Happy Fourth of July!

The Music Division wishes everyone a happy Independence Day! Music is integral to July 4th celebrations across the country, be it parades, fireworks accompaniment, or livening up the barbeques in your own back yard. So, let’s explore digital collections, primary sources, and previous years’ blog content all about Independence Day!

First off, take a look and a listen to what’s in our Patriotic Melodies digital collection. We’ve got plenty of digitized sheet music and vintage recordings to get you in the holiday mood. Back in 2010, In the Muse put together a list for you to “Sing Along with the Founding Fathers.” If playlists are your thing, you’ll also want another go with our “Star Spangled Mash-Up” from 2014.

Since 2014 was the 200th anniversary of our national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner,” we have even more posts for you to enjoy. You can learn about the song’s printing history, or discover the back story of the Baltimore Symphony’s celebration of the anthem’s 200th and see where Ferde Grofé fits into it all. Check out this video from the Library of Congress’s 200th anniversary celebration to see how we musically partied – “Poets and Patriotism.”

Of course, there’s no better way to celebrate than with a primary source! Take a look at the Music Division’s first printed edition of the national anthem’s words online. Back in 1814, the printed titled was “Defence of Ft. M’Henry.” Did you know that we also have an 1855 printing of the “Star Spangled Banner” published in Baltimore? And a Yankee Doodle Songster, an 1861 collection of patriotic tunes printed in Philadelphia?

For a more 20th-century musical take on our nation’s independence, you may be interested in Fourth of July for orchestra (1932) by American composer Charles Ives (1874-1954), Fourth of July for band (1948) by American composer Morton Gould (1913-1996), or Water Music for Fourth of July Evening for string orchestra (1943) by American composer George Antheil (1900-1959).

If you plan to dig into a good book over the holiday, stay patriotically on-brand with History of the Star-Spangled Banner from 1814 to the Present by George J. Svejda or Music of the Fourth of July: A Year-by-Year Chronicle of Performances and Works Composed for the Occasion, 1777-2008 by James R. Heintze.

Enjoy these resources, and Happy Fourth of July from the Music Division!

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