The mocking bird cotillons
by Sep. Winner .
This installment of Music for the Nation contains music published in America, ca. 1820 to
1860, with the bulk of the material coming from the years 1834-57.
(It does not contain all music published in America during these years: see this
for a more precise description of the limits of this collection)
The years 1820-60 represent a coming of age for
American music, especially American popular song. The earliest extremely successful song in
John Hill Hewitt's
"The Minstrel's Return'd from the War,"
appears here in the form of a set of variations by
This song is still indebted to the English models which had served for earlier
American songs. By 1857, American song, exemplified by such songwriters as
George Frederick Root,
had its own independent sound. The years covered by this collection contain
the songs and the instrumental pieces, both American and foreign, that Americans sang, played,
and danced to. Many of the songs that originated during this period are still well known today.
Besides the many
songs, other songs in this collection include
There's Music in the Air,
Listen to the Mocking Bird,
The Old Oaken Bucket
(with its original words, Thomas Moore's "Araby's Daughter"),
The Blue-Tail Fly,
Long, Long Ago,
Old Dan Tucker,
The Arkansas Traveler,
Sweet Betsy from Pike
(in its original form as "Villikens and His Dinah"),
Wait for the Wagon, and
Pop! Goes the Weasel. In addition to providing materials for musicians to perform, this collection also gives
music historians the opportunity to trace what music seemed important (or saleable), and social
historians the opportunity to study how America's opinions and tastes were reflected in its music.