Documenting the American South

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Signature of James L. Dusenbery and several photographs artistically combined.

"Fond of Music but Not a Musician": Dusenbery's Musical Life at the University of North Carolina

Douglas Shadle

1. The Varieties of Middlebrow Musical Experience

From parlor songs to singing schools, James Lawrence Dusenbery witnessed the gamut of middlebrow musical life during his senior year of college. In the opening section of his journal, he transcribed poetic verses that were commonly disseminated as sheet music or performed on stage. Although it is unclear whether or not he intended to convey specific musical impressions along with these verses, his transcription project is not unlike a college student from the twenty-first century making a notebook of his or her favorite radio tunes. After all, several of the songs in Dusenbery's journal would have been Hot 100 hits in the 1840s. He also left a few tantalizing glimpses of music from his everyday life in the main section of his journal. The character of these musical activities ranged from genteel to downright bawdy. Though at times only obliquely, his journal thus offers a surprisingly wide cross-sectional view of the variety of musical opportunities available to a college student in the antebellum South.
"Henry Clay's Grand March, Waltz, and
                                    Quick Step Arranged for the Piano Forte."
                            Composed by John C. Bartlett. Boston: Oliver Ditson, 1842."Henry Clay's Grand March, Waltz, and Quick Step Arranged for the Piano Forte." Composed by John C. Bartlett. Boston: Oliver Ditson, 1842.

Music Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

A persistent bifurcation between "high art" and "popular culture" began to define the American musical landscape in the decades following the Civil War, but in the antebellum era, the boundaries between elite and common forms of musical entertainment were much more fluid. This fluidity created a large musical middle ground accessible to several social strata and is evident throughout Dusenbery's journal (Levine). One night he might waltz at a dancing school, while a few nights later he might dance with friends and local prostitutes to the sounds of a fiddle. Today we think of waltzing and fiddling (and prostitution) as socially immiscible, but in the 1840s, these activities would have been common engagements for young men of a wide range of social classes. In general, though, Dusenbery's experiences consisted of common "middlebrow" amateur music making in the domestic sphere.
Three common types of antebellum musical life recur in Dusenbery's journal: music from the stage, parlor songs, and sacred music. Although these do not constitute the entirety of his musical experiences, their prominence suggests that Dusenbery was most interested in—or at least attuned to—these particular musical sounds. Indeed, these types of music were, by far, three of the most popular and widespread in the antebellum United States.

2. Songs on Stage

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Over half of the texts quoted in the opening of Dusenbery's journal were songs of English, Scottish, or Irish origin popularized in the United States on the theatrical or concert stage. "Sally Roy," for example, was a "Scottish ballad" composed by Englishman William Shield (1748–1829), a noted operatic composer from London with an antiquarian interest in folk music from the British Isles. Tunes like "Sally Roy" came to the United States when itinerant performers from Britain or Ireland embarked on American tours. [1] After these star performers generated sufficient audience demand, local publishers attempted to capitalize on their fame by printing editions of the most popular songs for home use, often by marketing them with the phrase, "As sung by —," prominently marked on the cover. [2] Although Dusenbery never mentions attending a show put on by an itinerant stage or concert musician, his inclusion of songs they performed demonstrates how popular the music had become by the 1840s.
"Jullien's Musical Tour in America:
                                    Collections of the New and Popular
                                Compositions." Composed by Louis Antoine Jullien
                            and arranged by Thomas Baker. New York: S. C. Jollie, 1853."Jullien's Musical Tour in America: Collections of the New and Popular Compositions." Composed by Louis Antoine Jullien and arranged by Thomas Baker. New York: S. C. Jollie, 1853.

Music Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Antebellum stage music attained great popularity in large part because of its enormous variety. Whether in a minstrel show or an orchestral concert, performances consisted overwhelmingly of "potpourris": mixtures of old and current popular songs, instrumental pieces, and other miscellaneous musical items. English songs like those found in Dusenbery's collection first appeared on stage as part of larger works called ballad operas. One of the most famous of these, "The Beggar's Opera" (1728) by John Gay (1685–1732), enjoyed widespread success in colonial and post-Revolutionary America. Unlike the serious operas by Gay's contemporaries such as Georg Frideric Handel (1685–1759), ballad operas combined arias (or "airs"), spoken dialogue, and other tunes to create a dramaturgical hodgepodge that did not necessarily create a cohesive narrative. Using this structure to their advantage, producers or singers could—on a whim or at a moment's notice—insert unrelated popular tunes at key dramatic points or delete unsuccessful selections from the previous night. This potential for pastiche found in ballad operas mirrored the larger trend of musical "potpourri" and contributed to the genre's mass appeal.
"The Universal
                                Medley." Arranged by James Pierpont. Boston:
                            Oliver Ditson, 1853."The Universal Medley." Arranged by James Pierpont. Boston: Oliver Ditson, 1853.

