By understanding a work’s original context, intent, message, and audience, creators can use cultural referents to frame new ideas. Public-domain classics achieve a continually evolving immortality as they are re-imagined by new generations of creative minds. Public domain works, through creative adaptation, can be used to create a commentary on the original work, engage contemporary issues, create opportunities for cross-cultural dialogue, and promote cultural change.
The multidimensional nature of music allows artists to explore and communicate complex perspectives. Through exploring the Fort Valley recordings, students can discern how performers connect musical elements and cultural referents to create strong, nuanced messages.
The Library of Congress’s An American Ballroom Companion, an extensive online collection of over 200 dance manuals, is augmented with a video directory of 75 steps and dances. These historic movement patterns invite students to analyze elements of form through physical, as well as verbal, expression.
On Easter Sunday 1939, one of America’s greatest voices sang on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. She donned a fur coat against the fifty-degree bluster to perform outdoors. Despite the direct intervention of the First Lady, performance venues across Washington, D.C., had refused to open their stage doors to the world renowned African American contralto, Marian Anderson.
By observing the musical elements of political songs, students can become more aware of music’s influence in political discourse and more fully equipped to participate in such discourse.
A new digital collection at the Library of Congress, “Women’s Suffrage in Sheet Music,” provides an expansive look at America’s nineteenth amendment changemakers in song.
This posts highlights workshops that were offered by the 2018-2019 Library of Congress Teacher In Residence Carolyn Bennett.
Teacher in Residence Carolyn Bennett’s recent blog post explored the sounds and functions of bugle calls as a form of communication for troops from a musical perspective. This post describes ways in which coding allows students to explore different aspects of these calls.
Imagine a noisy battlefield, encampment, or port city. A commander has hundreds of men. Wireless communications have not yet been invented. How do the troops receive orders and coordinate movements? During the Civil War, this was the role of the bugle.
Students can understand more deeply and perform more authentically when they examine some of the threads bound up within a song’s cultural history. “This Little Light of Mine” is a prime example: Predating the struggle for civil rights, it takes on new shades of meaning every time it is sung.