All these tales of people sitting down and composing symphonies just as though they were writing a letter are very much exaggerated; at least, it isn't that way in my work.
I didn't even start playing the piano until I was about 13 or 14. I guess I must have had a little talent or whatever-you-call-it, but I practised regularly, and that's what counts.
Out of my entire annual output of songs, perhaps two, or at the most three, came as a result of inspiration. We can never rely on inspiration. When we most want it, it does not come.
Summertime And the living is easy Fish are jumpin' And the cotton is high Oh, your daddy's rich And your mama's good lookin' So hush little baby now don't you cry One of these mornin's You're gonna rise up singin' Then you'll spread your wings And take to the sky But til that mornin' Ain't nothin' can harm you With your daddy And your mammy standin' by.
Modern European composers...have very largely received their stimulus, their rhythms and impulses from Machine Age America. They have a much older tradition of musical technique which has helped them put into musical terms a little more clearly the thoughts that originated here. They can express themselves more glibly.
Gershwin's tragedy was not that he failed to cross the tracks, but rather that he did, and once there in his new habitat, was deprived of the chance to plunge his roots firmly into the new soil.
Gershwin's melodic gift was phenomenal. His songs contain the essence of New York in the 1920s and have deservedly become classics of their kind, part of the 20th-century folk-song tradition in the sense that they are popular music which has been spread by oral tradition (for many must have sung a Gershwin song without having any idea who wrote it).