Music Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Musical potpourris, including ballad operas, filtered into practically every genre of American stage music during the early nineteenth century and contributed heavily to the wider dissemination of English popular songs. Instrumental potpourri overtures based on popular tunes, for example, were common in both England and America. [3] Concert societies similarly adopted the potpourri principle in their large-scale programming strategies. At the public debut of the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia, the nation's first standing orchestra performed Ludwig van Beethoven's First Symphony and a violin concerto by Frenchman Pierre Rode (1774–1830) alongside a ballad, two glees, and other popular vocal numbers (Madeira). Unlike programming trends today, which focus on musical masterworks, run-of-the-mill concerts in antebellum America resembled the variety shows of itinerant musicians such as Charles Incledon. Because the potpourri principle blurred the boundaries between "high" and "low" and reached a broad audience, traveling musicians and composers enjoyed an exceptionally high potential for popularity. One of the greatest beneficiaries of this trend was the poet Thomas Moore (1779–1852), whose works Dusenbery and the rest of America enjoyed throughout the antebellum era.

3. Thomas Moore's Irish Melodies

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In the opening of his journal, Dusenbery copied more musical poems by the Irishman Thomas Moore than any other single author. The specific poems found in the journal come from three separate printed collections, but only one of these included printed music: A Selection of Irish Melodies. This multivolume set, first published in London and Dublin in 1808, was a collection of common Irish folk tunes to which Moore added original texts. John Stevenson (1761–1833), a composer and fellow Irishman, provided keyboard accompaniments for the songs and composed original instrumental interludes called "symphonies." [4] The collection was an immediate hit on both sides of the Atlantic. Reprints of individual poems began to appear in American periodicals within months of the original publication, and full American printings soon followed. [5] Part of the collection's immediate success can be attributed to the particular affection Americans felt toward the Irish people, whom they viewed as still under the heavy yoke of British captivity. [6] More importantly, however, Irish Melodies captivated Americans on a purely musical level.
The music in Thomas Moore's Irish Melodies is representative of broad American tastes during the antebellum era. "Lesbia Hath a Beaming Eye," set to the tune "Nora Creina," has a delightfully catchy melody that combines the rustic gesture of the Scotch snap with a beautifully arched outline.
"The Minstrel Boy"
                            from Moore's Irish Melodies. Illustrated by D.
                                Maclise, R.A. London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans,
                            1846."The Minstrel Boy" from Moore's Irish Melodies. Illustrated by D. Maclise, R.A. London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1846.

Davis Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Click to hear singer James W. Flannery and harpist Janet Harbison perform "Lesbia Hath a Beaming Eye." [7]
"Lesbia Hath a Beaming Eye." [7]
The six phrases of each stanza create an AABBAA structure and give a definite shape to the text that would be hard to discern without the music. [8] The rolling triplets in Stevenson's accompaniment contribute further to the song's rusticity. Country songs like "Nora Creina" hearkened Americans back to the imagined pastoral bliss of their ancestral homelands. Unlike "Lesbia," which would have been a good opening number at a variety show, "She Is Far from the Land" would have been a sentimental showstopper. Set to the tune "Open the Door," this text combines the sentiments of love, melancholy, and heroism that appealed to Dusenbery and audiences throughout the country.
Click to hear singer James W. Flannery and harpist Janet Harbison perform "She Is Far from the Land."
"She Is Far from the Land."
The melody itself is quite difficult to sing, and the wide leaps and steep climaxes leave room for a skilled performer to add unique ornamentations to the song. Each stanza lies atop only two harmonically plain musical phrases, giving the entire song an air of simplicity and honesty.
Because Dusenbery was interested in melancholic poems such as "She Is Far from the Land," it is all the more curious that he omitted Moore's most famous poem, "The Last Rose of Summer," from his collection. This song was ubiquitous and had a profound effect on American musical culture. [9] In 1829, for example, a church musician complained to The Episcopal Watchman of Hartford, Connecticut, that collections of sacred music were rapidly becoming "profaned" with psalm texts set to the tunes of popular songs such as "The Last Rose" (Tansur 1). [10] The German composer Friedrich von Flotow (1812–1883) quoted the song directly in his opera Martha (1847), which was widely popular in the United States beginning in the 1850s. Even the famed soprano Jenny Lind (1820–1887), "the Swedish Nightingale," performed "The Last Rose" on her American programs, no doubt because of its popularity (Crawford, America's Musical Life 189). "The Last Rose," however, had the most enduring impact on the musical and lyrical style of nineteenth-century America's most famous composer, Stephen C. Foster (1826–1864), whose works would live for decades on the stage and in the parlor.
Click to hear singer James W. Flannery and harpist Janet Harbison perform "The Last Rose of Summer"
"The Last Rose of Summer"

