Timeline of music in the United States (1820–49)

Last updated

Timeline of music in the United States
Music history of the United States
Colonial erato the Civil WarDuring the Civil WarLate 19th centuryEarly 20th century40s and 50s60s and 70s80s to the present

This is a timeline of music in the United States from 1820 to 1849.




Early 1820s music trends
  • The Boston ' Euterpiad becomes the first American periodical devoted to the parlor song. [5]
  • The all-black African Grove theater in Manhattan begins staging with pieces by playwright William Henry Brown and Shakespeare, sometimes with additional songs and dances designed to appeal to an African American audience. [6] Ira Aldridge, the first renowned actor of African descent, is among the performers. He will later popularize "Opossum Up a Gum Tree", the earliest known slave song. [7]
  • John Cromwell becomes the leading African American singing school master in Philadelphia; his students will include other prominent masters, such as Robert Johnson and Morris Brown, Jr. [8]





Mid 1820s music trends
  • African American churches begin sponsoring concerts of sacred music in Eastern cities. [8]




Cover to sheet music for "Jump Jim Crow", depicting Thomas D. Rice in his blackface costume. Jimcrow.jpg
Cover to sheet music for "Jump Jim Crow", depicting Thomas D. Rice in his blackface costume.
Late 1820s music trends
  • The banjo spreads from African Americans to whites, with the first documentation coming from Joel Walker Sweeney in Virginia. [43] Sweeney will change the body of the banjo from the traditional gourd to a European drum shell. [44]
  • Showboats begin traveling along the Chattahoochee River, bringing the first professional entertainers to Columbus, Georgia and other towns along the river. [45]
  • Marches have become the most prominent part of military and other large band repertories throughout the United States. These are commonly characterized as using "fanfare-like melodies and a characteristic dotted rhythm motive. [46]




Early 1830s music trends
  • Quicksteps begin to replace marches as the most prominent music of the military and other large band repertory. This is, in part, spurred by the development of brass instruments, whose aptitude for playing melodies is reflected in the sprightly and flowing melodic style of quicksteps. Marches remain common in country dancing, as accompaniment for dances like the cotillion and the quadrille . [46]




Mid 1830s music trends
  • The Boston Academy of Music moves from education and sacred song into the cultivation of instrumental music by recognized European masters. [62]
  • John Hill Hewitt and other composers of popular parlor songs begin adopting influences from Italian opera, bringing a "new source of grace and intensity, as well as a tone of accessible elevation. [63]




Late 1830s music trends
  • Touring by European bands becomes commonplace across North America, as more inhabited areas have grown large enough to make performances commercially viable. [66]
  • American military bands and other ensembles adopt the "Turkish" or "Janissary" percussion instrumentation of triangle, bass drum, cymbal and tambourine. [73]
  • The banjo begins to be used as a solo instrument in minstrel shows, which will soon settle on the standard quartet of banjo, fiddle, tambourine and bones. [74]
Lowell Mason Lowell Mason.jpg
Lowell Mason



Early 1840s music trends
  • Brass bands spread across the United States, and are a well-established part of local musical life. [85]
  • Pianos have become an increasingly common household item, and are owned by most families that are capable of affording one. [86]
  • An African American dance technique using the heel of the foot without raising the rest of front of the foot dates back to this era; it will eventually become the basis for the stop-time ragtime dance. [87]




Master Juba Boz's Juba portrait.jpg
Master Juba



Stephen Foster StephenFoster.jpeg
Stephen Foster



Sheet music for Christy's Minstrels Christy Minstrels (Boston Public Library).jpg
Sheet music for Christy's Minstrels


Late 1840s music trends



Louis Moreau Gottschalk. Louis Moreau Gottschalk - Brady-Handy.jpg
Louis Moreau Gottschalk.

Related Research Articles

The music of the United States reflects the country's pluri-ethnic population through a diverse array of styles. It is a mixture of music influenced by music of the United Kingdom, West Africa, Ireland, Latin America, and mainland Europe, among other places. The country's most internationally renowned genres are jazz, blues, country, bluegrass, rock, rock and roll, R&B, pop, hip hop, soul, funk, gospel, disco, house, techno, ragtime, doo wop, folk music, americana, boogaloo, tejano, reggaeton, and salsa. American music is heard around the world. Since the beginning of the 20th century, some forms of American popular music have gained a near-global audience.

Minstrel show Blackface performance

The minstrel show, or minstrelsy, was an American form of racist entertainment developed in the early 19th century. Each show consisted of comic skits, variety acts, dancing, and music performances that depicted people specifically of African descent. The shows were performed by mostly white people in make-up or blackface for the purpose of playing the role of black people. There were also some African-American performers and black only minstrel groups that formed and toured. Minstrel shows lampooned black people as dim-witted, lazy, buffoonish, superstitious, and happy-go-lucky.

