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The George Gershwin Reader$
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Robert Wyatt and John Andrew Johnson

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195327113

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195327113.001.0001

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Ira Gershwin: “Which Came First?” (1959)

Ira Gershwin: “Which Came First?” (1959)

(p.57) 16 Ira Gershwin: “Which Came First?” (1959)
The George Gershwin Reader

Robert Wyatt

John Andrew Johnson

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents an excerpt from Ira Gershwin's 1959 book Lyrics on Several Occasions. In this book Ira Gershwin discusses which comes first, the music or the lyrics. He explains that during the Elizabethan Age, the words always came first and that the practice of putting new words to pre-existent song became more common only during the 18th century. This practice led to the beginnings of ballad opera in England.

Keywords:   Ira Gershwin, Lyrics on Several Occasions, music, lyrics, ballad opera, England

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