4. From Stage to Parlor

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Parlor Album
                                Songs. Composed by Franz Abt. Engraved by R. M. Gaw.
                            Philadelphia: Marsh, n.d.Parlor Album Songs. Composed by Franz Abt. Engraved by R. M. Gaw. Philadelphia: Marsh, n.d.

Music Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Was Dusenbery a Stephen Foster fan? He couldn't have been during his senior year, which preceded Foster's first musical publications by two years. Given his taste in music, though, he almost certainly was later in life. At this early date, he instead copied texts by the British poet Felicia Hemans (1793–1835), whose verses were adored on both sides of the Atlantic and inspired several musical settings published in the United States. Although the music set to Hemans's poetry was not a staple on American stages (as we saw with Thomas Moore), composers did capture the theatricality of her verse in music published for use in homes. American sheet music publishing grew in tandem with the rising middle class and the budding piano-making industry. As pianos became more affordable, more households were able to acquire them. In turn, the affordability of instruments created heightened demand for music to be performed in the home. This spiral effect led to tremendous growth in both industries throughout the early nineteenth century. The market for sheet music greatly extended the popularity and geographic reach of song composers and, as we have seen, stage performers.
Beyond its sheer popularity, sheet music frequently played a specific role in the domestic sphere. Nineteenth-century household management—including creating a pleasing sonic environment—was the primary domain of women. Understanding that women were the majority consumers of piano music (and often sheet music for voice, as well), publishers developed marketing strategies geared toward what they perceived women wanted: emotional, touching music. These forces of real and perceived demand clearly contributed to the overall ethos of sentimentality pervading the popular music industry during the antebellum period. This trend affected men as well; indeed, it helped generate the kinds of music that Dusenbery found so appealing (Crawford, America's Musical Life 236-37).
Cover of the
                                sheet music for "Come to the Sunset
                                    Tree," with lyrics by Felicia Dorothea Hemans
                            and music composed by her sister, Harriet Browne. Baltimore: George
                            Willig, Jr., n.d.Cover of the sheet music for "Come to the Sunset Tree," with lyrics by Felicia Dorothea Hemans and music composed by her sister, Harriet Browne. Baltimore: George Willig, Jr., n.d.

Music Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

The gendering of popular music in nineteenth-century America reflected gender roles in specific social interactions. Since middle- and upper-class women were frequently taught to play piano, the instrument became the locus of courtship rituals. In these rituals, women would accompany a gentleman caller, or suitor, on piano while he played violin or sang. We encounter this ritual in the main part of Dusenbery's journal at a moment when he also briefly alludes to a musical setting of Hemans's poetry. On January 8, 1842, he recounts a story in which a potential love interest, "Miss Elizabeth" Holt, performed the song "Come to the Sunset [Tree]" for him during a visit to her home. After hearing the music, the romantic Dusenbery very reluctantly "tore [him]self" away from her. Though fleeting, this heartwarming episode demonstrates the role that music for the parlor frequently played within antebellum courtship rituals.

5. Music Set to the Poetry of Felicia Hemans

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The music set to Hemans's poetry ranges from purely sentimental American melodies to dramatic ballads to art song. Her poetry inspired the work of over a dozen composers, but her own sister, Harriet Browne (ca. 1790–1858), wrote more musical settings than any other. [11] Christopher Meineke (1782–1850), a versatile German-born musician who settled in Baltimore, also set to music several of her texts, including "Troubadour Song," found in the first half of the journal, and the well-known poem, "The Captive Knight." Meineke and Browne composed music for several of the same texts, which is a testament to the musical versatility of Hemans's poetry. "Casabianca," perhaps her most famous (and most parodied) poem, also made it into Dusenbery's journal. A comparison of two musical settings that Dusenbery might have known illustrates more concretely how her poetry was interpreted in the musical world.
Cover of
                                the sheet music for "Casabianca,"
                            composed by William West. London: J. Shepherd, n.d.Cover of the sheet music for "Casabianca," composed by William West. London: J. Shepherd, n.d.

Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music, The Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University

"Casabianca" is the tragic tale of a dutiful boy who remains steadfastly at his post aboard a burning ship. William West of Hackney, an enigmatic British composer, set the text in the late 1850s using standard musical signifiers of a sea ballad. The eight-measure introduction establishes the nautical scene with a rolling wavelike triplet figure in the left hand and a thrilling quasi-martial melody in the right. The singer picks up this melody, which becomes the foundation of the song's structure. West combines each group of three stanzas into a larger musical unit with statements of the martial melody in the first and third stanzas of each group (ABA ACA ADA, etc.). The musical phrases throughout the song tend to mirror the melodic shapes found in Moore's Irish Melodies, especially the sweeping arch with decorated cadences that was so common in the nineteenth century. [12] The setting has no unusual musical elements, but the combination of the pictorial barcarolle accompaniment and the stately melody perfectly captures the boy's courage and resolve.
Cover of
                                the sheet music for "Casabianca,"
                            composed by Joseph W. Turner. Boston: Keith's Music, 1845.Cover of the sheet music for "Casabianca," composed by Joseph W. Turner. Boston: Keith's Music, 1845.

Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music, The Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University

By contrast, an earlier setting by the Bostonian J. W. Turner (fl. 1840–1880) evokes the inherent drama of the story. The piano prelude begins with a loud, dissonant, and aggressive eight-measure unit that places the listener in medias res. The camera, as it were, then shifts to the boy in the following eight bars, as the pianist's left hand provides a barcarolle accompaniment to a soft and extremely high melody with lyrical attributes similar to Moore's and West's. This melody returns as the voice enters, but the accompaniment changes to a more plodding duple rhythm, thus eliminating any sense of the nautical surroundings. Generating musical variety, the vocal melody and the bass line become much more sinewy and chromatic than in West's setting, a gesture more in keeping with advanced parlor song composition. Turner adds to the drama by giving the performers more explicit expressive instructions. The first musical group (stanzas 1 and 2), for example, concludes with a difficult set of rapid arpeggios marked ad libitum, or "at the performer's discretion." In the second musical group, the barcarolle accompaniment returns, and as the boy is about to shout to his father, the music calls for singing "con agitazione." The expressivity, drama, and chromaticism of the setting step outside of Moore's Irish tradition and place it more firmly in the realm of Italianate operatic writing, a common approach to popular music that followed the rise in popularity of Italian bel canto opera in the 1830s.
Miss Holt's choice of "Come to the Sunset Tree" and Dusenbery's enthrallment with the performance reveal how prominent a role the emotions of loss, yearning, and separation played in antebellum courtship rituals. The text itself is filled with metaphors of death and loss: the sunset tree, the woodman's axe, the reaper, rest, and silence. Although the text does not explicitly mention a lover, the performance context found within Dusenbery's journal allows us to read it as one specific voice singing to another. Even without a context, the music supports such a reading. [13]
Click to hear Karen Shadle perform "Come to the Sunset Tree."
"Come to the Sunset Tree."
The song's most memorable motif may be found in the arpeggiated statement of the words "Come, come, come" at the beginning of the first stanza and of each repetition of the chorus. As the singer leaps from the first "Come" to the second, and then holds the third, the beckoning—and perhaps seductive—tone is undeniable. This simple musical gesture gives all the color and shape necessary for enriching an otherwise quotidian musical setting. [14]

