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Ira GershwinThe Art of the Lyricist$
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Philip Furia

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780195115703

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195115703.001.0001

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Bidin' My Time: 1896–1917

Bidin' My Time: 1896–1917

(p.3) 1 Bidin' My Time: 1896–1917
Ira Gershwin

Philip Fuma

Oxford University Press

With their fusion of passionate energy and laconic wit, the songs of George and Ira Gershwin are distinctively individual creations, standing out in a popular medium whose products are often indistinguishable one from the other. But before their contrasting personalities coalesced into percussive chords and whimsical words, George and Ira moved to different rhythms. George, with his usual fervor, plunged directly into a career in music. Ira's course, typically, was as aimless as George's was direct. In what he called his “peregrinatory Manhattan boyhood,” his wanderings enabled him to absorb the sights, smells, and, above all, the language of the polyglot city. New York, particularly in those early years of the century, was a city of words, and Ira not only absorbed the language of the streets, he read avidly. By the time Ira was in high school, light verse had become his passion as much as music was George's.

Keywords:   Ira Gershwin, George Gershwin, lyric writing, songwriting, New York

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