Analysis Of Fanfare For The Common Man

Decent Essays
Aaron Copland’s 1942 musical work ‘Fanfare for the Common Man’ demonstrates the typical elements, performance practises and features of a fanfare. These components present a powerful and effective example of a musical piece, written for an orchestra of primarily brass and percussion instruments.

A fanfare is classed as a musical work performed on brass instruments, usually a short ceremonial tune or flourish. ‘Fanfare for the Common Man’ is only composed for brass and percussion, as opposed to a full symphony orchestra, making it an excellent example of a typical fanfare. The fanfare was written on request for Eugene Goossens in 1942, conductor of the Cincinatti Symphony Orchestra, as an orchestral piece to open American ceremonies and concerts during World War Two. Its title was inspired by vice president Henry A. Wallace’s speech earlier that year, which called for “the dawning of the century of the common man”, in relation to America’s duty in the second world war. Ultimately, the piece was designed to stir patriotic feelings and create a sense of strength surrounding the American war efforts. Its title celebrated the power of any common man to make a difference in battle, and to show dedication to his country.

This feeling of power and patriotism is emulated from the first bar of ‘Fanfare for the Common Man’, in which the percussion section strikes on the first beat ‘very deliberately’ and at fortissimo volume. This immediacy presents the work’s force from the very
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