Great Grandmother Whitley on second row, left. Turn of the century..1900..

Kingwood College Library

 A Chronological Subject Guide To


AMERICAN POPULAR MUSIC BEFORE 1900

One of the really neat things about music, and there are many, is that it reflects the times. Lyrics tell how people feel and about the events of the period. In many ways music gives us a more accurate picture of people and events than any other method available.

This chronologically arranged web page is intended as an overview of American History through its music. Please if you have information or links which would supplement this information.
 
 
 
 
 
 


Table of Contents
GENERAL INFORMATION
1600-1776 | THE COLONIAL PERIOD
1776 - 1860 | REVOLUTIONARY WAR / POST COLONIAL
1860 - 1900 | CIVIL WAR & RECONSTRUCTION THROUGH TURN OF CENTURY

LYRICS - ALL PERIODS

19th century Sheet Music
Links and music of the 19th century - from UNC at Chapel Hill
Sheet Music - Historic American
From the library of Congress American Memory collection.
Folk Music of America and the British Isles
Beautifully site arranged chronologically.  Arranged also by country.  Information about the origin of the songs is included.  Thanks!
Scouts Old Song Book or Scouting Songs
Collected song lyrics for scout troups. Great collections of old songs. Many from early American History.
Hymn Search
Search titles for soundbytes from the Methodist, Baptist, and Lutheran hymnals.
 American Religious Music
Links through 1840.
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A Chronological History of American Music to 1900

 1606-1776 THE COLONIAL ERA

Religious music was the first music of early colonists. Traditional English hymns were brought to America. Pilgrims from Southhampton and Plymouth brought with them the Ainsworth Psalter imprinted in 1612 in Amsterdam. It was used until 1667 when The Bay Psalter was adopted. Benjamin Franklin wrote and published a book of Ballads. Operas appeared. A Mighty Fortress is Our God, and Yankee Doodle are good examples of this period.

Religious Music

 
 
 

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Nursery Rhymes

 
 
 

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Ballads and Political Songs

 
 
 

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1776-1860 REVOLUTIONARY WAR /POST-COLONIAL ERA

The printing of individual items of music began in North America only after the Revolution. Music still closely linked to England. The Stars Spangled Banner was written in 1814. Other songs of this period include Rock of Ages, America, Oh Shennandoah!,Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes and Johnny's Gone For a Soldier . Folk music and ballads were the rage. Negro spirituals and slave music came from the African slaves.

Revolutionary War


Negro Spirituals and Slave Songs

 

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Folk Music


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1860-1900 CIVIL WAR / RECONSTRUCTION ERAS

Popular music just before and during the Civil War concerned itself with political and military events. Songs included Amazing Grace , Battle Hymn of the Republic , Dixie, I'll Take You Home Again, Kathleen, When Johnny Comes Marching Home Again, Old Black Joe, Carry me Back to Old Virginny, and Marching Through Georgia. Religious songs were popular including He Leadeth Me ,Gimme that Old Time Religion,Go Tell it on the Mountain, and My Faith Looks Up to Thee . Folklore music started during this period and included the music of the Indians, negroes, mountainneers, cowboys, lumberjacks, sailors and others.  How about listening to Oh My Darling, Clementine!

Civil War


 Gospel


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Mother Goose - Sarah Josepha Hale


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Work Songs - Railroad and Westward Expansion


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Ragtime


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Broadway Musical


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Texas

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Old Time Music


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Minstrelry

JAZZ

 Jazz Roots
Great site - take a look at the time line and all of the great information there.
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AND, a look at an OLD magazine - in it's new format

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American Popular Music from 1900 - 1950
 American Popular Music from 1950 - present
Library Subject Guides |  Kingwood College Library |
American History before 1860 Guide
American Cultural History by Decades
Argus Subject Guides



Two invaluable books used for research on this page are:
The Great Song Thesaurus by Roger Lax and Frederick Smith
Early American Music: Music in America from 1620 to 1920 by Harold Gleason and Warren Becker

Links checked & revised 9/99

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