Love and Music

Love is so many things. It can be the feeling at the beginning of a new relationship, or the feeling when a couple has been committed to one another for decades. Love can be felt by family members, friends, adults, and children. Love can be directed at a person, a deity, a pet, an activity, a place, or sometimes even an object.

Music and love are natural allies. Love can result in joy, sorrow, serenity, or exultation, and music is a natural expression of these feelings. Explore some of the ways people have connected with love through music. 

Collections Highlights

Albums of Love Songs

The albums available through Smithsonian Folkways Recordings include a large variety of love songs, primarily of traditional music from around the world and of American folk music. Browse the selection below or explore more on their website


Below, there are videos which help convey the breadth of music programs featuring love at the Smithsonian.


Header image credit: Theodore Robinson, At the Piano, 1887, oil on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of John Gellatly, 1929.6.90.

"The shiny surface of the piano, the luminescent fabric of the woman’s dress, and the image of fingers stroking ivory keys conjures a variety of textures and sounds. Theodore Robinson painted this scene of a favorite model playing a piano in the Paris apartment of his wealthy friend “Archie” Chanler. Robinson was in love with Marie but never married her. The two spent a great deal of time together in Giverny, where their relationship sparked much gossip among American tourists staying at the elegant Hôtel Baudy."

This spotlight was created by Kate Duffus Stein on behalf of Smithsonian Music.