Collection The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

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  • 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. ...

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

    1800 Songs of America James Hewitt (1770-1827) composes 'The Wounded Hussar.' Hon'hewachi Song from the Blue Spot ceremony, sung by a group of Omaha men and women. Recorded by Francis La Flesche, September, 1895. The purpose of the ceremony was to honor a female relative of a society member. La Flesche wrote that this song was composed by Old Blackbird of the White Horse ...

  • Parlor and Concert Stage -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    Music performance in the United States takes place both at home and on the concert stage. Music written for each of these venues has been of equal importance to the development of American music. The performance of secular music in the United States developed, just as it had many centuries earlier in Europe, along two parallel paths. First, musical gatherings in the private homes ...

  • 500 -- Library of Congress

    Loc.gov Congress.gov Copyright.gov Menu ☰ Discover Catalogs & Finding Aids Search the Library's catalog records. Formats Audio Recordings Books Films, Videos Legislation Manuscripts/Mixed Material Maps Notated Music Newspapers Periodicals Personal Narratives Photos, Prints, Drawings Software,

    • Contributor: Battiest Tomasi, D. J. - Tingle, Tim
    • Original Format: Film, Video - Web Pages
  • Songs of Work and Industry -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    During the 400 years of the settlement, territorial expansion, migration, industrialization and urbanization of what would come to be known as the United States, the nature of making a living and the technological and economic factors on which it rested changed profoundly. In colonial North America the economy was overwhelmingly agricultural with farmers producing much of what they needed for themselves and their communities. ...

  • 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 ...

  • Songs of Sports and Leisure -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    American popular song emerged in the same era that American leisure culture began to develop, and sports such as baseball and football began to take on their present, distinctly American forms. As transportation improved, professional entertainers and traveling shows and circuses became regular visitors throughout the country. Transportation itself also became a form of recreation. Playlist for Sports and Leisure Five recordings from Library ...

  • 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
  • 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 ...

  • 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 ...

  • Songs of Politics and Political Campaigns -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    Elections provide opportunities for advocates of policies for social change and those favoring social stability to advocate their particular cause. Campaign songs and songs of political parties can help to spread particular points of view and build solidarity around candidates and platforms. Playlist for Politics and Political Campaigns Five recordings from Library of Congress collections explore patriotism and other political issues. National airs of ...

  • 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 ...

  • 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. ...

  • 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.

  • 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 ...

  • 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, ...

  • 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. ...

  • 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. ...

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

    Explore the relationship between cultural and historical events to American song on this timeline.

    • Date: 1759
  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 1759 to 1799 -- The Library of Congress Celebrates the Songs of America

    Cultural and historical events from 1759 to 1799 related to American song.

    • Date: 1759
  • 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