily constructed in NYC, without the need to import French horns (pun!). My question is: Did Gershwin himself give citable specifications about the horns to be used? -- megA 11:49, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
So what, exactly, does the score have to say about this? That would seem to be the real authoratitive source here, I would think. Plus I'm curious now. +ILike2BeAnonymous 19:36, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
I have seen a published facsimile of the original autograph score (photos of the original pages printed in book form) at the NYPL for Performing Arts. From my recollection there were taxi horns written on a 5-line percussion stave but each was put on a different line/space as if it was semi-tuned percussion. I don't remember there being labeling for each horn. I'll look it up. Justin Tokke 20:20, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
Good. By the way, you meant "staff" (stave is plural), and they are tuned, not "semi-tuned", as each horn has a distinct pitch, just not necessarily well tuned. +ILike2BeAnonymous 21:32, 9 September 2007 (UTC)
"Stave" as in UK english. I called them Semi-tuned because they aren't tuned to a specific note. So, yes, they do have distinct pitches, but they are not tuned to, say, an C,D,E,F. A comparable example is temple blocks or variying sizes of triangles. Justin Tokke 00:25, 10 September 2007 (UTC)
My score, by Warner/Chappell/Eulenburg, with "(c) 1929, 1930 New world Music corp." has them all on the same single line, with (a), (b), (c), (d) respectively written over them. I thought this was the same in all scores. This seems to be the reason why most recordings (as the Bernstein mentioned above) have them tuned to the pitches of A, B, C, and D. Which, IMO, is wrong, because the form a clear melody of C major, especially at the end of the piece. My favorite recording, (alas, I forgot who did it. EDIT: Found it at last: [3], listen to the "Windows Media" sample, which has all four horns in it.)) has four different horns, with varying tone colours and completely "unmusical" pitches. (two of them even seem to be double-tone horns) This is what I think Gershwin had in mind. Even more since the 1929 Shilkret recording, with Gershwin on celesta, also uses random horns. Now if there were some explicit specifications by Gershwin... but it seems, as recordings vary so much, that there aren't. -- megA 16:06, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

Wow... "unmusical." Really? How limited is your definition of "musical?" Dissonance IS musical. Now, I know you know that. But why do you need to be reminded of it? In the context of a man walking down the streets of Paris, think about how much dissonance would exist vs. any kind of consonance.

It's 20th century music...

  • I've never felt the need to comment on a Wikipedia forum before until now, so I apologize if I did it wrong. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:32, 3 December 2007 (UTC)

Choo'n Gum[edit]

The tune is unmistakable. How did it get there in 1928? I was sure it was a postwar composition. Drutt (talk) 07:04, 13 April 2009 (UTC)


Hi, does the sentence "He also did the orchestration" need to be in here? For one thing, the sentence doesn't sound very formal, but the more important thing is that composers usually orchestrate their own symphonies themselves. If this were a musical or film score it would be different, or if it were a symphonic transcription of an already-existing non-orchestral work I would understand. However because he apparently did not orchestrate Rhapsody in Blue, I am having a difficult time deciding what to do with it. Horncomposer (talk) 21:10, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

Move? (2012)[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: not moved. Consensus is that, in this particular case, the long-term significance criterion is of more importance than the usage criterion. Jenks24 (talk) 04:49, 31 May 2012 (UTC)

An American in ParisAn American in Paris (composition) – or An American in Paris (instrumental). This Gershwin piece is used in WP:naming conventions (films) as an example of primary topic, but it is proven to be less popular than the film itself. At usage, the film is popular. However, the piece came first. Relisted. Favonian (talk) 18:33, 23 May 2012 (UTC) --George Ho (talk) 16:42, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

