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Collection Early American Sheet Music

About this Collection

The Library of Congress classification number M1.A1 includes music printed or 'copied in manuscript' in the United States or the colonies through 1820. As an early record of musical life in America and the colonies, this classification number holds many interesting popular and topical pieces. Contemporary English composers such as Samuel Arnold, Charles Dibdin, and William Shield are well-represented as one would expect. There are also songs and arias of Mozart, Gluck, Schubert, and other European composers published in English translation. Perhaps most importantly, this classification number documents early American compositions such as the piano pieces of Alexander Reinagle (piano teacher to George Washington's step-granddaughter at Mount Vernon), the songs of Benjamin Carr (an important music publisher and composer), the music of Francis Hopkinson (signer of the Declaration of Independence), topical pieces such as "Battle of Trenton: a favorite historical sonata for the piano-forte" by James Hewitt, and collections of social dance music such as "Admired cotillions for balls and private parties: with new figures" published by G.E. Blake of Philadelphia.