American Sheet Music: ca. 1820-1860
Table of Contents
Music Copyrighted in Federal District Courts, ca. 1820-1860:
Images of African Americans
American Instrumental Music

image: caption following
Fare thee well my bonnie Jean
by George Linley.

Three other ethnic groups are represented by a significant number of pieces: the Scots, the Irish, and Native Americans. Pieces representing Scots are typically pastoral folksongs. Images of the Irish are more complex--besides songs that champion independence for Ireland, there are comic songs and sentimental songs, many of the latter involving the separation of lovers when the man emigrates to America. The most powerful of these songs, "Kathleen Mavourneen," is frequently still sung. The most popular "Irish song" of the period, "Katy Darling" is, in fact, an Italian song by Vincenzo Bellini (1801-1835, composer of Norma, and La Sonnambula), and "Vaga luna che inargenti." "Katy Darling" was popular enough to generate a number of answer songs. Several of the songs referring to Native Americans were inspired by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's 1855 epic poem "The Song of Hiawatha;" one song, "The Grave of Uncas," was inspired by James Fenimore Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans.

American Sheet Music: ca. 1820-1860