6. Singing Schools, Camp Meetings, and Southern Harmony

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Christianity, and especially several varieties of Protestantism, permeated everyday American life much more fully in the early nineteenth century than we tend to appreciate today. It should be no surprise, for example, that Dusenbery kept rather meticulous records of his attendance at compulsory daily prayers and Sunday church services while on campus in Chapel Hill. Even at a public university, religious observance was not merely expected; it was required. Although he does not describe it at all, music at church services—and possibly at daily prayers—must have contributed significantly to his larger musical world. Despite this curious absence from his journal, sacred song found its way outside the church walls—and into the journal—through his experiences with singing schools and camp meetings, two common musical activities in the antebellum South.
American singing schools arose in eighteenth-century New England in order to foster literate congregational singing in Protestant churches. In contrast to the unharmonious and at times cacophonic singing common in New England churches, the style propagated by singing school masters was measured, used standard harmony, and was teachable to as wide a population as possible. Over the course of the century, singing school masters traveled the countryside with hymnals in hand and taught townspeople how to sing in this new style. Most singing school texts contained lengthy introductions about how to read music, how to sing, and the religious significance of sacred singing. Shortly after the turn of the nineteenth century, certain musicians attempted to re-introduce European sacred music into religious assemblies (Crawford, "Ancient Music" 225–55). This move drove singing school instructors southward, where they continued to lead students well into the twentieth century.
These southern singings schools make an appearance, though brief, in Dusenbery's journal. Early in the journal, he noted that "dancing & singing schools are all the go here at present" (July 31, 1841). In keeping with his ambivalence toward religion, there is no rich description of an experience at a singing school and it is unclear whether or not he actually attended one. Yet given his authoritative statement that "nearly all colleges are learning to caper & sing," he seemed to have a clear idea of what they were and how they functioned within his cultural milieu. Later (March 28, 1842), Dusenbery mentioned in passing that as he was returning from a German Reformed service, he met his friends Hunt and Long, who had just attended a singing school (and, unsurprisingly, slipped out before the lessons were over).
Although the reader is tantalized by Dusenbery's silence about the music taught at the singing schools, he does write about another religious occasion—a Baptist camp meeting—that provides interesting musical intersections with the schools. After expressing his general disdain for the proceedings at the camp meeting, he quotes the preacher as saying, "kind bruthring & friends, let us all sing that song about Jordan's stormy banks & will some kind bruthrin or friend give us the pitch" (August 22, 1841). Whereas music at these camp meetings, or revivals, generally involved spontaneous outbursts of heterophonic and improvised singing, this particular musical moment unfolded more like a singing school session: a song was named and a competent singer was called upon to set the key. In this case, the song was "On Jordan's Stormy Banks I Stand," a recent sacred hit found in various singing school hymnals used throughout the region.

7. "On Jordan's Stormy Banks I Stand"

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Lyrics for "The Promised Land."
                            A selection of hymns from the
                                best authors, intended to be an appendix to Dr. Watts's Psalms and
                                hymns. By John Rippon, A.M. London: Printed by Thomas
                            Wilkins, 1787.Lyrics for "The Promised Land." A selection of hymns from the best authors, intended to be an appendix to Dr. Watts's Psalms and hymns. By John Rippon, A.M. London: Printed by Thomas Wilkins, 1787.

Eighteenth Century Collections Online. Gale. University Of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Dusenbery's experience with "On Jordan's Stormy Banks" opens a window onto the transmission and dissemination of sacred musical texts in the nineteenth century. The song's text was written by Samuel Stennett (1727–1795) and was first published in 1787 by John Rippon (1751–1836) under the title, "The Promised Land." [15] The hymn was reprinted in an American collection as early as 1805, this time under the title, "The Heavenly Canaan" (Hymns on Various Subjects). After that date, Stennett's text appeared regularly in American hymn collections for several denominations, especially Methodists, as well as for use at camp meetings. [16]
Title page of Southern Harmony, and Musical
                                    Companion. Spartansburg, SC, 1835.Title page of Southern Harmony, and Musical Companion. Spartansburg, SC, 1835.

Music Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

In these early collections, hymn texts almost always appeared without musical settings, a testament to the music's oral dissemination. They were accompanied instead by markings designating their poetic meter—"long" or "common" meter, for example. These designations allowed for the free interchange of tunes that logically fit texts with specific meters. In worship settings such as a camp meeting, a song leader could suggest a hymn text and then begin singing it to an appropriate tune. In turn, the congregation would begin singing the text while drawing on its common storehouse musical knowledge. [17] Without concrete evidence, the free interchange of metrically similar texts and tunes makes it virtually impossible to know which tune was sung to a given text on any one occasion. Nevertheless, tunes and texts frequently did form associations and were frequently transmitted together. "On Jordan's Stormy Banks" is one of those texts.
Although it was known as a camp meeting song, "On Jordan's Stormy Banks" traveled to the singing school in 1835, when it was published in William Walker's Southern Harmony, and Musical Companion to a musical setting by Miss Matilda Durham of Spartanburg, South Carolina. Adopting the original title given by Rippin in 1787, Durham called her tune "The Promised Land" and added a refrain. Walker's Southern Harmony touted the newly developed shape-note notation, named for the four basic shapes in which the music was presented so that people with no musical training could learn to sight read it. Singing school masters spread Walker's collection throughout the mid-south during the 1830s and 1840s, precisely the time when Dusenbery came into contact with "On Jordan's Stormy Banks" at the revival. It seems possible that Dusenbery's friends sang the same song at their singing school that he heard—and possibly sang himself—at the revival.
Sheet music for "The Promised Land,"
                            composed by Miss Matilda Durham. The Southern
                                Harmony, and Musical Companion. Philadelphia, 1854.Sheet music for "The Promised Land," composed by Miss Matilda Durham. The Southern Harmony, and Musical Companion. Philadelphia, 1854.

