• African American Gospel -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    African American Gospel music is a form of euphoric, rhythmic, spiritual music rooted in the solo and responsive church singing of the African American South. Its development coincided with -- and is germane to -- the development of rhythm and blues. Playlist Five recordings from Library of Congress collections Oh, Jonah! Performed by the Golden Jubilee Quartet. Recorded by Willis James, 1943. We are ...

  • Printable Timeline -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    1850 Songs of America Stephen Foster composes 'The Voice of Bygone Days', 'Molly, Do You Love Me?', and 'Ah! May the Red Rose Live Alway!' 'Go Down Moses,' a spiritual sung by the Tuskegee Institute Singers, 1914. Harriet Tubman reported using this song to identify herself to slaves that might want to escape and flee north with her by singing it in a neighboring ...

    • Date: 1850
  • Musical Styles -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    [u"In its history, America's songs have been performed in many musical styles. Learn more about how these musical styles developed and listen to examples."]

  • Mapping the Songs of the Civil War -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    [u'Select the highlighted states on this map to view a selection of sheet music pertaining to people, places, or events associated with that state during the Civil War. This can include songs about military figures, battles and campaigns, regiments, and other state-related events or sentiments.']

  • Printable Timeline -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    1900 Songs of America Amy Marcy Cheney Beach sets to music Three Browning Songs, including "Ah, Love, But a Day and "The Year's at the Spring." John Rosamond Johnson writes the anthem "Lift Every Voice and Sing" to lyrics by James Weldon Johnson. The King Family performs the traditional dance song "Cripple Creek" on string band instruments: banjo, mandolin, guitar, fiddle, and bass fiddle. ...

    • Date: 1900
  • Traditional Work Songs -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    In traditional cultures around the world, work is often accompanied by song. Americans have developed work songs for many occupations, from agricultural jobs like picking cotton, to industrial ones, like driving railroad spikes. Iconic American figures such as cowboys had their work songs, as did sailors, whose songs kept work going smoothly on tall ships throughout the age of sail. Playlist Five recordings from ...

  • Traditional and Ethnic -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    Traditional songs, often called "folk songs," are learned informally, within the context of family, tribe, community, or another close-knit group. Many traditional songs have been sung within the same family or ethnic and regional communities for generations, and as in the case of American traditional songs, can sometimes be traced back to such places of origin as Great Britain, Europe, or Africa and other ...

  • Rockabilly -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    Rockabilly music arose after World War II and is one of the earliest styles of rock and roll. Mixtures of country music with swing and boogie woogie styles preceded it in the 1940s. As early as the 1930s, Western swing artists such as Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys and Milton Brown and his Musical Brownies freely mixed Black and white styles of music. ...

  • Children's Songs -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    Children's songs may include songs that adults sing or teach to children, songs children pass along to each other, and songs that children compose themselves. These distinctions are not always clear cut, however, as adults may teach children songs that they learned from other children in childhood, and children may pass along songs learned from adults to other children. Playlist Five recordings from Library ...

  • Ragtime -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    Ragtime, a uniquely American, syncopated musical phenomenon, has been a strong presence in musical composition, entertainment, and scholarship for over a century. It emerged in its published form during the mid-1890s and quickly spread across the continent via published compositions. By the early 1900s ragtime flooded the music publishing industry. The popularity and demand for ragtime also boosted sale of pianos and greatly swelled ...

  • Hip Hop/Rap -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    In the 1970s and 1980s, the emergence of hip-hop in the African-American communities of cities like New York, Detroit, Chicago and Los Angeles, took longstanding African-American musical traditions in new directions. The style was generally known as "rap" in its early days, and this term is still interchangeable with "hip-hop" when discussing the genre broadly. Hip-hop artists like the Sugarhill Gang, Grandmaster Flash, NWA, ...

  • Ritual and Worship -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    Sacred music has been a vibrant part of American culture from the earliest sacred oral traditions of indigenous peoples through the written traditions of the first European colonists. With the settlement of the Plymouth, Massachusetts colony in 1620, sacred music played an important role in helping to define the cultural identity of the region of the New World that would become the United States. ...

  • Rhythm and Blues -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    The term "rhythm and blues," often called "R&B," originated in the 1940s when it replaced "race music" as a general marketing term for all African American music, though it usually referred only to secular, not religious music. The term first appeared in commercial recording in 1948, when RCA Victor records began using "blues and rhythm" music as a descriptor for African American secular songs. ...

  • Blues -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    "The blues" is a secular African-American musical genre that has had broad influence in popular music. Blues songs deal with a variety of topics and emotions, though it is often mistakenly thought that they deal almost exclusively with sorrow and protest. Playlist Recordings from the The John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Southern States Recording Trip. Shorty George (1939) Performed by Smith Casey, guitar. In ...

  • About this Collection -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    See and Hear American History Through Song "Know the songs of a country and you will know its history for the true feeling of a people speaks through what they sing." – Preface to The Songs of Henry Clay Work (1884) Listen to the changes in the "Star Spangled Banner" as played by different bands in different eras. Look at the ways in which ...

    • Date: 1581
  • Rock -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    The term "Rock and Roll" was applied to several related forms of music broadly popular with youth starting in the mid-1950s. Some styles were already well established with certain audiences, or used musical devices that had been around for some time, but in the mid-1950s, they achieved national popularity, and soon became the driving forces in much of popular music. Playlist Recordings from Library ...

  • Illustrated Sound Recordings -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    [u'Performances of song and concerts from the Library of Congress are available on this site as well as interviews with performers and composers.']

    • Date: 1759
  • Interactive Maps -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    [u"See the connection between America's geography and song through interactive maps that offer songs from the states and about the states."]

    • Date: 1581
  • Songs of Social Change -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    Americans from the colonial period to the present day have often practiced their right to freedom of speech through song. American songs have called attention to social causes, both criticized and advocated governmental social policies, and provided a means of personal complaint on social issues. Songs are easily carried, demand attention, convey emotion, and can be performed in many contexts, with or without instrumentation, ...

  • Opera -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    Since its grand beginnings as Italian court entertainment at the turn of the seventeenth century, opera has been an art form that strives to portray a heightened reality, transporting the audience to a time and place beyond its own. Opera is a seemingly magical concoction of theater, music, and dance that has ignited the imaginations of young and old, rich and poor, for over ...

  • 1900 to 1949 -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    [u'Cultural and historical events from 1900 to 1949 related to American song.']

    • Date: 1900
  • Bluegrass -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    Bluegrass music is a tradition-based modern style of string band music. Typically a bluegrass band consists of four to seven performers who sing while accompanying themselves on acoustic string instruments such as the guitar, double bass, fiddle, five-string banjo, mandolin, steel guitar, and Dobro. Bluegrass combines elements of old-time mountain music, square dance fiddling, blues, gospel, jazz, and popular music. Like jazz, bluegrass allows ...

  • 1800 to 1849 -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    [u'Cultural and historical events from 1800 to 1849 related to American song.']

    • Date: 1800
  • 1850 to 1899 -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    [u'Cultural and historical events from 1850 to 1899 related to American song.']

    • Date: 1850