Primary Sources for Musical Learning: Celebrating the Public Domain and Engaging Creatively with Primary Sources

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.

Primary Sources for Musical Learning: Supporting and Critiquing America during WWII: Primary Sources from the Fort Valley Music Festivals

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.

Primary Sources for Musical Learning: Analyzing the Musical Perspectives of Marian Anderson and Harry T. Burleigh in Deep River

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.