Music Library Vault, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Whether sung at a revival or a singing school, "On Jordan's Stormy Banks" remained a perennial favorite among Southerners throughout the nineteenth century and beyond. The hymn's common meter text gives it great versatility. [18] It could, for example, be sung to the tune "New Britain," which we know today as "Amazing Grace." Unsurprisingly, then, it appears in Walker's collection three times. In addition to Durham's setting, Walker himself wrote the other two, "Sweet Prospect," and "The Heavenly March." The settings found in The Southern Harmony appeared later in The Sacred Harp (1844), another popular shape note tunebook by Benjamin Franklin White (1800–1879) and Elisha J. King (ca. 1821–1844) that is still used today. By 1910, The Sacred Harp included no fewer than six separate settings of the text. Today, mainstream congregations that use the text would probably know it conjunction with an 1895 arrangement of Durham's tune by Rigdon M. McIntosh, who transformed its minor-key austerity into a nondescript major-key hymn representative of his era. [19]

8. Dusenbery after UNC

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The decade of the 1840s witnessed enormous growth in the spread of musical variety around the United States. It was, for example, a golden age for traveling musicians of all types. Touring opera companies such as the Seguin troupe, led by English singers Edward and Anne Seguin, toured along the eastern seaboard and performed popular European operas, often in English translation. The eminent piano virtuosos Henri Herz and Leopold de Meyer performed to critical and audience acclaim throughout the country during the late 1840s. [20] At the same time, entire orchestras from Europe tried to woo American audiences. After Dusenbery left Chapel Hill to pursue his medical training in Philadelphia, it is possible that he attended concerts given by the Musical Fund Society, the nation's oldest standing orchestra at the time. [21]
Like many middle- to upper-class Americans in the first half of the nineteenth century, Dusenbery participated heavily in musical culture without devoting his life to music. As the phrenological report found partway through the journal explains, he was "fond of music but not a musician," a description befitting the vast majority of college-educated Americans in the middle of the nineteenth century.

Notes

^1. The English tenor Charles Incledon (1763–1826) popularized "Sally Roy" in 1816 and 1817 while performing his theatrical set, "The Wandering Melodist." Incledon traveled as far west as Cincinnati, but an Irishman named Webster had already popularized "Sally Roy" there three years earlier. See William Osborne, Music in Ohio, p. 20.

^2. This strategy was employed in an undated Baltimore publication of "The Knight of the Golden Crest," a tune composed by Englishman John Barnett (also spelled Barnet) (1802–1890) and Harry Stoe Van Dyk (1798–1828).

^3. One well known American potpourri overture is The Federal Overture (1797) by Benjamin Carr, an Englishman who settled in Philadelphia. The piece is a theatrical opener that combines several patriotic tunes, including "Yankee Doodle," into a panorama of American politics.

^4. Although the term "symphony" later referred to a specific genre (i.e., Beethoven's "symphonies"), English-speaking populations applied the term much more freely to instrumental compositions or accompaniments in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

^5. The first edition appears to have been printed in 1809 by G. E. Blake, a Philadelphia music publishing house.

^6. One early reprint in a New York magazine noted, "The following Verses are written by Mr. Moore; whose principles seem to have taken a purer hue from the devotion of his genius to the cause of his oppressed and native country" (Lady's Miscellany 383).

^7. James W. Flannery is a singer, scholar, stage director, producer, lecturer, teacher, and Irish cultural activist. The songs featured on this page come from his 1997 book/recording Dear Harp of My Country: The Irish Melodies of Thomas Moore, which combines evocative renditions of Moore's songs with perceptive scholarly commentary. He is currently Winship Professor of the Arts and Humanities at Emory University and Director of the W. B. Yeats Foundation. Janet Harbison is an award-winning performer on the Irish harp and founder of the Irish Harp Centre and the Irish Harp College. More information about her work as a performer, composer, and teacher can be found on her website. Thank you to Dr. Flannery for permission to use his recordings.

