De Boatmen's Dance Analysis

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LaPlante’s overture is based on Daniel Emmett’s “De Boatmen’s Dance,” a ninetieth century minstrel song that celebrates the boatmen of the Ohio River. Emmett, an Ohio native, is also credited with writing thirty minstrel tunes, including Old Dan Tucker and Dixie. Minstrel songs, the first American-born music genre, signaled the start of a prolonged tradition of African-American music being appropriated for mainstream audiences. Touring minstrel shows, which afforded audiences in various regions of the country exposure to the same music, propelled the development of American popular music in the nineteenth century (Cox, 2011). Although minstrel shows were advertised as authentic versions of African-American music, white northerners composed…show more content…
He and his bandsmen served as musicians and stretcher-bearers throughout the war. In 1863, when Gilmore and his men were posted to New Orleans, he was ordered to reorganize the state’s military bands. During this time, it is believed that Gilmore composed When Johnny Comes Marching Home. Even to this day, Gilmore’s tune is still one of the most recognizable songs from the Civil War era. After the Civil War, Gilmore was responsible for initiating the evolution of the American band tradition. With the addition of woodwind instruments to his new post-war ensembles, the professional wind band had supplanted the previously popular brass band (Hebert, 2000). Additionally, Gilmore started to gain notoriety for organizing large-scale concerts. The 1869 National Peace Jubilee and the 1872 World Peace Jubilee, which Gilmore organized, featured over eleven thousand musicians (Crawford & Hamberlin, 2013). These behemoth performances made Gilmore the most prominent band director of his day. In their arrangement, Pearson and Elledge have created a rhapsody-like treatment of Gilmore’s melody. The arrangement stays almost exclusively in Gilmore’s original key of G minor, with only a brief section in F minor. This piece gives middle school musicians a wonderful opportunity to play a familiar folk tune in compound meter (6/8…show more content…
In 1871, as part of the Homestead Act, Dr. Brewster M. Higley moved from Indiana to Smith County, Kansas (Lickteig, 2002). Higley was so taken with the beauty of his new home state that he penned the poem My Western Home. In 1873, a local newspaper, the Smith County Pioneer, published Higley’s poem. The western imagery of Higley’s prose made such an impression on local homesteaders that the poem was printed and reprinted in several other local publications. Eventually, in 1874, Higley’s friend Daniel Kelley composed a melody to accompany the poem’s text. During this time in American history, cowboy poetry and songs flourished. In the Western United States, railroad terminals became the places where cowboy songs were “sung, shared, and then taken to new parts of the West by the cowboys returning home” (Western and Cowboy Songs, n.d.). In fact, the proximity of Higley and Kelley’s homesteads to the Abilene railroad terminal likely helped their song spread rapidly across the West. By 1925, the song had been published as sheet music and in 1930, the title was changed to Home on the Range. Then in 1947, it was finally adopted as the Kansas State

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