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Saturday, August 30, 2014

More on Old-Time and Civil War Music

I was all set to do another installment of Keeping the Public in Public Domain, but here's a bit of additional information that came after I published the article on "Old-Time" music.  It comes from dulcimer player and lover of 19th century music, William Craig Mann, who has quite a collection of sheet music from that era.
He said:
You will certainly want to include in your list of potential resources three books by Dover Publications: "The Civil War Song Book," "Stephen Foster Song Book," and "Popular Songs of Nineteenth-Century America." (I know they should be underlined or italicized, but I haven't figured out how to do that from my tablet).  The last book is out of print, but the first two are available on the Dover website.  All three contain photocopies of actual original sheet music (making them primary sources), and were valuable resources to me in my research.
Another valuable book, though also out of print (but turns up regularly on Ebay) and genre-specific, is Hans Nathan's "Dan Emmett and Rise of Early Negro Minstrelsy.". It's an academic study of the life, career, and music of Daniel Decatur Emmett, composer of "Dixie's Land," "Old Dan Tucker," and a host of other gems.  Nathan included in the book and entire, BIG section of note-by-note and word-by-word transcriptions of original minstrel songs by Emmett and some of his contemporaries.  These are not specifically Civil War songs, but songs that formed the basis of popular music in America during that era.
I highly recommend these resources.

A bit later he added:
Another song book I would highly recommend is "Minstrel Songs Old and New" subtitled "A Collection of World-Wide, Famous Minstrel and Plantation Songs, Including the Most Popular of the Celebrated Foster Melodies, Arranged with Piano-Forte Accompaniment."  Yes, all that's really there!  This is not a Civil War collection, but contains the most popular songs sung by both sides during the era of the war, with a few wartime pieces like "Kingdom Coming" and "Wake Nicodemus."
The book was published by Oliver Ditson Company in the early 1880's, and is a single-volume compendium of previously-published sheet music editions of some major minstrel songs.  There are a few late songs, but the vast majority of songs are 1840's to early 1860's.  The book stayed in print until at least 1910, meaning that a tremendous number of copies was produced.  As of this moment (evening 8/17/14), there are 10 original copies for sale on Ebay.  (There is a recent reprint edition available, but the ad contains a disclaimer that the reproduction may have "missing or blurred pages" and other problems.)
If you're willing to take a lower quality original copy (more usable than collectible), you can possibly pick one up for under $30, a real bargain in my opinion.  It has not only 19th century arrangements, but actual 19th to early 20th century copies (depending on year of printing of your copy) of almost 100 period songs, including "Camptown Races," "Dixie's Land," "History of de World/Walk in de Parlor," "Jingle Bells" (yeah, it was a minstrel song), "Kingdom Coming," "Oh Susanna," "Old Dan Tucker," and a bunch of other old standards.

I thank William Craig for his suggestions.  Thought I ought to see if any of those books are online since Dover republishes public domain material.  Even if it's not online, you probably can borrow a copy through your library's interlibrary loan service.  I like to see a book before buying and borrowing is an excellent way to do it.   

The Civil War Song Book is by Richard Crawford and contains 37 songs.  Along the way I found The Music of the American Civil War which has MIDI files sequenced by Benjamin Robert Tubb based on the book by Crawford and also gives a link to his other Civil War music page.  Since Tubb's first site has 37 songs, I presume all of them are in The Civil War Song Book