^8. Though the text suggests that the last four lines would be a chorus, Moore set the words to pre-existing music, not the other way around.

^9. Noted American music scholar Charles Hamm has claimed that "Every American songwriter in the half-century after 1810 was strongly affected by both melodies and texts of the Irish Melodies" (58). Jon Finson also discusses the Moore phenomenon in The Voices That Are Gone: Themes in Nineteenth-Century American Popular Song.

^10. The author, who might have adopted a pseudonym, should not be confused with the more famous English psalmodist William Tans'ur (1700–1783).

^11. We know very little about Harriet Browne, in part because bibliographic records frequently confuse her with Augusta Browne (1820–1882), an American song composer who enjoyed popularity at roughly the same time.

^12. The closing final phrase is particularly climactic and virtuosic.

^13. Thank you to Karen Shadle, who provided the vocal and piano tracks, and Dayna Wittman of WestStreet Recording in Durham, NC, for producing the recording.

^14. We can surmise that Miss Holt would have melted any heart with this song, but we are left to wonder how Dusenbery would have reacted to a performance of George Pope Morris's "On the Lake," set to music by Charles Horn in 1837. This song is quoted at length in his journal, but he makes no mention of it in his chronicles.

^15. Both Stennett and Rippon were British Baptist ministers. The collection itself was called A Selection of Hymns by the best authors, intended to be an appendix to Dr. Watts's Psalms and Hymns. By John Rippon, A.M.

^16. See, for example, Hymns on selected passages of Scripture with others usually sung at camp-meetings, &c.

^17. Even contemporary hymnals frequently contain a metrical index to assist with substituting a lesser known tune for one that is more common (or better known by a specific congregation).

^18. Common meter comprises four iambic lines alternating with four and three feet (8 6 8 6 syllables).

^19. This arrangement appears most notably in the latest edition of the popular United Methodist Hymnal.

^20. On the Seguins, see Katherine Preston, Opera on the Road: Traveling Opera Troupes in the United States, 1825–60. On pianists, see R. Allen Lott, From Paris to Peoria: How European Virtuosos Brought Classical Music to the American Heartland. On European orchestras in America, see H. Earle Johnson, "Germania Musical Society" in The Musical Quarterly.

^21. He narrowly missed an opportunity to hear the first American grand opera in English: Leonora, by William Henry Fry (1813–1864), which premiered on June 4, 1845, at Philadelphia's Chestnut Street Theatre.

9. Dusenbery's Music List

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"The Pirate's Serenade"

~ music by Alexander Ball, lyrics by William Kennedy

(Also published with music by J. Thompson)

See the citation

Ball, Alexander. "The Pirate's Serenade." Text by William Kennedy. Baltimore: George Willig, Jr., n.d. Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music. The Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University.

"The Knight of the Golden Crest"

~ music by John Barnet, lyrics by Harry Stoe Van Dyk

See the citation

Barnet, John. "The Knight of Golden Crest: A Song." Text by Harry Stoe Van Dyk. Baltimore: George Willig, Jr., n.d. Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music. The Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University.

"Come to the Sunset Tree" or "Tyrolese Evening Hymn"

~ music by Harriet Browne, lyrics by Felicia Dorothea Hemans

See the citation

Browne, Harriet. "Come to the Sunset Tree [or] Tyrolese Evening Hymn." Text by Felicia Dorothea Hemans. Baltimore: George Willig, Jr., n.d. 19th-Century American Sheet Music Project. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina Music Lib.

"Cherokee Indian Death Song"

~ unknown composer, lyrics by Royall Tyler (republished by Anne Home Hunter)

See the citation

"Cherokee Indian Death Song." Text by Royall Tyler, republished by Anne Home Hunter. Philadelphia: G. E. Blake, n.d. Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music. The Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University.

"She Is Far from the Land"

~ music by J. F. Duggan, lyrics by Thomas Moore

See the citation

Duggan, J. F. "She Is Far from the Land." Text by Thomas Moore. Dreams of the Past: Six Songs. Philadelphia: Klemm & Brother, 1844. 19th-Century American Sheet Music Project. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina Music Lib.

"Will You Come to the Bow'r"

~ music by J. Eckhard, lyrics by Thomas Moore

(Also published with music by two unknown composers)

See the citation

Eckhard, J. "Will You Come to the Bow'r." Text by Thomas Moore. Philadelphia: G. E. Blake, n.d. Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music. The Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University.

