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American Music Timeline

American Music Timeline

Part II: The 1800s

by David Johnson
1814 1842 1861 1880 1891 1897 Next: 1900-1920


Francis Scott Key writes poem The Defense of Fort McHenry, which appears in The Baltimore Patriot newspaper


Key puts The Defense of Fort McHenry to music of popular British song, To Anacreon in Heaven, and publishes "The Star-Spangled Banner"


Philharmonic Society of New York founded, nation's oldest symphony orchestra

Circa 1850

Col. Sandford C. Faulkner believed to write music and words to The Arkansas Traveler, song (and also a play) about a country fiddler, popular in Ohio River Valley


Stephen Foster writes "Old Folks at Home" for a minstrel show


Julia Ward Howe writes poem for Atlantic Monthly, "Battle Hymn of the Republic," based on hymn, "John Brown's Body"; William Steffe (probably) writes music to create popular Civil War song


Musical play, The Black Crook, forerunner of musical comedy of 1920s


New York Symphony Orchestra founded


In Spring, by John Knowles Paine, performed in Cambridge, Massachusetts, first American symphony published in U.S.


Henry Lee Higginson establishes Boston Symphony Orchestra


Metropolitan Opera House opens in New York


Carnegie Hall opens in New York


John Philip Sousa composes march "Stars and Stripes Forever"; creates more than 100 popular marches, orchestral music


Composers Scott Joplin, James Scott, and Joseph Lamb establish, popularize ragtime, give birth to America's popular music industry, ending reliance on Europe

Did you know?
In Bowling, at one time the law barred “nine-pins,” so a tenth pin was added, thus legally making it a new game.