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Music in the making. Produced by Millikan university under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center in cooperation with the National Association of educational broadcasters. School of Music presents Professor Hubert Norval in a recorded program entitled singing America. And here to take over at this point is Professor Norval during this event. The British army at Yorktown one hundred seventy four years ago the British band played a tune called The world turned upside down in retaliation the Yankee band responded with Yankee Doodle even though it had been used by the British to make fun of the Yankees. We now terminate an American song. It's probably was an old English folk song. Many of us today feel like playing or singing such a type of tune in order to give vent to our emotions in a world that certainly seems topsyturvy.
None of our folk music with the possible exception of the Negro is American in the sense of being indigenous to this country. Many significant and fascinating aspects of American life have been recorded not only in history books in literature and in painting but in song. What a man feels he sings. And as such the songs of our nation's songs of all kinds folk songs ballads popular songs and serious art songs reflect the taste manners morals and even absurdities of our nation as well as its inspiring historical events. Thus through the woods and music of our songs we have a real Americana a panoramic living picture reflecting periods and epochs in the development of our country. There is no more reasonable way of encouraging a love of one's country than by reminding ourselves of the unique heritage it is ours to preserve. Certainly the human quality of this
heritage is demonstrated by the document in song. We bred and raised a new kind of personality. The cowboy who rode the plains and trails but when day was done he often sat around the campfire singing songs. We all love to hear them. My my my my
oh do. When Walt Whitman in his poem I hear America singing says I hear America singing the varied Cavils I hear those of mechanics the carpenter the mason the postman the deckhand the shoemaker the hatter the woodcutter the plowboy the delicious singing of the mother or the young wife at work or the girls sewing or washing each singing what belongs to her and her no one else that they do that belongs to that day. At night the party of young fellows
robust friendly singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs and he gives us some picture expressing the varied hum of American life also expressing practically the folk impulse as it appears in the life of any country during the 17th century in the Plymouth colony the sum total of the musical experience with the singing church tunes like the Old Hundred. Today it is familiar to us as the Doxology. There were no composers then in this community as it was considered ungodly and
frivolous to think of composing. Let alone singing them. However the progressive is one of the end of the 18th century singing societies were established in New England. The eighteenth century produced the first American composer whose works are extant today. His name is Francis Hopkinson a signer of the Declaration of Independence. He was not just a craps man of affairs a poet an inventor and painter. His first song bears the date 1757. Thus through him we have the arts and the Birth of it in America. You know as much as we are an amalgam of all races makes it impossible for our music as a unit to have a national flavor. Even our national anthems are old tunes adapted to new words. Some of our folk music were brought over by early settlers and has been retained to a great degree in its
original character. Mountain Music is quite unlike the Spanish songs of California as you shall see by the two following examples. The first will be an Appalachian Mountain Song while the second is a California Spanish song. They are both accompanied by the guitar. The O. Mm hmm.
The way they were the was was
a was the one. With a most colorful figure in American musical history was the first American composer to make music his profession. He wrote revolutionary war songs. His song Chester has been termed the over there of the revolution and was sung by the troops of the Continental Army everywhere. Music has a magic power of arousing our emotions. So the song
created a moment of inspiration will in turn inspire thousands. During the Civil War we had such rouses in the south as in the north the final cry of freedom one of the most popular types of amusement in the middle 19th century was a minstrel show. One of the most characteristic of the American types of amusements ever to be produced. One of our American composers Stephen Foster became famous to the general public by having his song sung by members of minstrel shows. Fawcett was a natural melodist who expressed himself simply. We will now hear one of his songs. Oh Susanna. Or not so well.
We have a little national folk music but many individual folk song types characteristic of various localities and springing from non-American sources. In isolated communities where hand labor has been perpetuated and where there is little printed literature. The folk expression has been most spontaneous and the lives in this country. The Negro folk music has made a deeper impression on our national life than any other group. And it is more original and in to our country than any other
type. Shut up. Yes. In this past few minutes we have given only highlights of the
musical life in our country singing America with musical illustrations of Native American music recording by Professor of. Music in the making was produced by American University under a grant from the Educational Television and Radio Center. This program is distributed by the National Association of educational broadcasters. This is the Radio Network.
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Music in the making
Singing America
Producing Organization
Millikin University
Contributing Organization
University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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Episode Description
In this program, "Singing America," various quintessentially American songs are discussed.
Series Description
Instructional comments and musical illustrations using faculty and students from the Millikin University School of Music. The first thirteen programs in the series focus upon historical aspects of music. The second half of the series explores music's technical side.
Broadcast Date
Foster, Stephen Collins, 1826-1864. Songs.
Media type
Producing Organization: Millikin University
Speaker: Norville, Hubert, 1905-1986
AAPB Contributor Holdings
University of Maryland
Identifier: 56-8-11 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:14:22
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Chicago: “Music in the making; Singing America,” 1962-03-16, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 25, 2024,
MLA: “Music in the making; Singing America.” 1962-03-16. University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 25, 2024. <>.
APA: Music in the making; Singing America. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from