The Stephen Foster Song Book of course is by Stephen Foster, but the Dover book, besides having the sheet music for 40 original songs adds an introduction and notes by Richard Jackson, who selected the songs.  Bet you wonder what 40 songs are in the book.  It contains:
  • Ah! May the Red Rose Live Alway!
  • Beautiful Dreamer
  • Better Times Are Coming
  • Camptown Races (Gwine to Run All Night)
  • Come Where My Love Lies Dreaming
  • Don't Bet Your Money on de Shanghai
  • Down Among the Cane-Brakes
  • Gentle Annie
  • Gentle Lena-Clare
  • The Glendy Burk
  • Hard Times Come Again No More
  • If You've Only Got a Moustache
  • Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair
  • Maggie by My Side
  • Massa's in de Cold Ground
  • My Old Kentucky Home, Good Night
  • My Wife Is a Most Knowing Woman
  • Nelly Bly
  • Nelly Was a Lady
  • Nothing But a Plain Old Soldier
  • Oh! Susanna
  • Old Black Joe
  • Old Dog Tray
  • Old Folks at Home
  • Old Uncle Ned
  • Open Thy Lattice Love
  • Ring de Banjo
  • Some Folks
  • The Song of All Songs
  • That's What's the Matter
  • There Are Plenty of Fish in the Sea
  • There's a Good Time Coming
  • Thou Art the Queen of My Song
  • The Village Maiden
  • The Voices That Are Gone
  • Way Down in Ca-i-ro
  • We Are Coming, Father Abraam, 300,000 More
  • When This Dreadful War Is Ended
  • Willie Has Gone to the War
  • Wilt Thou Be Gone, Love?
I noticed some Stephen Foster songs I expected to be in the book aren't.
 Popular Songs of Nineteenth-Century America is the Dover book currently out of print, although Dover sometimes brings them back into print.  The book, however, can sometimes be found on out-of-print booksites, including my favorite, Better World Books, which does so much for literacy and also is a great resource to libraries after any book sales.  It contains a lot including some Stephen Foster songs not in the Stephen Foster Song Book. Since listing songs can be so important, here are the 64 songs for this book:
• All quiet along the Potomac tonight • Adeste fideles • Ain't I glad I got out de wilderness (down in Alabam) • America • The Arkansas traveler • Aura Lea • The battle cry of freedom • Battle hymn of the republic • Beautiful river • Ben Bolt • The blue tail fly • The bonnie blue flag • Camptown races • Carry me back to old Virginny • Champagne Charlie • Darling Nelly Gray • Der deitcher's dog • Dixie's land • Down in Alabam' • The flying trapeze • Glory, glory, Hallelujah • Goober peas • Grandfather's clock • Gwine to run all night • Home! Sweet home! • I'll take you home again, Kathleen • In the evening by the moonlight • Jim crack corn • Jingle bells • Johnny get your gun • Just before the battle, Mother • Kingdom coming • Listen to the mocking bird • The little brown jug • Long, long ago • Lorena • Marching through Georgia • Maryland, my Maryland! • My country! 'Tis of thee • My old Kentucky home • The ocean burial • Oh, dem golden slippers! • Oh my darling Clementine • Oh! Susanna • Oh where, Oh where has my little dog gone • Old black Joe • Old Dan Tucker • Old folks at home • The old oaken bucket • Old Rosin the beau • Pop goes the weasel • The prisoner's hope • Reuben and Rachel • Rock'd in the cradle of the deep • Shew! Fly, don't bother me • Silver threads among the gold • Sweet by and by • Sweet Genevieve • Tenting on the old camp ground • There is a tavern in the tavern • Tramp! Tramp! Tramp! • Vive la compagnie • Wait for the wagon • Way down upon the Swanee River • We won't go home till morning • When I saw sweet Nelly home • When Johnny comes marching home • When you and I were young, Maggie • Whispering hope • Woodman! Spare that tree! • The yellow rose of Texas • Zip Coon
PHEW!  That's a LOT!

I didn't expect minstrel songs to have as much popularity beyond reenactments, but then saw "Old Dan Tucker" in that company.  Finding "Jingle Bells" started as a minstrel song REALLY surprises me.  It's worth noticing both Dan Emmett and Rise of Early Negro Minstrelsy and Minstrel Songs Old and New have gone through more than one edition, so I may be overlooking some possible material by figuring minstrel show music was very limited.  The librarian in me says it's great that libraries can borrow from each other for me.

Program Alert:
All this talk about Civil War music was started as I look ahead to Historic Fort Wayne's annual Civil War Days on September 13 and 14 of this year.  Liberetta Lerich Green was a teenager during the war and like many a young girl still enjoyed dances and special times even though the number of boys her age or those of her slightly older brothers were reduced.  Come hear how things were here in Michigan during the Civil War . . . including the music.

Comments here aren't as obvious as I might wish.  In the box at the bottom where the various tags are listed it lists the number of comments and you have to click on them.  Jerry McGaha left one worth catching:

Jingle Bells, yes...but not done to the exact tune we use today, in fact somewhat difficult to vocalize.

Thank you, Jerry.  Not yet seeing the book made that something impossible to know without your comment.

