The Ballad of America: The History of the United States in Song and Story

By John Anthony Scott | Go to book overview

I

THE
COLONIAL
PERIOD

WHAT KIND OF SONGS did the people of this country sing during the colonial period? The majority of the settlers who arrived here during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries came from the British Isles—from England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. They brought with them a vast heritage of British and Irish melodies and lyrics, dance tunes, marches, and sacred songs. This store constituted the starting point for the development of American national music. It would be transformed and modified, as time went on, both by the contributions of other immigrant peoples and by the nature of American experience itself; but it would remain an influence of major proportions in shaping American musical expression. Americans, throughout their history, would draw upon this British heritage as they strove to develop and create a unique, American national song and music.

What was the nature of this heritage? British song itself had been evolving for centuries. A rich and many-sided expression of the life of an island people, it included courting songs, love songs, and laments; pipe and fiddle tunes for dancing

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The Ballad of America: The History of the United States in Song and Story
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Ballad of America - The History of the United States in Song and Story *
  • Contents vii
  • Introduction xi
  • Note on the Music xiii
  • I - The Colonial Period 1
  • The British Heritage 7
  • Colonial Songs and Ballads 30
  • II - The American Revolution 53
  • III - The Early National Period 91
  • IV - Jacksonian America 124
  • Sea and Immigration 126
  • The Westward Movement 159
  • Slavery Days 190
  • V - The Civil War 216
  • VI - Between the Civil War and the First World War 253
  • Farmers and Workers 257
  • Immigrants 284
  • The Negro People 301
  • VII - Between Two World Wars 324
  • VIII - Since the War 362
  • Sources 381
  • Recordings 400
  • Afterword 419
  • Index of Titles and First Lines 429
  • General Index 433
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