Document Type

Class Paper

Publication Date

Spring 2016


The United States of America is a relatively young country, if you consider its foundations established in the late eighteenth century. For this reason, the art forms of visual art, theatre, and literature were already well-developed by the time America had established a unique voice. Although their beginnings were segregated by race, socioeconomic status, popularity, and a couple of streets in New York City (see Figure 1), two musical styles stick out as entirely American art forms: the Broadway musical and jazz. While Harlem Renaissance writers and artists argued for a separate but valued black culture, the unique American art form of the Broadway musical was gaining popularity and clout in the global artistic sphere. These two dissimilar music styles of jazz and storybook musical evolved from loosely black and white backgrounds respectively but remain distinctly American art forms which have shaped American culture.