    Saturday, August 23, 2014

    The Burning of Washington, D.C.

    On August 19 I caught a show on National Public Radio worth sharing with everyone.  Breaking: British Burn Washington is done in the style of breaking news from the battlefront with various correspondents and even debating "experts" about whether the War of 1812 should have been undertaken.  (If the NPR link is confusing because of other current news archived with it, be sure to look for "Breaking.")  Two hundred years ago the young United States fought this "Second War of Independence" from Britain.  NPR was a bit premature as the date was August 24 according to everything I have found.  The War of 1812 is often overlooked among other U.S. conflicts, so the Bicentennial reminds us just how close we came to losing.
    Listening to the program it was easy to imagine the horror of that historic day.  My own historical programs look at "History as seen by the 'average' person" as opposed to the many people who portray famous people.  If anyone famous would entice me, it's Dolley Madison.  Back when I did three articles specifically on the War of 1812 I mentioned her in 12 Reasons to Remember the War of 1812 (reason 9), but 13 Resources to Remember the War of 1812 (resource 10) took us to pages 14 to 17 of "The Burning of Washington" by Anthony S. Pitch published in White House History (Fall of 1998), an article that also gives a "You Are There" feeling to how the day went.  For some unusual facts about this special First Lady and a sidebar taking you to resources about her, I recommend the FAQ page of The Dolley Madison Project.  Hearing the radio program, with it's excellent feeling of being in the midst of the burning of Washington, it hit me: I've ancestors named Dolley!  I ought to look and see how close to the war years they were born.  That sidebar I mentioned includes a page about her name and makes me more convinced than ever her name was chosen by members of my mother's family because of Dolley Madison.  She wasn't Dorothy or Dorothea, no matter how much others might try to make her that.  She was Dolley.  So were they.  It wasn't a nickname, nor was it Dolly.
    Engraving of Dolley Payne Madison done in 1812 by ?William Chappell. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress.

    Here in Michigan The Michigan Commission on the Commemoration of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 has resources to know more about it's impact here.  Wikipedia has a page of links to both Canadian and State Bicentennial resources.

    The final page of Anthony Pitch's article discusses looting after the burning of the President's House (not yet called the White House) and the Capitol.  Looking at other news on the N.P.R. archive of the same day, looting and international threats against the United State are in the news.  There are many quotes about history repeating itself.  General Patton said: Prepare for the unknown by studying how others in the past have coped with the unforeseeable and the unpredictable.

    Just to show the issue is still touchy,  UPDATE:

    British embassy apologizes after tweet joking about burning the White House during the War of 1812 (Be sure also to read the Huffington post article, "Torch of Friendship" mentioned in the sidebar.)

    Saturday, August 16, 2014

    Finding Old-Time Music

    Stephen Foster
    I do many historical programs and often include music. I need to find resources guaranteeing when a song was sung. Music, like literature, accumulates like a snowball.  Some older songs die out, but many remain and new songs are added to the repertoire.  Here on this site, Civil War music includes a list of songbooks primarily war related, but the popular exception comes with Stephen Foster's songs, which avoid the focus of that conflict and Foster died near the war's end. Their timing and continued popularity cannot be overlooked.  Richard Jackson created for Dover the Stephen Foster Song Book.

    Another Dover book mentioned in my article was Theodore Raph's  American Song Treasury listing 100 songs with brief introduction.  The contents are praised in Amazon reviews, but not its layout if you wished to perform directly from it.   It's a paperback now with a Kindle edition, so that might change the complaint.

    Maymie R. Krythe's Sampler of American Songs is a hardback which is less a songbook, although the music is given, but the subtitle reveals its true value: Background and Lore Connected with 18 of Our Most Famous and Beloved American Songs.  They aren't all old songs, but 14 of them are, including some of that war material to give information about songs.  Although she only gives a few songs, Krythe goes into more background on songs than is mentioned in song anthologies.

    A similar book, but covering far more songs, is Frank Luther's Americans and Their Songs.  He chronologically covers from earliest colonial times up to 1900, listing year written and published, the period when popular, and association with a period or group, or with a famous person, place, or event in American history throughout the 19th century and into the present. 