Oppose. Pageviews aren't everything, especially given the relationship between the two entities. Moreover, I can't even fathom why the film would be getting more pageviews than the composition; the latter is clearly both more notable and more important in the history of popular culture. Powers T 17:52, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
True, the Gershwin piece is played more often and significant and historical part of popular culture, even if WP:PRIMARYTOPIC says that "no single criterion" actually defines an actual primary topic. However, before this piece, I assumed that the title is of only the Gene Kelly film. Then again, who else wants to read more about this very old, obscure Gershwin piece? --George Ho (talk) 20:10, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. If there was any other existing "An American in Paris" article that was NOT related, inspired or based on Gershwin's piece,[4] then I might have supported this proposal. But as of now I'm comfortable with the status quo, and having Gershwin's piece be the primary topic based more on the long-term significance factor. Zzyzx11 (talk) 05:01, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
    • However, the film meets usage criterion more, while the piece meets long-term. Neither criterion is wrong to determine how one topic meets this criterion nor conclusive to determine which is more primary. Other criteria come in mind to prove that two are not the only criteria, as WP:PRIMARYTOPIC does not have precise definitions and rules on topics: "interest" to inspect the primary source itself (watching a film or listening a piece), "familiarity", and title association ("ambiguity"). I haven't watched or listened, so I must say: I associated this title with the film only before I found out more about the origin of the title, and I have been always familiar with the film before the piece. Therefore, I cannot figure out which one is more primary. --George Ho (talk) 05:13, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
      • As I said, I am comfortable with leaving it with the status quo, because long-term may be used to decide what should be the primary topic. I have yet to see a convincing argument here that the usage or any other criterion should significantly override the long-term criterion to warrant a page move. And it does not help when you end up saying, "I cannot figure out which one is more primary". Zzyzx11 (talk) 05:23, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
        • And again, there are currently only three "An American in Paris" articles that currently exist (not including redirects).[5] And because the other two are related to Gershwin's piece, I also do not see a need to create a main "An American in Paris" disambiguation page. Zzyzx11 (talk) 05:30, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
          • Film is popular and won the "Best Picture" from Oscars; that qualifies as "long-term", but not that much. Anyway, as for the "I cannot figure out..." thing, I said that because there is no evidence that "long-term" significantly overrides usage. Per "interest", does history matter that much? Must everybody know that the film title is an origin of the piece? Must everbody know more about the song than otherwise? Why is keeping "status quo" more important than benefitting the readers by making this proposal happen? --George Ho (talk) 05:45, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
          • Because you have not yet made a convincing argument that "usage" significantly overrides "long-term" either, thus the status quo. Zzyzx11 (talk) 03:47, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Support. Both the film and the composition have long-term significance, and the usage indicates that the film is the primary topic. The composition should be moved and the film moved to the base name. (It is possible for a related later topic to be primary over a first or "parent" topic.) -- JHunterJ (talk) 17:05, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
    Actually, I'm planning the disambiguation page under "An American in Paris". That's all. --George Ho (talk) 18:35, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
    But since your notes support a change in primary topic, I support changing the primary topic. There's no benefit for any of the readers to simply adding a disambiguation page in the way of the seekers for one topic and leaving all of the others the same one click away from their destination. That's all. -- JHunterJ (talk) 18:49, 23 May 2012 (UTC)
    This proposed disambiguation page might just as well be tagged with {{dabconcept}}, and easily converted to a dabconcept page, since, again, all current "An American in Paris" topics are related to Gershwin's piece. Zzyzx11 (talk) 03:38, 24 May 2012 (UTC)
    Not all long-term significance is equal. The composition is one of the seminal works of early twentieth-century music; the film is merely a very good film. Powers T 01:21, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Support a disambiguation page should be primary. And since they all share the same title, they can be a conventional disambiguation page without needing a dabconcepted page. (talk) 05:08, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Love the music, never seen the film. Rothorpe (talk) 11:31, 25 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose – The current set of article names seems perfectly reasonable and logical. -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 15:04, 26 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Oppose. The Gershwin piece is of substantially greater enduring notability and educational value than any other topic associated with that term (WP:PRIMARYTOPIC of course). But a page at An American in Paris (disambiguation) also seems a good idea. Andrewa (talk) 02:53, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Requested move (2013)[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: not moved. Favonian (talk) 15:03, 7 April 2013 (UTC)

The film of the same title is still more popular than the Gershwin piece. Sure, the film was probably derived from the piece, but, like Doctor Zhivago, an original doesn't have to be the primary topic, as prior discussion and WP:NCF wanted it to be. A long-term significance of both the piece and the film equally weigh with recognition and acclaim. If it is moved, then WP:NCF must be re-edited with another example. Relisted. Jenks24 (talk) 15:17, 31 March 2013 (UTC) George Ho (talk) 22:32, 21 March 2013 (UTC)

  • Support the disambiguation page should be primary. An American in Paris (poem) , An American in Paris (instrumental) , An American in Paris (composition) , An American in Paris (song) would work. -- (talk) 00:06, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose – Nothing has changed since #Move? (2012). -- Michael Bednarek (talk) 06:59, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Support The "long-term significance" clause is squishy and subjective, nor does the musical seem to lack such. The Doctor Zhivago solution will work here. --BDD (talk) 17:07, 22 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose: Like the previous move discussion, I'm not clearly convinced that the usage criterion should significantly override the long-term criterion to warrant a page move. In addition, like the previous move discussion, there is currently no clear argument on what the new disambiguating word or phrase in parenthesis should be -- whether "poem", "song", "instrumental", "composition" or something else. Agreeing that there should be no primary topic is one thing, but there should be also consensus on what the new title should be. Zzyzx11 (talk) 01:04, 24 March 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose - The Melody Lingers on: The Great Songwriters and Their Movie Musicals p69, the film and its concluding dance score is just one of many derivatives from the original. In ictu oculi (talk) 02:32, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
  • Oppose per previous discussion and per In ictu oculi. MarnetteD | Talk 20:14, 1 April 2013 (UTC)
    • Like I said, despite long-term significance, originals have almost never been primary topic just because they came first. --George Ho (talk) 05:58, 4 April 2013 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Original score?[edit]

We mention Gerard Schwarz's 1990 recording of "Gershwin's original score, before he made numerous edits resulting in the score as we hear it today". Read at face value, that suggests the premiere occurred on December 13, 1928, after which he made a few changes having heard how it sounded. That's a very common thing. For example, Tchaikovsky's 6th Symphony as we know it today is NOT what was played at its premiere, because after the premiere he made some changes to the score.

However, our existing source and also p. 115 here say the changes Gershwin made were made before the premiere. Now, all composers change their scores during the process of composition. Beethoven's scores are replete with crossings out, second thoughts, third thoughts and so on. Do we consider any of these intermediate jottings to be his "original version"? No, we do not. We accept that the whole composition doesn't just spring into their minds fully formed and perfect. They have a germ, and they have to spend tears and sweat on it before they're happy, if they ever are. Just because Gershwin thought he'd finished the score on November 18 doesn't preclude the possibility that he might have other thoughts before the premiere and before the work was sent to the printers. And that's exactly what happened.

So, I question the validity of the record company marketing this recording as "the original score", but we have no say about that. However, we do have a say about what goes into our articles. I’d like to reword this sentence to remove reference to the "original score", and just explain in other words exactly what was recorded and what was different about it.

Does anyone have any comments before I proceed? -- Jack of Oz [pleasantries] 19:48, 7 February 2015 (UTC)