America’s Joyous Music. National Jukebox.

The Library of Congress has such a vast storehouse of all things relating to America’s people, events and history. Not to be forgotten is the collection of music that our ancestors played, danced, listened or sang to over the decades. At the online site for the Library of Congress is the National Jukebox with some 10,000 of the recordings anyone can listen to now and enjoy.

There is an audio player right on the site so you can listen to the many recordings. Operation of the player is very simple and free of charge. They have featured more than 10,000 pieces of music taken from old 78 rpm records that date between 1900 and 1925. The types of music are as varied as the American people.  There are musical theater songs, novelty tunes, dance music, opera and band music to name a few.  One of the most popular styles of music during the early 20th century was ragtime music.  Just listen to a few of those pieces and you can just imagine your grandparents or great grandparent tapping their toes and singing along to such popular hits of the day.

Besides the early 20th century music there are twelve special musical performances that are from the American Civil War period. These ballads performed in the early years of the 1900s; such as  “Dixie“, “Tenting on the Old Camp Ground” and “Alice, Where art Thou?” are fascinating to listen to.

There is a search box at the top of the page if there is a specific song, artist or genre you want to hear.  Another method is selecting a particular year and hearing all the types of music from that year. Placing in the search the year 1905 revealed 247 vocal pieces, 85 instrumentals and even 10 spoken recordings of poems and stories of the era.  Some of the pieces were performed in other languages such as Italian, German and Russian.

Once you find a selection, just click on the title. Below the title will be the person performing the musical piece, the running time and the date it was recorded. The audio player will appear with the piece selected.  Just click on the left arrow to play and you are all set.  An extra feature is the image of the front of the original record disc.

There is a listing called ‘Playlists of Recordings’ on the left side of the home page where collections of recordings under a specific theme are grouped. There seven recordings of the early Tin Pan Alley music, 10 recordings of ballroom fox trot music, 12 recordings of African-American songs during the Tin Pan Alley era, 18 recordings of John Philip Sousa concerts, plus 12 recordings from Irving Berlin.  These are just special playlists; there are many more songs and musical pieces under each topic.

So learn more about the type of music that entertained our ancestors a hundred years ago with the National Jukebox.

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