Song in America

Politics & Culture

Politics Culture
New Nation (1750 - 1799)
  • The Beggar’s Opera, a ballad opera by Englishman John Gay, is heard in America
  • Settlers move outward into Maine, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky
  • Haydn composes several string trios from 1750-1767
  • Johann Sebastian Bach dies
  • The University of Pennsylvania founded
  • Haydn composes about 25 operas between 1751 and 1791
  • Bach's The Art of the Fugue BWV 1018 is published
  • Benjamin Franklin: Experiments and Observations on Electricity, Made at Philadelphia
1752 1752
  • First general hospital opens in Philadelphia
  • Benjamin Franklin invents the lightning rod
  • The Liberty Bell cracks on its first trial
1753 1753
  • First steam engine brought to the colonies in New Jersey
  • Christian Gottfried Krause: Oden mit Melodien (Vol. 1)
1754 1754
  • French and Indian War begins
  • John Woolman: Some Considerations on the Keeping of Negroes
  • Christian Gottfried Krause: Oden mit Melodien (Vol. 2)
  • Johann Joachim Winckelmann: “Gedanken über die Nachahmung der griechischen Werke in der Malerei und Bildhauerkunst” ("Thoughts on the imitation of Greek works in painting and sculpture"); in this essay, Winckelmann links simplicity and sublimity, and this comes to have a great influence on writers and musicians in the coming decades
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart born
1757 1757
  • Christian Fürchtegott Gellert: Geistliche Lieder und Oden
  • Domenico Scarlatti dies
  • First Indian Reservation is formed in New Jersey
  • Noah Webster born
1759 1759
  • Voltaire: Candide
  • Robert Burns born
  • Thomas Carlyle born
  • Johann Friedrich von Schiller born
  • George Frederic Handel dies
  • Benjamin Franklin: The Interest of Great Britain Considered with Regard to Her Colonies
  • Benjamin Franklin invents the rocking chair and bifocal glasses
  • Christian Gottfried Krause: Oden mit Melodien (Vol. 3)
  • Glass Harmonica (Glassychord) invented by Benjamin Franklin
  • Mozart (aged 6) writes his first piece of music
1762 1762
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Social Contract
  • C. P. E. Bach: Oden mit Melodien
  • Christoph Willibald Gluck: Orfeo ed Euridice
  • Jean-Jacques Rousseau: Pygmalion (finished 1765, premiere 1770)
  • Mozart: Symphony No. 1
  • Immanuel Kant: Observations on the Sense of the Beautiful and the Sublime
1765 1765
  • Great Britain imposes the Stamp Act on the colonies
  • Mozart begins composing buffa and seria arias (until his death in 1791); total of 28 for soprano, 8 for tenor, 7 for bass (and orchestra); also one for castrato, and two ensemble works; written with specific singers in mind
  • Thomas Percy: Reliques of Ancient English Poetry (45 English "Folk" ballads); the basis for Johann Gottfried Herder's collection in 1778
  • The Stamp Act is repealed, but the Declaratory Act is imposed
  • Mason-Dixon Line established
  • Christoph Gluck: Alceste (premiere)
  • Georg Philipp Telemann dies
1768 1768
  • Mozart begins composing Lieder (until his death); about 30 with German, French, and Italian texts; accompanied by keyboard or mandoline
  • Johann Adam Hiller: Lieder für Kinder
1770 1770
  • Herder meets Goethe; Goethe becomes Herder's mentor
  • Ludwig van Beethoven born
  • Georg Wilhelm Hegel born
  • William Wordsworth born
1771 1771
  • Gluck begins composing Klopstocks Oden und Lieder beim Klavier zu singen (7 strophic songs setting the poetry of Klopstock (published 1785/6)
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge born
  • Phillis Wheatley's volume Poems on Various Subjects Religious and Moral is published, the first book published by an African American slave. Wheatley is forced to publish the book in London, since no American publisher would accept the book.
