Early American Songs You Know by Heart

Cover for the Twinkling Star

While many of the pieces in this sheet music collection are unfamiliar, a number of these tunes are still getting lots of play today - though most have evolved, to some degree, from the 19th century version of the work.

These are the songs that are most familiar to the author, and probably to you, too, in a couple of broad categories:

Stephen Foster: There's the work of Stephen Foster. Stephen Foster, prolific and extremely popular American songwriter - known as the "Father of American Music" - died at age 37, with the only contents of his wallet being thirty-eight cents in Civil War scrip, three pennies and a note that said "dear friends and gentle hearts." His work constitutes a large chunk of this collection, and many of his popular melodies still quite familiar, despite being over 150 years old. There's Oh! Susannah, Camptown Races, and Old Folks at Home (you may know as Swanee River), My Old Kentucky Home, and many more.

Folk Melodies: While some of the folk songs here are completely new to me, I was happy to see , Auld Lang Syne, Soldier's Joy, Erin Go Braugh and a handful of other familiar tunes.

Religious Songs: Rock of Ages has been around for ages. Likewise Ave Maria.

Patriotic Songs: The Star Spangled Banner, Yankee Doodle, The Marine's Hymn, Rule Brittania, Oh, How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning are among the better known patriotic pieces.

Some of the songs contain familiar phrases or sentiments, or provide a twinge of recognition that may or may not be warranted - case in point: The Twinkling Star (Cover pictured above). Does not seem to be related to the imminently familiar Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star. What a great illustration though! Is that dog a Saluki? He's certainly very dognified.

What songs do you recognize?