Welcome to the
Center for American Music Preservation
For the study and performance of American music
from the past for the present day
This Online center focuses mainly on vocal music
in need of more attention
covers a vast time span of American history,
from the 18th to 20th centuries.
Click the links below for more information.
To contact the CAMP,
Please help support the educational mission of
American Music Preservation.com
Order sheet music, CDs and DVDs from the
About the CAMP
This is one of most important early American music documents and should be as well known as the Declaration of Independence, and this music predates that important document of American history. Yet, few American historians and teachers and the general public are unaware of this important piece of American music history.
For the title and composer of this FIRST AMERICAN ART SONG from 1759 --
The CAMP Director is Roger Lee Hall, a music preservationist, musicologist and composer.
For more about his extensive background -- CLICK HERE
Print of Father Kemp's "Old Folks" Concert in 1856
American Vocal Music - Lost and Found
America is a country rich in song. Yet, we are in danger of losing this music from the past centuries since it is seldom heard in concerts or elsewhere.
There are researchers and academics who are uncovering many treasures from America's musical past, but they seldom get much attention and the music seldom gets regularly performed and seldom recorded. Also, the information is not always accurate. One example is in Sacred Harp books which seldom mention the importance of early choral music from 18th century New England, the foundation of our American song tradition.
One of the most active music preservers in the 19th century was Robert Kemp [shown conducting in the above picture]. He was affectionately known as: "Father Kemp." In addition to leading a musical ensemble, he also produced a valuable collection of choral music known as:
Father Kemp's Old Folks Concert Tunes (1860/1874/1889).
Read more about him and the American version of "Auld Lang Syne" - CLICK HERE
Why is American vocal music so neglected in our history books?
Pick up any book on American history covering any period, and you may find mention of one popular song or one songwriter like Stephen Foster but little else.
Many cultural historians and writers seem unwilling or unable to include any information about music from America's past.
This is very disturbing trend since music is an important part of the America's cultural heritage.
It is unfortunate there is little knowledge among the public of the vast treasures of music from America's past because they seldom hear any of it on radio, TV, or on Internet sites. That only contributes to the lack of appreciation for the importance of this music.
One journalist wrote many years ago, dismissing all early American music as "just a bunch of Yankee Doodle tunes." That is a foolish statement to make since those so-called "Yankee Doodle tunes" help us remember the cause and the sacrifices of those patriots from the American Revolution period and later which led to the foundation of the United States of America. And there was far more than "Yankee Doodle" written in early America, which is often incorrectly identified.
For more about the early version published version of
"Yankee Doodle" (f.l.: Father and I went down to camp) -- CLICK HERE
How do we address the neglect of American vocal music?
One of the most important ways of distributing music is through recordings.
Yet, many academic and other book publishers fail to include lists of recordings in their books.
How can readers learn more about American music from the past without hearing it?
Many record labels only include the same selection of titles, especially from well known composers like Ives, Gershwin, Copland and others.
The focus of CAMP is on vocal music. The term "song" is meant to include all types of vocal music, from solo vocal to mixed chorus with or without instrumental accompaniment.
This lack of earlier American music is addressed with music provided on CDs and multi-media DVDs available at the American Music Recordings Series (AMRS)
Music can be good for your health!
It is a proven fact that music, especially singing, is beneficial.
Here is a quote from a national magazine:
The greatest benefits from therapy -
cognitive, emotional and social -
come from effortful engagement with music.
--William Forde Thompson and Gottfried Schlaug,
Scientific American Mind (March-April 2015)
Yet that "effortful engagement with music" involves too many books and Internet stories devoted to music by today's celebrity rock/rap/hip-hop musicians.
The writing focuses more on the celebrity musicians rather than discuss what is being done to research and preserve earlier songs and songwriters.
With so much attention focused on more recent music, we are in danger of forgetting the worthwhile music from America's past two centuries.
The process from manuscripts and printed scores to performance and recording
Unfortunately, a lot of scholarly research fails to reach the musicians who will be the potential performers of their research findings.
