Revolutionary Era 1754-1783: Arts Research Article from American Eras

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Born in Boston on 7 October 1746, William Billings was the first American composer. Like Copley, William Billings was a son of the colonial working class. Without the benefit of much formal education, let alone the chance of attending college (which remained a privilege of the genteel class), both men nevertheless managed to realize some remarkable artistic talents. Unlike Copley, however, Billings gave expression to a provincial, American culture instead of aspiring to the cosmopolitan ideal of British culture. At no time in his life would Billings ever achieve the social and economic success accorded to gentlemen, but given his fervent patriotism he may have regarded his artisanal background with pride. From his early teens Billings supported himself as a tanner. Like most colonial musicians, he apparently received his first musical education at singing schools; in 1769 he advertised the opening of his first singing school with John Barry, a former choir...

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This section contains 647 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Revolutionary Era 1754-1783: Arts Encyclopedia Article
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American Eras
Revolutionary Era 1754-1783: Arts from American Eras. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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