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Portrait of a Nineteenth-Century School Music Program

Martha Chrisman Riley
Journal of Research in Music Education
Vol. 38, No. 2 (Summer, 1990), pp. 79-89
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3344928
Page Count: 11
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Portrait of a Nineteenth-Century School Music Program
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Abstract

This article describes the development of Louisville public school music from its establishment in 1844 to its suspension in 1879. Rationales for music's introduction, debates over teaching methods, and choices of music curricula are examined within the context of Louisville society. Primary sources are used, including minutes and annual reports of the Louisville school board and accounts of mid-nineteenth-century historians. Although Louisville's early school music program had unique aspects, its development for the most part paralleled that of school music programs in other American cities. School board arguments in favor of music instruction focused on music's intellectual, physical, moral, and social benefits to students. Both "rote" and "note" teaching methods were used with success. Music curricula included books and series containing folk songs, songs by the authors of the books, and adaptations of songs by European composers. The music was simple in rhythm, melody, harmony, and form, and song texts were polite and sentimental.

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