Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Music of Stephen Foster

The importance of music to the Civil War soldier can not be overstated.  The music itself, however, can be over analysed.  The songs of Stephen Foster have been blacklisted or rewritten in the name of political correctness.  It must be remembered that many of them were written ten years before the war.  Although they presented a charming and picturesque vision of the Old South, they also pointed out the tribulations and torments of slave life, even under the kindest of masters, thereby arguing against the defense some slave owners offered that their slaves were protected and well cared for.

Regardless of how they are interpreted, Foster's ballads of the south are universally soul-stirring.  No other songwriter is credited with penning two different states' songs, Kentucky and Florida.  Bardstown, KY still conducts their tribute to the popular songwriter nearly 150 years after his death.  Elvis should live so long.

His Old Folks at Home became the official song of Florida even though Foster is not known to have ever visited the state. In fact, his reference to Florida's Suwanee River was added at the suggestion of a friend after the song had been completed.  Nevertheless, his music as well as other popular songs from the 1850's provided comfort to men on both sides as evidenced by this Smithsonian video clip: Music During the American Civil War.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting, keep it coming TSR