American Music

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.

The patriotic marches of John Philip Sousa, the power and emotion of the blues, the swinging tones of the big band era, the seductive rhythms of jazz, the joys and sorrows expressed in country music, and the hard charging of rock ’n’ roll, all serve to unite us. Their rich variety communicates across generations, races, and languages, and serves to break down cultural barriers.