    Earlier I also mentioned Ballads & Songs of the Civil War by Jerry Silverman as it is generally well-regarded, but revised my opinion after I discovered an interesting contradictory view from a music historian who noted the book would be better labeled "arrangements." His review states, "I once owned a copy of Silverman's CW songbook, but threw it away after noting the number of times it re-worded lyrics.  It is a secondary source at best, and should not be used if you are going for detailed authenticity."  He sited the two books from Dover Publications which opened this article.  He further noted, "For their books they actually photographed original sheet music specimens, qualifying them as primary sources for research."

    In talking about the situation of arrangements versus primary sources the Library of Congress came up.  Their Music page can take you to a wide assortment of downloadable "old-time" sheet music of Public Domain songs at the bottom of the Music page.  Lyrics are also given in addition to photocopies of the original covers.  If you are trying to location the actual music, use "notated music" for your search term and then search within that.  Civil War music was often Marches and Military Music.  That section is just up from the bottom of the page.  Notice also "We'll Sing to Abe Our Song" among the sheet music as it's part of the Alfred Whital Stern Collection of Lincolniana which is also online. Later I'll mention a Lomax book.  The John and Ruby Lomax 1939 Southern States Recording Trip is online, too, but the book by Alan Lomax covers all regions. 
    Don't you love that the library is open 24/7 online?!?  If I was to choose the spot where my taxes went, it would be the Library of Congress and maybe also the museum collections online.

    Yet another resource can be Google Images, but you need to note the song you are seeking.  Here are only 2 of my results when I requested "Bicycle Built for Two." 

    Among instruments I play are the guitar and dulcimer.  They might have been played by a schoolteacher due to relative affordability and portability.  Some schools even managed pump organs or an upright piano, but those were more likely in well-established communities and not for the pioneers.  Mark Nelson's Favorite Old-Time American Songs for Dulcimer and Albert Gamse's The Best Dulcimer Method--Yet! give dulcimer tablature and also the chords, so they can work for guitar, too.

    Three other good basic works are Alan Lomax's Folk Songs of North America which groups over 300 songs by region and topically within a region. Poet Carl Sandburg's American Songbag is nearly as large, but is only grouped topically, making it less easy to find by period.  Lomax's regional grouping is slightly better due to the way regions were settled.  The Fireside series from Simon and Schuster has editor Margaret Bradford Boni grouping 131 songs from 1890 back to colonial times in Fireside Book of Favorite American Songs.

    It's great to know a bit about historical songs when creating a historical program.  It's a requirement to know IF a song fits the era you are doing and IF any changes have been made.  Songs of the past use the folk process and so changes can be especially tricky to discover.   In that October 19, 2011 article on Civil War music I mentioned one such change: how the Hutchinson Family Singers took "Old Rosin the Beau" and made it an Abolition movement song, "Roll on the Liberty Ball" and later Lincoln's campaign song, "Lincoln and Liberty, Too."  Would that all changes were so easily traced!  Still the books listed above give some good basic resources.

    May old-time music enrich your life and any storytelling.  In the meantime I'm looking ahead to my next segment of Keeping the Public in Public Domain.  (Those Dover books are a perfect example of the value of Public Domain.)

    Sunday, August 10, 2014

    One-Room Schools and Music

    The One-Room Schoolteacher program is adaptable because rural one and two-room schools cover a long time in U.S. history.  This coming week I'll do programs related to pioneer times in the "Wild, Wild West."  Here in Michigan our pioneer times were in the first half of the 19th century.  Teachers out west in the second half of that century faced many of the same challenges, but had added materials and ideas of the times.

    Music was both an enrichment of classroom time and an educational tool.  We've all probably chanted or rapped the multiplication tables.  Nowadays Multiplication Rock is popular and Mr. R's World of Math and Science gives math songs from Early Learning through a bit of geometry.  The best example of educational use going back in time is in a song using Yankee Doodle to tell of the Presidents and often a brief bit of history. For just the presidents' names still to the tune of Yankee Doodle, this YouTube version goes all the way up to the second Bush in 2007.  YouTube also has many other songs for the topic, a few even "piggyback" existing songs to learn the presidents.
    The Mountain Democrat newspaper for Placerville, California on July first, 1893 posted this version of Yankee Doodle as written by J.D. Elder, a teacher from the Burwood School.

