Sheet music covers from the era with songs meant to inspire action, entertain, or comfort.
From Louis Armstrong's trumpet to Grandmaster Flash's turntable and from a Central African harp to an Apache violin, these objects represent just a sampling of how music is collected, curated and studied at the Smithsonian. Explore these photographs, objects, and artifacts that help explain how music infuses our everyday life, brightening it with its sounds and beats.
The year 2018 marks the anniversary of a number of remarkable music events and people. The pages in this collection travel back through history to look at some of the Smithsonian collections that relate to notable music events and people 50, 100, 150, 200, and 250 years ago.
Ella Fitzgerald (1917–1996) was a gifted American jazz artist. She had a warm and lovely voice, with notable rhythmic sense, versatility, and intonation, as well as exceptional talent at scat singing. Inventing her vocals as she sang, she produced melodic lines that put her in the category of great instrumental improvisers. In a career spanning seven decades, she created a legacy of acclaimed performances and a celebrated body of work.
Excerpt from America's Smithsonian, Celebration 150 years
Musical instruments, original sheet music, and portraiture preserved in the Smithsonian remind us that American music flourishes within a wide variety of traditions drawn from our multi-cultural heritage. From our country's urban centers to rural landscapes, the sounds of many musical sounds and styles fill our lives.