Collection The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

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  • 1950 to Present -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    Cultural and historical events from 1950 to present related to American song.

    • Date: 1950
  • 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 ...

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

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

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

    Original essays and articles are available on this site to help provide historical context and a deeper view for those who wish to learn more about particular topics. The Library's curators have written articles on historical topics and song, musical styles, individual songs, and songs of various ethnic groups in America.

    • Date: 1759
  • 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, ...

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

    1950 Songs of America Elinor Remick Warren writes "God Be In My Heart." Aaron Copland's first set of Old American Songs includes settings of "The Boatmen's Dance," "The Dodger," "Long Time Ago," "Simple Gifts," and "I Bought Me A Cat." Seeger Family Concert. Mike, Peggy, and Pete Seeger with the Short Sisters, recorded at the Library of Congress, March 16, 2007 [webcast]. Culture Gian ...

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

    Short biographies are available for some of the many composers, lyricists, performers, conductors, field collectors, and folklorists who have played a part in the history of American songs.

    • Date: 1759
  • War and Conflict -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    War has played no small part in the history of American song. Some of the nation's oldest folk and pop songs celebrate important victories, the experiences of soldiers and sailors, or the loss of loved ones. Playlist for War and Conflict Five recordings from Library of Congress collections describe the business of conflict in a human way. The Waltz must change to a march, ...

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

    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
  • Western and Cowboy Songs -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    Although it is often spoken of in the same breath as "Country" music, "Western" is a distinct area of American popular music whose roots reach into the frontier era of the 19th century. Playlist Five recordings from Library of Congress collections Starving to death on a government claim A pioneer song sung by folklorist Vance Randolph, who learned it in Kansas in his youth. ...

  • Francis James Child and The English and Scottish Popular Ballads

    During his years of editing the ballads, Child gained several more distinctions. By taking up a new professorship of English established at Harvard in 1876, Child became America's first English professor. In 1888, at the founding of the American Folklore Society, Child became its first president. The greatest distinction of all, however, was the impact he had on his friends, colleagues and students. He ...

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

    Country music encompasses everything from fiddler Eck Robertson to the arena-pop of Taylor Swift. The origins of country music can be traced to the 17th century, when European and African immigrants to North America brought their folktales, folk songs, favorite instruments, and musical traditions. Country music has seen various developments since the first commercial recordings, but whatever form it takes, country music speaks to ...

  • Curator Talks -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    The curators of the collections at the Library of Congress give more information about the history of song in the United States in these brief "Curator Talk" videos with the help of illustrations and audio clips.

    • Date: 1759
  • Shape Note Singing -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    Nineteenth century American song books that used notes in different shapes to aid singers and teach singing came to be known as "shape-note hymnals" and the style of singing from these "shape-note singing." Christian hymnals using this system were among the most enduring uses of this notation. Among the most popular was The Sacred Harp by B. F. White, first published in Georgia in ...

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

    A spiritual is a type of religious folksong that is most closely associated with the enslavement of African people in the American South. The songs proliferated in the last few decades of the eighteenth century leading up to the abolishment of legalized slavery in the 1860s. The African American spiritual (also called the Negro Spiritual) constitutes one of the largest and most significant forms ...

  • 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. ...

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

    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

    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.

  • 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
  • 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 ...

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

    Select any state on this map to find items pertaining to it. These may include songs about a state, songs written or recorded in a state, or songs composed by an artist associated with that state. Results can include sheet music, recordings, videos, and more.

  • 404 -- Library of Congress

    This article is about songs of unionization, labor strikes, and child labor. Songs of children who had to work instead of going to school tell a particularly poignant story about migrant labor. A song beginning "Yo cuando era niño -- mi padre querido," sung by Jose Suarez, was composed by the singer about his childhood picking cotton with his father in Texas. "The Cotton ...

  • 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 ...

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

    1759 Songs of America Francis Hopkinson (1737-1791) sets to music Doctor Parnell's 'My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free' – America's earliest surviving secular composition. Culture Voltaire (1694-1778) writes his satirical masterpiece Candide My days have been so wondrous free [manuscript] 1760 In the News George III becomes King of England. 1761 Songs of America 'Young Johnny,' sung by Winifred Bundy. Recorded by Helene ...

  • 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 ...