In the mid-nineteenth century the United States was musically vibrant. Rising industrialization, a growing middle class, and increasing concern for the founding of American centers of art created a culture that was rich in musical capital. Beyond its importance to the people who created and played it is the fact that this music still influences our culture today.
Although numerous academic resources examine the music and musicians of the Civil War era, the research is spread across a variety of disciplines and is found in a wide array of scholarly journals, books, and papers. It is difficult to assimilate this diverse body of research, and few sources are dedicated solely to a rigorous and comprehensive investigation of the music and the musicians of this era. This anthology, which grew out of the first two National Conferences on Music of the Civil War Era, is an initial attempt to address that need.
Those conferences established the first academic setting solely devoted to exploring the effects of the Civil War on music and musicians. Bridging musicology and history, these essays represent the forefront of scholarship in music of the Civil War era. Each one makes a significant contribution to research in the music of this era and will ultimately encourage more interdisciplinary research on a subject that has relevance both for its own time and for ours. The result is a readable, understandable volume on one of the few understudied--yet fascinating--aspects of the Civil War era.
Bruce C. Kelley is Associate Professor of Music at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Mark A. Snell is Research Professor of History and Director of the George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.