||Before the songs of these four composers can properly be discussed and their musical ideas understood, there are a few things about the general trends of music composition in America and the American musical culture itself that ought to be understood. Before World War I America imported her art from Europe. She sent her performing musicians as well as her composers there to learn the "correct skills," and they come home with European methods, sounds, and expressions. In Europe as well as in America, the idea of an American composer or an American musical expression was unthinkable. But after the first World War, the rest of the world began looking to America for leadership in world affairs, and it was only natural that Americans should begin to take pride in everything about themselves, including their music. The cry went up for "American composers," and a so-called "American style" is still in the process of maturation. As Aaron Copland has said, "We don't have musical maturity yet, but we do have a daredevil quality of youth.""*' By this he means that as the "American style" has been evolving, her composers have not been afraid to experiment in new methods of expression and in new sounds.