Part of the problem is that scholarly publications tend to be very expensive and not widely available. Sometimes these scholarly studies fail to make the music accessible to performing musicians. While it is true that scholarly research is important, performances and recordings of earlier American music are just as important.
The goals of CAMP are these...
Located at the CAMP
Here are a few examples of little known American music treasures found at the CAMP...
Benjamin Franklin and his Glass Armonica
Francis Hopkinson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence
It is not commonly known that in addition to his many popular songs, Stephen Foster also composed a group of beautiful Sunday School hymns during the Civil War years. Some of these hymns in their First Recordings are included on a multi-media DVD-R titled,
Glory Hallelujah! Songs and Hymns of the Civil War Era
Edwin Arthur Jones, Massachusetts composer
From the early 20th century here are two stirring patriotic works from the World War I Era:
"Land of Our Hearts" by George Whitefield Chadwick, 1918
"Song of the Marching Men" from NEW EARTH cantata
by Henry Hadley, 1919
Both of these songs are available on the CD,
"Land of Our Hearts" - American Songs of War and Peace
A few key events from America's musical past:
First Singing Contest held in America
The Boston Yankee Doodle Ballad
How can you join the CAMP?
The goal is to make as many people as possible aware of America's worthwhile musical past, especially students and teachers.
If you are working on a project concerning vocal or instrumental music from America's past and would like to have an announcement posted about your research or recording, you can send your request to the CAMP. There is no guarantee of approval but all requests will be evaluated.
Special Music Collections
These collections are available on this site which provide information for musicians, teachers, researchers, and for listening enjoyment:
New England Harmony Series (NEHS)
Shaker Music Preservation Series (SMPS)
Stoughton Music Heritage Series (SMHS)
Read about this Deluxe DVD -- CLICK HERE
Help preserve America's forgotten music!
You can help support CAMP by purchasing one or more CDs or DVDs
(listed here or at the AMP Store).
If you know of an organization or foundation who might help support this preservation center, send the details to the CAMP.
You can also mention this Oline site to friends, musicians, teachers and students.
Let's make this music come alive again and be preserved for the future!
If you wish to join this preservation work or have any questions, click this link to
Contact the CAMP
These are a few misconceptions which continue to be circulated:
1) The earliest popular ballad, "Yankee Doodle," was written by Dr. Richard Shuckburgh in New York State and published as a broadside.
NOT TRUE. The earliest known printed broadside with words for "Yankee Doodle" are attributed to Edward Bangs, a Harvard College student who had served as a minuteman at Lexington, Massachusetts.
See The Boston Yankee Doodle Ballad
2) The earliest popular American songs were written
by Stephen Foster.
FALSE. The first popular songs were written in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
See American Song History 200
3) The largest selling and longest running American popular song hits are those recorded by Frank Sinatra or Elvis Presley.
WRONG. That distinction belongs to Christmas songs: "White Christmas" and "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer."
See Christmas Songs (RED, WHITE and BLUE).
4) Jazz is "America's Classical Music."
FALSE. Jazz music does not usually strictly follow a music score. It is more accurately classified as popular music. Jazz began in the early 20th century. But classical music in America began as far back as the 18th century with composers like William Billings, Oliver Holden, Francis Hopkinson and others.
See the American Composers Series.
Manuscript music shown at the top of this page:
"My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free" (1759)
The manuscript shown is of the First American Art Song, composed by Francis Hopkinson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and one of the designers of the first American flag. He also wrote a set of eight songs he dedicated to his friend, George Washington. For recordings of this historic song -- CLICK HERE
How does research become reality in terms of performance?
One way is to have recordings of the music available in the
American Music Recordings Collection (AMRC).
