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"Forever in Our Ears": Nature, Voice, and Sentiment in Stephen Foster's Parlor Style

"Forever in Our Ears": Nature, Voice, and Sentiment in Stephen Foster's Parlor Style SUSAN KEY “Forever in Our Ears”: Nature, Voice, and Sentiment in Stephen Foster ’s Parlor Style I hear her melodies, like joys gone by, Sighing round my heart o’er the fond hopes that die: Sighing like the night wind and sobbing like the rain, Wailing for the lost one that comes not again: Oh! —Stephen Foster, “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair” Stephen Foster’s songs embody the simultaneous loss and opportunity of his rapidly industrializing society. While nineteenth-century Americans struggled with the loss of their agrarian identity, they also embraced new commercial means of expressing that loss. New popular novels, journals, and sheet-music titles conveyed a shared national nostalgia in a senti- mental style whose emphasis on feeling was shaped by romantics from abroad but given a distinctively American character by native-born com- posers and writers. By mid-century, the industrial and creative capacity of the young nation united to produce a flood of sentimental products that expressed high-minded values and profound sentiments through everyday vernacular and common domestic scenes. Susan Key is a musicologist specializing in American music. She has taught at the University of Maryland, the College of William and Mary, and Stanford University. A coeditor (with Larry http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Music University of Illinois Press

"Forever in Our Ears": Nature, Voice, and Sentiment in Stephen Foster's Parlor Style

American Music , Volume 30 (3) – Apr 24, 2013

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Publisher
University of Illinois Press
ISSN
1945-2349

Abstract

SUSAN KEY “Forever in Our Ears”: Nature, Voice, and Sentiment in Stephen Foster ’s Parlor Style I hear her melodies, like joys gone by, Sighing round my heart o’er the fond hopes that die: Sighing like the night wind and sobbing like the rain, Wailing for the lost one that comes not again: Oh! —Stephen Foster, “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair” Stephen Foster’s songs embody the simultaneous loss and opportunity of his rapidly industrializing society. While nineteenth-century Americans struggled with the loss of their agrarian identity, they also embraced new commercial means of expressing that loss. New popular novels, journals, and sheet-music titles conveyed a shared national nostalgia in a senti- mental style whose emphasis on feeling was shaped by romantics from abroad but given a distinctively American character by native-born com- posers and writers. By mid-century, the industrial and creative capacity of the young nation united to produce a flood of sentimental products that expressed high-minded values and profound sentiments through everyday vernacular and common domestic scenes. Susan Key is a musicologist specializing in American music. She has taught at the University of Maryland, the College of William and Mary, and Stanford University. A coeditor (with Larry

Journal

American MusicUniversity of Illinois Press

Published: Apr 24, 2013

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