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MFA for Educators

Engage your students with the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to illustrate themes and concepts in any discipline.

The Soundtrack of the American Revolution

Music and song were important propaganda tools of the Colonists in America.  In a society where half of the male population and a quarter of the female population were illiterate, the importance of distributing news and political opinion through song was not underestimated by the movers and shakers of history.  In the "sing/play/dance-it-yourself" era, everyone was an active participant in the music making process.  

The following slides introduce three important songs of the period, "The Liberty Song", "Chester", and "Yankee Doodle".  Ironically, only "Chester" was an original American composition by a Bostonian William Billings. The other two tunes arrived from Britain, to be recycled into some of the most recognized patriotic tunes in America.  These songs were used as the call for independence, were important acts of patriotic rebellion, and were contributing to forming a new American national identity.

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