To see the complete CD catalogue
-- CLICK HERE
American Music Resource Editions
These titles are available exclusively at this site:
01 "As Time Goes By" - A Guide to Film Music
02 "Shake, Rattle and Roll" -
Electric Elvis and Bill Randle
03 "Obsession" - A Tribute to Bernard Herrmann
04 "Simple Gifts" - Great American Folk Song
05 "Celebrate, Rejoice and Sing" - Christmas Music in America
06 The Bill Randle Chronicles - From Electric Elvis to The Shakers
07 "Song of the Old Folks" - Father Kemp and the Old Folks Concerts
08 Music Masters - Fifteen Film Composers
09 "Give Good Gifts" - Shaker Music in the 20th Century
10 "Millennial Praise" - Singing New Englanders: From the Pilgrims to the Shakers
11 Preserving American Choral Music: Resources and Recordings
12 "The Best Choice" - A Sampling of American Communal Hymns
To order any of these titles, go to the AMP Store
"Blended Together" - Interviews with The Shakers (AMRC 0007)
Compiled and produced by Roger Lee Hall, this is a valuable collection of field recordings with interviews and singing by four Shaker sisters during the 1970s and 1980s.
The interviewer was composer and musicologist, Roger Hall.
"Great God of Nations!" - Interviews and music by E.A. Jones (AMRC 0008)
Interview with two women who met Edwin Arthur Jones (18523-1911), a composer that respected 19th century Boston writer, Edward Everett Hale, called: "one modest man who knows the power of music." Along with the interview are samples of music by E.A. Jones, including excerpts from his majestic oratorio titled, EASTER CONCERT (1890). The music performed by soloists and chorus of the Old Stoughton Musical Society, with organ and piano accompaniment, Roger Hall and Earl Eyrich, conductors.
Please Help Support The CAMP
The Center for American Music Preservation needs your support.
Please consider making a donation with a credit card, payable to PineTree Productions, through safe and secure PayPal.
For a donation of $25 you can choose one of the AMRC CDs listed below.
Or for a $40 donation you will receive both CDs - a savings of $10!
Shipping for each CD is included with your donation.
These are the CDs available for your donation:
AMERICAN PLACES - Musical Travels (AMRC 0028)
CELESTIAL PRAISES - A Celebration of Shaker Spirituals (AMRC 0017)
Click on this button to
After you have made your donation,
please include your mailing address for proper shipping.
Essential American Recordings Survey (E.A.R.S.)
See the complete list of 200 representative recordings
on CDs and LPs
18th century American Music Topics
William Billings - Father of American Choral Music
Singing New Englanders:
From The Pilgrims to The Shakers
19th century American Music Topics
Songs and Hymns of the Civil War Era
"Lincoln and Liberty":
Music From Abraham Lincoln's Era
The Musical Telephone:
A Romantic Narrative
(based on a chapter of Edward Bellamy's
19th century Utopian novel, Looking Backward)
20th century American Music Topics
"As Time Goes By" -
A Guide to Film Music: Songs and Scores
Music, by George!
A Guide to George Gershwin
"Back in the Saddle Again" -
Cowboy Songs Corral Round-Up
The Bill Randle Chronicles:
From Electric Elvis to The Shakers
Earlier American Composers
A Survey in Sound, 1770-1920
[clockwise left to right: Supply Belcher, Stephen Foster, Charles Ives]
American Song History Survey
A list of representative songs between 1759 and 1959.
Two CD volumes are available with examples from this survey.
Read more - CLICK HERE
The 19th century painting "Kindred Spirits" (1849) by Asher Brown Durand [shown at left] illustrates the blossoming of the Hudson River School of painters. That school has been written about and is well known.
However, it seems that other than American music scholars, few historians are aware of the beauties of American classical music which blossomed during the 19th century, with composers such as: Dudley Buck, George Whitefield Chadwick, Edwin Arthur Jones, and others.
To help correct that oversight, there are a series of CDs now available from this site which highlight American music from the 19th and other centuries. See the CDs available from AMRC -- CLICK HERE.
Music in New England
(18th, 19th, 20th centuries)
Shaker Music DVD Series
"Give Good Gifts:
Shaker Music in the 20th Century
"The Humble Heart" DVD
"Simple Gifts" DVD
For more about
music of the Shakers -
Stoughton Music Heritage Series
"DEDICATION" : Singing in Stoughton, 1762-1987
E.A. Jones: Composer and Violinist
William Billings and The Stoughton Musical Society
Answers to the questions at the top of this page:
1) "Chester" by William Billings (1746-1800) - Father of American Choral Music and major figure among the First New England School of Composers.
