Bicentennial of American Music

Archive Report

Flowering of U.S. Musical Tradition

Variety of Musical Styles and Settings Today

“I HEAR America singing, the varied carols I hear,” Walt Whitman wrote. The poet's words, set down over a century ago,1 are fitting today. In their bicentennial year, Americans are producing more music and listening to more music than any other people on earth. They have access to a range of musical forms more plentiful and more varied than has been available to any nation in history.

Americans play and listen to music in great concert halls and muddy cow pastures, in libraries and nightclubs, in churches and homes, in offices and automobiles, in elevators and airplanes. They dote on love songs, tragic songs, work songs, war songs, religious songs, folk songs and nonsense songs; ...

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