  • Boston Tea Party
  • Johann Friedrich Reichardt begins composing Lieder, in total 700 (published)
1774 1774
  • Christian Gottlob Neefe begins composing his Lieder (on texts of Klopstock and Herder)
  • Goethe: Die Leiden des jungen Werthers (Goethe was 24 years old)
  • First Shakers arrive from England
1775 1775
  • American Revolution begins with Battles of Lexington and Concord
  • Daniel Boone leads settlers into Kentucky
  • Pierre Augustin de Beaumarchais: The Barber of Seville (premiere at Comédie Français)
1776 1776
  • Declaration of Independence
  • Thomas Paine: Common Sense
  • New Jersey grants women suffrage
  • Christian Gottlob Neefe: Oden (published, Text: Klopstock)
  • E. T. A. Hoffmann born
  • The French enter the Revolutionary War on the side of the colonists
1778 1778
  • Herder: Volkslieder, the first such compilation in German (revised and republished in 1807 as Stimmen der Völker in Liedern); collected by himself, Goethe, and others; based on Percy's Relics of Ancient English Poetry 1765)
  • Josef Anton Steffan: Sammlung deutscher Lieder (also 1779 & 1782)
  • La Scala Opera House opens in Milan
  • Voltaire dies
  • “Amazing Grace," text by John Newton and written in 1773, is published for the first time
  • Francis Scott Key born
  • Josef Anton Steffan: Sammlung deutscher Lieder (also 1778 & 1782)
1780 1780
1781 1781
  • Ivan Chandoškin: Chansons russes variées (violon solo or accompanied by another stringed instrument)
  • Mozart: Die Entführung aus dem Serail
  • Johann Friedrich von Schiller: The Robbers
  • Josef Anton Steffan: Sammlung deutscher Lieder (also 1778 & 1779)
  • Johann Rudolf Zumsteeg begins composing his Lieder und Balladen (about 300 total)
  • Niccolò Paganini born
  • American Revolution ends
  • Washington Irving born
  • Stendhal born
1784 1784
1785 1785
  • Alexander Reinagle, an English musician of Austrian descent, arrives in America and will settle in Philadelphia. His songs include a setting of R. B. Sheridan’s “I Have a Silent Sorrow”
  • Shay's Rebellion
  • Maria Theresia von Paradis: Zwölf Lieder (example of classical Viennese Lieder)
  • Corona Schröter: Fünf und zwanzig Lieder in Musik gesetzt (Text: from Herder's Volkslieder)
  • Mozart: The Marriage of Figaro
  • James Johnson publishes the Scots Musical Museum
  • Austro-Turkish War begins (until 1792)
  • Mozart: Don Giovanni
  • Constitution ratified
  • Joseph von Eichendorff born
  • Friedrich Rückert born
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe: Egmont
  • First U.S. Congress meets in New York
  • George Washington inaugurated president
  • French Revolution
  • Mozart: publication of several important songs, including "Das Veilchen" (composed 1785), "Das Lied der Trennung," "Wenn die Lieb' aus deinen blauen," and "Abend ist's" (later three composed 1787)
  • William Blake: Songs of Innocence (first half of Songs of Innocence and Experience)
  • Johann Friedrich von Schiller: Die Künstler
  • James Fennimore Cooper born
1790 1790
  • Benjamin Franklin dies
  • Mozart: Così Fan Tutte
  • First musical competition is held in America
  • Robert Burns writes his narrative poem "Tam o' Shanter"
1791 1791
  • Bill of Rights ratified
  • Mozart: The Magic Flute
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart dies
  • James Hewitt, English musician, arrives in New York. Songs include “In Vain the Tears of Anguish Flow”
  • Oliver Holden: "Coronation" (hymn tune "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name")
  • Francis (Frank) B. Johnson, considered by some to be the forefather of ragtime and jazz, born
  • Claude-Joseph Rouget de l'Isle: La Marseillaise
  • Gioacchino Rossini born
  • Raynor Taylor, an English composer primarily known for his works for piano, arrives in Philadelphia. His songs include “Jockey and Jenny”
  • Benjamin Carr, an English composer, arrives in Philadelphia, where he will be a major influence. Memorable songs include “Hymn to the Virgin: Ave Maria”
  • Victor Pelissier, a French composer, arrives in New York. He is credited with the first American opera, Edwin and Angelina
  • Benjamin Cook: Three Songs From Shakespeare
  • Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette sent to the guillotine
  • George Thomson: Scottish Airs/Welsh Airs/Irish Airs (through 1841)
  • Joseph Ignaz Pleyel, who would go on to become and important music publisher and piano maker, is forced to compose La Révolution du 10 Août 1792, ou le Tocsin allégorique (for voices and orchestra) while imprisoned in France
  • Eli Whitney patents the cotton gin
1794 1794
  • Etienne-Nicolas Méhul: "Chant du départ" (most famous battle song of the French Revolution, after "La Marseillaise")
  • André-Ernest-Modeste Grétry: La rosière républicaine ou La fête de la vertue (example of an opera typical to the time of the French Revolution)
  • William Blake: Songs of Innocence and Experience
  • Beethoven: "Adelaide," Op. 46 (song, finished 1796, Text: Matthisson)
  • John Keats born
  • Sir Walter Scott translates German ballads into English
  • Washington refuses a third term and John Adams is elected President
  • Smallpox vaccine introduced
  • Kal Friedrich Zelter begins composing his circa 200 Lieder, including 75 settings of Goethe, 13 of Schiller, and 8 each of Voß and Matthisson
  • American painter George Catlin born
  • Robert Burns dies
1797 1797
  • Luigi Cherubini: Médée
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge: Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner
  • Heinrich Heine born
  • Franz Schubert born
  • Joseph Hopkinson sets "Hail! Columbia" to Phile's "President's March"
  • Thomas Paine writes the words of "Adams and Liberty," set to the tune "To Anacreon in Heaven" by John Stafford Smith
  • Peter A. Von Hagen, Jr. publishes his song "Adams & Washington," which describes the warlike tension between France and the United States
  • Nikolaus Freiherr von Krufft begins composing his Lieder
  • Christian Gottlob Neefe: Bilder und Träume (songs; Text: Herder)
  • William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge publish Lyrical Ballads, marking the beginning of the English romantic movement in literature
  • Alexander Reinagle: "I Have a Silent Sorrow Here"
  • Peter A. Von Hagen, Jr.: "To Arms, Columbia"
  • George Washington dies (14 Dec) and several composers write songs and elegies (some in 1800) in his honor
  • Rosetta Stone discovered in Egypt
  • Balzac born
  • Pierre Augustin de Beaumarchais dies