"Chester" was first composed in 1770 with only one verse. Eight years later, more verses were added by Billings reflecting the American Revolution and with some Colonial humor thrown in about those "beardless boys." This was the most popular song by a Colonial composer or "tunesmith" and was used later with different words from 1786 and a first recording of that version was made in 1976 by the Old Stoughton Musical Society, America's oldest surviving choral society.
2) "Adams and Liberty" (1798) - English tune: TO ANACREON (1740s)
American text: Thomas Robert Treat Paine - written in honor of the 2nd U.S. president, John Adams. This was years before the same tune was used for "The Star-Spangled Banner" in 1814 which was officially proclaimed the U.S. National Anthem in 1931..
3) "Simple Gifts" (1848) was written at the Shaker community in Alfred, Maine by Elder Joseph Brackett Jr. It was written as religious dance song and not as a hymn as often claimed.
4) "Mass in Eb Major" by Amy Marcy Cheney Beach (1867-1944), a member of the "Boston Group" (or Second New England School of Composers). Her choral work was first performed by the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston in 1892.
5) "Goin' Home" (1922) - based on the Largo movement from Symphony No. 9 (From The New World) by Czech composer, Antonin Dvorak. The song was written and adapted by Dvorak's pupil, Williams Arms Fisher, not as a spiritual by Harry Burleigh, as some have claimed.
6) "Love Me Tender" (1956) - used in the movie with the same title was not written by Elvis Presley or Vera Matson. It was based on the Civil War era song, "Aura Lee (or Lea)," and arranged with new words by Academy Award-winning composer and arranger, Ken Darby, whose wife was Vera Matson. He put her name on the song just to avoid embarrassment when it was thought the film and Elvis Presley would soon disappear.
How wrong he was! Darby said he grew to appreciate the Elvis song, especially after those welcome royalty payments which helped Darby purchase a nice big pleasure boat.
To submit an announcement, brief article or review
to the Center for American Music Preservation
CAMP is intended both for the general reader and for musicians, music teachers and students.
Students or scholars doing research in music from earlier America
are encouraged to submit items of interest to this website where they can be posted, subject to approval of the CAMP Director.
For more information about submitting items, click on this link to read the
Send your inquiries to:
Other Online Music Resources
A regular series of concerts in Massachusetts featuring singers and instrumentalists performing songs from the Great American Songbook. There are also many CDs including the songs of Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, lyricists Sammy Cahn, Ira Gershwin, E.Y. ("Yip") Harburg and others.
For more about the Sammy Cahn CD -- CLICK HERE
International Center For American Music
Aloma Bardi, Founder/ President
ICAMus - The International Center for American Music promotes knowledge and appreciation of American music and music making in the US. The Center maintains an inclusive orientation towards musical life in the United States, from its beginning to contemporary time. Significant attention is devoted to Early American Music. The Organization focuses on the study of musical sources, and on the unity and integration of research, teaching, performance, and experimentation.
Society for American Music - Mariana Whitmer, Executive Director
The mission of the Society for American Music (SAM) is to stimulate the appreciation, performance, creation and study of American musics of all eras and in all their diversity, including the full range of activities and institutions associated with these musics throughout the world.
Song of America - Thomas Hampson, Founder
We invite all lovers of song to explore connections between poetry and music, between history and culture, through the work of American composers and poets. Song of America is a database resource where you can listen to songs, learn more about them, read their lyrics, find scores, and link to relevant Web sites.
Bill Doggett Productions (Afro-American Composers and more)
The Colonial Music Institute
H. Wiley Hitchock Institute for Studies in American Music
Library of Congress (American Music)
Music of the United States of America (MUSA)
Society for American Music (Web Resources)
Help the educational mission of
American Music Preservation.com
Order any of the music books, broadsides, CDs, DVDs at the
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