"Near the Lake Where Drooped the Willow: A Southern Refrain"

~ music by Charles E. Horn, lyrics by George Pope Morris

(Also published with music by S. P. T.)

See the citation

Horn, Charles E. "Near the Lake Where Drooped the Willow: A Southern Refrain." Text by George Pope Morris. New York: Firth, Pond & Co, 1839. Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music. The Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University.

"I Won't Be a Nun!"

~ unknown composer and lyricist

See the citation

"I Won't Be a Nun!" Baltimore: Cole's Music, n.d. Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music. The Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University.

"Lesbia Hath a Beaming Eye"

~ music by unknown composer, lyrics by Thomas Moore

See the citation

"Lesbia Hath a Beaming Eye." Text by Thomas Moore. A Collection of Popular Airs: Arranged as Cotillions for Balls and Private Parties, with New Figures. New York: E. Riley, n.d. Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music. The Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University.

"The Warrior Crossed the Ocean's Foam: Troubadour Song"

~ music by Christopher Meineke, lyrics by Felicia Dorothea Hemans

See the citation

Meineke, C[hristopher]. "The Warrior Crossed the Ocean's Foam: Troubadour Song." Text by Felicia Dorothea Hemans. Baltimore: George Willig, Jr., 1836. Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music. The Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University.

"The Minstrel Boy"

~ music by unknown composer, lyrics by Thomas Moore

(Also published with music by Harry Rowe Shelley)

See the citation

"The Minstrel Boy." Text by Thomas Moore. Baltimore: J. Carr, n.d. Print. Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music. The Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University.

"The Minstrel Boy"

~ music by Harry Rowe Shelley, lyrics by Thomas Moore

(Also published with music by an unknown composer)

See the citation

Shelley, Harry Rowe. "The Minstrel Boy." Text by Thomas Moore. New York: William A. Pond, 1882. Sheldon Harris Sheet Music Collection. Oxford: U of Mississippi.

"Sally Roy"

~ music by William Shield, unknown lyricist

See the citation

Shield, William. "Sally Roy." Baltimore: G. E. Blake, n.d. Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music. The Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University.

"Tell Her I'll Love Her"

~ music by William Shield, unknown lyricist

See the citation

Shield, William. "Tell Her I'll Love Her." Philadelphia: G. E. Blake, n.d. Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music. The Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University.

"Long Time Ago: A Glee"

~ music by S. P. T., lyrics by George Pope Morris

(Also published with music by Charles E. Horn)

See the citation

S. P. T. "Long Time Ago: A Glee." Text by George Pope Morris. Boston: Henry Prentiss, c. 1839. African American Sheet Music Project. Providence: Brown U.

"The Pirate's Serenade"

~ music by J. Thompson, lyrics by William Kennedy

(Also published with music by Alexander Ball)

See the citation

Thompson, J. "The Pirate's Serenade." Text by William Kennedy. Boston: Henry Prentiss, 1838. 19th-Century American Sheet Music Project. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina Music Lib.

"Casabianca: A Descriptive Musical Ballad"

~ music by Joseph W. Turner, lyrics by Felicia Dorothea Hemans

(Also published with music by William West)

See the citation

Turner, John W. "Casabianca: A Descriptive Musical Ballad." Text by Felicia Dorothea Hemans. Boston: Keith's Music, 1845. Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music. The Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University.

"Casabianca"

~ music by William West, lyrics by Felicia Dorothea Hemans

(Also published with music by Joseph W. Turner)

See the citation

West, William. "Casabianca." Text by Felicia Dorothea Hemans. London: J. Shepherd, n.d. Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music. The Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University.

"Will You Come to the Bower"

~ music by unknown composer, lyrics by Thomas Moore

(Also published with music by J. Eckhard)

See the citation

"Will You Come to the Bower." Text by Thomas Moore. Baltimore: Carrs Music, n.d. Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music. The Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University.

"Will You Come to the Bower"

~ music by unknown composer, lyrics by Thomas Moore

(Also published with music by J. Eckhard)

See the citation

"Will You Come to the Bower." Text by Thomas Moore. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 19th-Century American Sheet Music Project. Chapel Hill: U of North Carolina Music Lib.

"The Soldier's Grave: Monody on the Death of Sir John Moore"

~ music by Thomas Williams, lyrics by Charles Wolfe

See the citation

Williams, Thomas. "The Soldier's Grave: Monody on the Death of Sir John Moore." Text by Charles Wolfe. Boston: C. Bradlee, n.d. Lester S. Levy Collection of Sheet Music. The Sheridan Libraries, Johns Hopkins University.


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