Themusic of Italy has traditionally been one of the cultural markers of Italian national and ethnic identity and holds an important position in society and in politics. Italian music innovation – in musical scale, harmony, notation, and theatre – enabled the development of opera, in the late 16th century, and much of modern European classical music – such as the symphony and concerto – ranges across a broad spectrum of opera and instrumental classical music and popular music drawn from both native and imported sources.

The latter part of the 19th century saw the increased popularization of African American music and the growth and maturity of folk styles like the blues.

American popular music

American popular music has had a profound effect on music across the world. The country has seen the rise of popular styles that have had a significant influence on global culture, including ragtime, blues, jazz, swing, rock, bluegrass, country, R&B, doo wop, gospel, soul, funk, punk, disco, house, techno, salsa, grunge and hip hop. In addition, the American music industry is quite diverse, supporting a number of regional styles such as zydeco, klezmer and slack-key.

Dixie (song) Popular American minstrel song

"Dixie", also known as "Dixie's Land", "I Wish I Was in Dixie", and other titles, is a song that has been popular in the Southern United States since the 19th century. It is one of the most distinctively Southern musical products of the 19th century and probably the best-known song to have come out of blackface minstrelsy. It was not a folk song at its creation, but it has since entered the American folk vernacular. The song likely cemented the word "Dixie" in the American vocabulary as a nickname for the Southern U.S.

Old Dan Tucker Traditional song performed by Virginia Minstrels

"Old Dan Tucker", also known as "Ole Dan Tucker", "Dan Tucker", and other variants, is an American popular song. Its origins remain obscure; the tune may have come from oral tradition, and the words may have been written by songwriter and performer Dan Emmett. The blackface troupe the Virginia Minstrels popularized "Old Dan Tucker" in 1843, and it quickly became a minstrel hit, behind only "Miss Lucy Long" and "Mary Blane" in popularity during the antebellum period. "Old Dan Tucker" entered the folk vernacular around the same time. Today it is a bluegrass and country music standard. It is no. 390 in the Roud Folk Song Index.

The music of Baltimore, the largest city in Maryland, can be documented as far back as 1784, and the city has become a regional center for Western classical music and jazz. Early Baltimore was home to popular opera and musical theatre, and an important part of the music of Maryland, while the city also hosted several major music publishing firms until well into the 19th century, when Baltimore also saw the rise of native musical instrument manufacturing, specifically pianos and woodwind instruments. African American music existed in Baltimore during the colonial era, and the city was home to vibrant black musical life by the 1860s. Baltimore's African American heritage to the start of the 20th century included ragtime and gospel music. By the end of that century, Baltimore jazz had become a well-recognized scene among jazz fans, and produced a number of local performers to gain national reputations. The city was a major stop on the African American East Coast touring circuit, and it remains a popular regional draw for live performances. Baltimore has produced a wide range of modern rock, punk and metal bands and several indie labels catering to a variety of audiences.

"I'm Going Home to Dixie" is an American walkaround, a type of dance song. It was written by Dan Emmett in 1861 as a sequel to the immensely popular walkaround "Dixie". The sheet music was first published that same year by Firth, Pond & Company in an arrangement by C. S. Grafully. Despite the publisher's claim that "I'm Going Home to Dixie" had been "Sung with tumultuous applause by the popular Bryant's Minstrels", the song lacked the charm of its predecessor, and it quickly faded into obscurity. The song's lyrics follow the minstrel show scenario of the freed slave longing to return to his master in the South; it was the last time Emmett would use the term "Dixie" in a song. Its tune simply repeated Emmett's earlier walkaround "I Ain't Got Time to Tarry" from 1858.

This is a timeline of music in the United States prior to 1819.

This is a timeline of music in the United States from 1950 to 1969.

This is a timeline of music in the United States from 1970 to the present.

John Thomas Douglass (1847–1886) was an accomplished American violinist who composed Virginia's Ball, which is the first known opera written by an African American, copyrighted in 1868. It was performed at least once, but is now lost. Virginia's Ball was a three-act opera, premiered in 1868 in New York, at the Stuyvesant Institute on Broadway.

This timeline of music in the United States covers the period from 1850 to 1879. It encompasses the California Gold Rush, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and touches on topics related to the intersections of music and law, commerce and industry, religion, race, ethnicity, politics, gender, education, historiography and academics. Subjects include folk, popular, theatrical and classical music, as well as Anglo-American, African American, Native American, Irish American, Arab American, Catholic, Swedish American, Shaker and Chinese American music.

