The Bicycle and the Bastille

Last week In the Muse brought you “The Battle of the Sewing Machines,” a 19th century piano piece that fondly mimics the chug of an old sewing machine. The piece features cover art that depicts sundry anthropomorphic sewing machines on the attack, revealing perhaps a bit of 19th century tension at the fate of man […]

The Battle of the Sewing Machines

Just over the transom via the American Folklife Center’s Facebook page, today is the birthday of Elias Howe, inventor of the sewing machine. Celebrate Howe’s gift, not only to the garment industry, but to mankind, with “The Battle of the Sewing Machines,” F. Hyde’s rhythmic impersonation of that old-fashioned sewing machine sound ca. 1874. The […]

Sing Along with the Founding Fathers

It’s not exactly Schoolhouse Rock, but between the barbecue and the fireworks, celebrate the long Independence Day weekend with John E. Wilson’s vocal arrangement of the Declaration of Independence from the Civil War Sheet Music collection. You can also find sheet music and recordings of  “God Bless America,”  “America the Beautiful,” “The Star Spangled Banner,” and […]

Robert Cole

This post is abridged from a biography written by James Wolf, Digital Conversion Specialist, Music Division, for African-American Band Music & Recordings, 1883-1923 in the Performing Arts Encyclopedia. Read the entire article here. Robert Allen Cole was born on July 1, 1868, in Athens, Georgia, the son of former slaves. Like Will Marion Cook and James […]

Mario Comes Home

Thanks to Christopher Hartten and Robin Rausch, Music Division, for contributing to this post. Prolific Italian composer Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco (1895-1968) wrote music in virtually every genre. He began composing as a child and studied composition under Ildebrando Pizzetti. Castelnuovo-Tedesco’s 1932 meeting with guitarist Andrés Segovia would inspire him to write what would become dozens of […]

The Hills Are Alive with the Sound of Richard Rodgers

Richard Rodgers, one of  the great composers of the American Musical Theater, was born on this day in 1902. With Lorenz Hart (lyricist for “Manhattan” and  Pal Joey) and Oscar Hammerstein (lyricist for South Pacific, Oklahoma, and The Sound of Music) Rodgers’ music has been part of the musical and cinematic collective consciousness for nearly […]

Come for the Stradivarius, Stay for the Buchla 100 Modular Synthesizer

Earlier this week the Library announced this year’s inductees into the National Recording Registry. Among the inductees is Morton Subotnick’s “Silver Apples of the Moon,” a piece composed on one of the unlikely treasures of the Music Division’s instrument collection. The following is a guest post by Steve Antosca,  a composer living and working in […]

It Feels Like Summer

Each of the four seasons has inspired its own songs, but none so much as summer. From the cool breeze of Al Green’s “Feels like summer” to the cool pose struck by Pavement’s “Summer babe,” songwriters seem particularly inspired by the onset of heat, humidity, and vacation. While In the Muse cannot approximate the feeling […]