American Revolution Composers, Essay Example

As discussed in the section “The Music of Pre-Revolutionary Episodes,” numerous American composers before and during the Revolution based their songs and ballads on current and past events, due in part to the memories of these events still being fresh in the minds of the colonists and their penchant for nostalgia or a longing for things, persons, or situations from the past or a sort of homesickness for what was.

One of the earliest alleged American songs or tunes based on a current event is “Yankee Doodle Dandy” which according to tradition was given verses or words by Dr. Schuckburg in regards to Yankee troops stationed in the city of Albany, New York during the Revolution. Some scholars have suggested that this parodic song was created by English officers as a way of mocking the untidy and often boisterous Yankee soldiers or colonial troops that served with the British during the French and Indian Wars circa 1753. Some five years later in 1759, one of the first true American songs to record an event was Francis Hopkinson’s “My Days Have Been Wondrous Free” which recalled through words and deeds the events of the French and Indian Wars; then in 1760, Englishman William Tuckey wrote “A Thanksgiving Anthem” which was first performed at Trinity Church in New York City.

In 1763, the signing of the Peace of Paris Treaty which brought an end to the French and Indian Wars inspired amateur composers to commemorate the event with song, such as the “ode” or musical poem set to music by one Paul Jackson; in 1775, another song was published to commemorate the death of General Wolfe who had been killed during the Battle for Quebec in 1759. Ironically, there was also Hopkinson’s ill-timed “ode” dedicated to the ascension of King George III to the throne of England in 1762. In addition, there were songs and tunes dedicated to events that led to the American Revolution, such as a ballad known as “American Taxation” which was based on the passage of the Stamp Act by the British Parliament in 1765.