This is a timeline of music in the United States from 1880 to 1919.

This is a timeline of music in the United States from 1920 to 1949.

<i>Slave Songs of the United States</i>

Slave Songs of the United States was a collection of African American music consisting of 136 songs. Published in 1867, it was the first, and most influential, collection of spirituals to be published. The collectors of the songs were Northern abolitionists William Francis Allen, Lucy McKim Garrison, and Charles Pickard Ware. It is a "milestone not just in African American music but in modern folk history". It is also the first published collection of African-American music of any kind.

Music of the American Civil War

During the American Civil War, music played a prominent role on both sides of the conflict: Union and Confederate. On the American Civil War battlefield, different instruments including bugles, drums, and fifes were played to issue marching orders or sometimes simply to boost the morale of one's fellow soldiers. Singing was also employed not only as a recreational activity but as a release from the inevitable tensions that come with fighting in a war. In camp, music was a diversion away from the bloodshed, helping the soldiers deal with homesickness and boredom. Soldiers of both sides often engaged in recreation with musical instruments, and when the opposing armies were near each other, sometimes the bands from both sides of the conflict played against each other on the night before a battle.

Harvey Hess

Harvey Hess was an American poet, librettist, educator, arts critic and theologian. His life and work are associated primarily with the states of Iowa and Hawaii.