    George Washington, first President,
    By Adams was succeeded.
    Tom Jefferson was next the choice;
    The people’s cause he pleaded.
    Madison was then called forth
    To give John Bull a peeling.
    James Monroe had all the go
    In the “Era of Good Feeling.”

    ‘Twas J.Q. Adams then came in
    And next came Andrew Jackson,
    Who’d licked John Bull at New Orleans
    With such great satisfaction.
    Then Van Buren took the chair;
    Then Harrison and Tyler –
    The latter made the Whigs so mad
    They thought they’d “bust their biler.”

    We then elected James K. Polk;
    The issue that did vex us
    Was, “Shall we ‘do up’ Mexico
    And ‘take in’ little Texas?”
    Taylor then got in the chair,
    But soon had to forsake it.
    Millard Filmore filled it more,
    Frank Pierce then said, “I’ll take it.”

    Old Jim Buchanan next popped in.
    Abe Lincoln then was chosen;
    He found the current of events
    Was anything but frozen.
    Andy Johnson had a time;
    The Senate would impeach him,
    But as it took a two-thirds vote
    They lacked one vote to reach him.

    And now we come to U.S. Grant,
    The man who fought at Shiloh,
    And Hayes and Garfield, who was shot –
    They both came from Ohio.
    Arthur then the scepter held,
    To Cleveland turned it over.
    Ben Harrison sandwiches in,
    And now again it’s Grover.

    That's certainly a good song up through 1897 when Grover Cleveland's second term ended.  I prefer one that goes a bit into the 20th century since my programs aren't always just pioneer times.  Another plus is that for this program I can stop at an appropriate point in the song by ending with Chester Alan Arthur changing the words to "Whose term we hope ends peaceably with Chester Alan Arthur."  This also is a song that lets me include a great story about the Curse of Tecumseh  or Tippecanoe.  The Curse of presidents elected every 20 years started with Governor Harrison and ended with President Reagan.  There's a fascinating story behind it!

    I'm going to insert Wikipedia links for easy access to basic information on each president.  Wherever those links don't explain a historical reference I'll either add that parenthetically or as a link.

    George Washington, the choice of all,
    By Adams was succeeded.
    Then came Thomas Jefferson
    Who bought the land we needed.
    Madison was called upon
    To keep our noble men.     (I presume this is about England impressing U.S. sailors)
    And James Monroe ushered in
    John Quincy Adams was the next
    And then came Andrew Jackson
    And after him Van Buren came
    And the Panic's wild distraction.
    Then Harrison for one month ruled,  (death by pneumonia introduces "The Curse")
    And Tyler came in order,
    About a little border.
    Then General Taylor was the choice,
    But after one year only
    Death called the hero to his rest
    And left the chair to Fillmore.
    Then Pierce and James Buchanan came
    And the War closed thickly lower.
    And Lincoln was the chosen one,
    The statesman for the hour.
    Johnson of Tennessee.
    And Grant a war time here
    The Silent Man was he.     (? His throat cancer came after the presidency)
    Then R.B. Hayes was counted in, then
    Garfield, second martyr,
    Whose term was ended peaceably by
    Next Cleveland came and Harrison, (grandson of first President Harrison)
    Then Cleveland came once more.
    Then Roosevelt came to serve the state,
    The people called him Teddy.
    Then William Howard Taft came on,
    For duty ever ready.
    Then Woodrow Wilson came to fill the
    Loftiest of stations.
    He steered the Ship of State throughout
    The World War of the Nations.
    Next Harding ruled a few short months, (half of his term)
    And Coolidge then succeeded.
    Hoover served his country well
    Wherever he is needed.

    The text for this song was found in an excellent PioneerSchool Teacher Guide put together for the Fort Worth Log Cabin Village) with the assistance of Heritage Village School, Lincoln Nebraska, Diane Winans, Eagle Mountain Elementary, Shelly Couch, Saginaw Elementary, and the Log Cabin Village Staff.

    This song goes to the early 1930s as views of Hoover and the Depression probably would change the final two lines.  It's an interesting challenge to update the song, throwing in an occasional memorable fact which also helps the rhyme.  World War I might need rewording to allow for World War II.  There's certainly more a teacher might want to cover on presidents than the few comments of the song, but it does help make history and presidential names more memorable than mere name recital to Yankee Doodle.  

    Music was certainly more than just a memory aid.  Next time I'll look at Old Time Music resources for programs.