  1. Crawford, pg. 314
  2. Chase, pg. 270
  3. 1 2 Blum, Stephen. "Sources, Scholarship and Historiography" in the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music, pgs. 21–37
  4. Elson, pg. 44
  5. Tawa, pg. 18
  6. 1 2 3 4 Riis, Thomas L. "Musical Theater". The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. pp. 614–623.
  7. Crawford, pg. 21
  8. 1 2 Southern, pg. 105
  9. 1 2 Darden, pg. 67
  10. Southern, pg. 116
  11. Crawford, pg. 142
  12. Burk, Meierhoff and Phillips, pg. 129
  13. Chase, pg. 132
  14. Horowitz, pg. 29 gives the year as 1822
  15. 1 2 U.S. Army Bands
  16. Crawford, pg. 151
  17. Abel, pg. 255
  18. Chase, pg. 233, quoted from Toll, Robert C. Blacking Up. p. 27.
  19. Crawford, pgs. 177–178
  20. Clarke, pg. 19
  21. Abel, pg. 171
  22. Abel, pg. 257
  23. Clarke, pg.20
  24. Clint Goss (2011). "The Beltrami Flute" . Retrieved April 16, 2011.
  25. 1 2 3 Crawford, pg. 191
  26. Kirk, pg. 385
  27. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Cockrell, Dale and Andrew M. Zinck, "Popular Music of the Parlor and Stage", pgs. 179–201, in the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music
  28. Crawford, pg. 180
  29. Crawford, pg. 234
  30. 1 2 3 Hansen, pg. 215
  31. Abel, pg. 65
  32. 1 2 Clarke, pg. 14
  33. 1 2 Kirk, pg. 386
  34. Southern, pgs. 101–102
  35. Malone and Stricklin, pg. 8
  36. Crawford, pg. 185
  37. Southern, pg. 125
  38. Hester, pg. 48
  39. 1 2 Southern, pg. 128
  40. Southern, pg. 603
  41. Crawford, pg. 201
  42. Peretti, pg. 22
  43. Crawford, pg. 205
  44. 1 2 Wondrich, pg. 22
  45. Abel, pg. 244
  46. 1 2 Crawford, pg. 277
  47. 1 2 Chase, pg. 233
  48. Birge, pg. 18
  49. 1 2 3 4 Crawford, pg. 147
  50. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 U.S. Army Bands
  51. Crawford, pg. 317
  52. Sanjek, David and Will Straw, "The Music Industry", pgs. 256–267, in the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music
  53. Crawford, pg. 185–186
  54. Crawford, pg. 169
  55. Darden, pgs. 81–82
  56. 1 2 Loza, Steven. "Hispanic California". The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. pp. 734–753.
  57. Crawford, pg. 181
  58. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Colwell, Richard; James W. Pruett; Pamela Bristah. "Education". New Grove Dictionary of Music. pp. 11–21.
  59. Birge, pgs. 25–26
  60. 1 2 Crawford, pg. 18
  61. Elson, pg. 102
  62. Crawford, pgs. 302–303
  63. Crawford, pgs. 242–243
  64. Chase, pg. 244
  65. Burk, Meierhoff and Phillips, pg. 144
  66. 1 2 3 Preston, Katherine K.; Susan Key; Judith Tick; Frank J. Cipolla; Raoul F. Camus. "Snapshot: Four Views of Music in the United States". The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. pp. 554–569.
  67. Chase, pg. 210
  68. 1 2 Crawford, pg. 165
  69. Horn, David. "Oliver Ditson and Company". The Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music. pp. 584–585.
  70. Chase, pg. 134; all single quotes in original; Chase quotes from the Collection that the songs "must be republished as originally written, or the elderly and middle-aged must be deprived of the satisfaction and delight they have heretofore experienced."
  71. 1 2 3 4 5 Birge, pg. 65, citing Francis M. Dickey's The Early History of Public School Music in the United States
  72. Tawa, pg. 55
  73. Crawford, pgs. 272–273
  74. Klitz, pg. 48
  75. Burk, Meierhoff and Phillips, pg. 168
  76. Elson, pg. 45
  77. Chase, pg. 208
  78. Laing, Dave; John Shepherd. "Tour". The Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World. pp. 567–568.
  79. Horn, David; David Sanjek. "Sheet Music". The Continuum Encyclopedia of Popular Music. pp. 599–605.
  80. Southern, pg. 109
  81. Chase, pg. 133
  82. Birge, pg. 1
  83. Abel, pg. 239
  84. Cornelius, Steven, Charlotte J. Frisbie and John Shepherd, "Snapshot: Four Views of Music, Government, and Politics", pgs. 304–319, in the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music
  85. Abel, pg. 133
  86. Abel, pg. 139
  87. Chase, pg. 414, citing Nathan, Hans (1887). "Early Banjo Tunes and American Syncopation". The Complete American Banjo School. Philadelphia.
  88. 1 2 Wright, Jacqueline R. B. "Concert Music". The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. pp. 603–613.
  89. Chase, pg. 131
  90. Crawford, pg. 302
  91. Crawford, pg. 152
  92. Chase, pg. 143
  93. Southern, pg. 180
  94. Chase, pg. 305
  95. Southern, pg. 132
  96. Chase, pg. 237
  97. 1 2 Crawford, pg. 212
  98. Crawford, pgs. 255–257
  99. Chase, pg. 162
  100. Southern, pg. 94
  101. Upkopodu, pg.
  102. Darden, pg. 121
  103. Southern, pg. 99
  104. Crawford, pg. 304
  105. Burk, Meierhoff and Phillips, pg. 165
  106. 1 2 3 4 Kearns, Williams. "Overview of Music in the United States". The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. pp. 519–553.
  107. Chase, pg. 202
  108. 1 2 3 Rycenga, Jennifer, Denise A. Seachrist and Elaine Keillor, "Snapshot: Three Views of Music and Religion", pgs. 129–139, in the Garland Encyclopedia of World Music
  109. Abel, pg. 140
  110. Crawford, pg. 203
  111. Darden, pg. 122
  112. Southern, pg. 92
  113. Maultsby, Portia K.; Mellonee V. Burnin; Susan Oehler. "Overview". The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. pp. 572–591.
  114. Goertzen, Christopher. "English and Scottish Music". The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. pp. 831–841.
  115. Erbsen, pg. 16
  116. Southern, pg. 62
  117. Burnim and Maultsby, pg. 9
  118. Chase, pg. 174
  119. 1 2 Chase, pg. 160, cites Tick, Judith. American Woman Composers Before 1870. p. 146.
  120. Crawford, pg. 238
  121. Chase, pg. 251
  122. Clarke, pg. 22
  123. Crawford, pg. 391
  124. Crawford, pg. 428
  125. Reyna, José R. "Tejano Music". The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. pp. 770–782.
  126. Chase, pg. 144
  127. Snell and Kelley, pg. 31
  128. Erbsen, pg. 21
  129. 1 2 Chase, pg. 182
  130. Crawford, pg. 425
  131. Southern, pg. 16
  132. Crawford, pg. 298
  133. Chase, pg. 252
  134. Levy, Mark. "Central European Music". The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. pp. 884–903.
  135. Chase, pg. 135
  136. Abel, pg. 248
  137. Southern, pg. 129
  138. Burk, Meierhoff and Phillips, pg. 177
  139. Darden, pg. 45
  140. Crawford, pgs. 283–284
  141. Southern, pg. 111
  142. Darrow and Heller, pg. 270
  143. Zheng, Su. "Chinese Music". The Garland Encyclopedia of World Music. pp. 957–966.
  144. Chase, pg. 342
  145. Crawford, pg. 334
  146. Southern, pg. 267
  147. Snell and Kelley, pg. 45
  148. Southern, pg. 141
  149. Clarke, pg. 17, Clarke notes that the "British thespian was seen to represent an aristocratic elitism."