Welcome to the

American Music Preservation



CAMP focuses on historical research and rare recordings,
mainly vocal music in need of more attention,
and highlights a vast time span of American history,
from the 18th to 20th centuries.



New publications for 2017!

"The Best Choice" -
A Sampling of American Communal Hymns


"Blended Together" -
Interviews with The Shakers



"Give Us This Day":
Two Historic American Choral Music Traditions


To contact the CAMP,









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Please help support the educational mission of

American Music Preservation.com

Order sheet music, CDs and DVDs from the

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    About the CAMP

The purpose is to focus on selected American music. Though many music categories are included in the CAMP, not every type of music can be covered.

The focus in the CAMP is on vocal music, mainly from the 18th and 19th centuries, in need of preservation. That includes offering premiere recordings of music not found anywhere else.

Just to give one example: An unjustly neglected cantata by a Massachusetts composer from the 19th century, Edwin Arthur Jones (1853-1911). To read about the world premiere recording of this cantata, Song of Our Saviour -- click here

The guidelines at the CAMP are...

Selected CDs and DVDs from the CAMP are listed at this link:

American Music Recordings Series




The CAMP Director is Roger Lee Hall, a prolific American musicologist
and ethnomusicologist who has been working in this area for over 40 years.

For more about his extensive music background -- click here





Print of Father Kemp's "Old Folks" Concert in 1856

American Vocal Music - Lost and Found

America is a country rich in song.

Yet, we are in danger of losing much of the earlier vocal music from the past centuries unless it is researched and performed in concerts and recorded.

There are researchers and academics who are uncovering many treasures from America's musical past, but they seldom get much attention and the music seldom gets performed or recorded.

One of the most active music preservers in the 19th century was Robert Kemp [shown conducting the chorus and orchestra in the above picture]. He was affectionately known as: "Father Kemp." In addition to leading a musical ensemble, he also produced a valuable collection of choral music known as: Father Kemp's Old Folks Concert Tunes (1860/1874/1889).

Read more about Kemp and the American version of "Auld Lang Syne" - click here

American Music Lost

Pick up any book on American history covering any period, and you may find mention of one popular song or one songwriter like Stephen Foster but little else. Many cultural historians and writers fail to include any information about music from America's past.

This is a very disturbing trend since music is an important part of America's cultural heritage.

It is unfortunate there is little knowledge among the public of the vast treasures of music from America's past because they seldom hear any of it on radio, TV, or on Internet sites. That only contributes to the lack of appreciation for the importance of this music.

One journalist wrote many years ago, dismissing all early American music as "just a bunch of Yankee Doodle tunes." That is a foolish statement to make since those so-called "Yankee Doodle tunes" help us remember the cause and the sacrifices of those patriots from the American Revolution period and later which led to the foundation of the United States of America. And there was far more than "Yankee Doodle" written in early America!

One of the most important ways of distributing music to avoid it being lost is through recordings.Yet, many academic and other book publishers fail to include lists of recordings in their books.

How can readers learn more about American music from the past without hearing it?

Many record labels only include the same titles or music by same few well known composers like the Famous Five: Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, George Gershwin, and Charles Ives. These are all worthy composers but there so many more who need to be heard and recorded. For example, see a list of composers from New England
-- click here


American Music Found

Music can be good for your health. It is a proven fact that music, especially singing, is beneficial. Here is a quote from a national magazine:


    The greatest benefits from therapy -
    cognitive, emotional and social -
    come from effortful engagement with music.

    --William Forde Thompson and Gottfried Schlaug,
    Scientific American Mind (March-April 2015)

Yet that "effortful engagement with music" involves too many books and Internet sites devoted to music of more recent times. The writing focuses more on the celebrity musicians rather than discuss what is being done to preserve earlier vocal music.

With so much attention focused on more recent music, we are in danger of forgetting the worthwhile music from America's past centuries.

Though there continues to be a lot of scholarly research, it often fails to reach the musicians who will be the potential performers of their research findings. Part of the problem is that scholarly publications tend to be very expensive and not widely available.

While it is true that scholarly research is important, performances and recordings of earlier American music are just as important.



Located at the CAMP

Here are a few examples of American music treasures found at the CAMP...


18th Century










Benjamin Franklin and his Glass Armonica





This is one of most important early American music documents and should be as well known as the Declaration of Independence, and this music predates that important document of American history. Yet, few American historians and teachers know about of this important piece of American music history -- the song: "My Days Have been So Wondrous Free" by Francis Hopkinson.
Read more, click this link:

Francis Hopkinson and the First American Art Song




19th century


CELESTIAL PRAISES - Shaker hymn, 1841


In addition tohis many popular songs, Stephen Foster also composed a group of beautiful hymns during the Civil War years. Some of these hymns in their First Recordings are included on a multi-media DVD-R titled,

Glory Hallelujah! Songs and Hymns of the Civil War Era



Edwin Arthur Jones, Massachusetts Composer




From the early 20th century here are two stirring patriotic works from the World War I Era:

"Land of Our Hearts" by George Whitefield Chadwick, 1918


"Song of the Marching Men" from NEW EARTH cantata
by Henry Hadley, 1919

Both of these songs are available on the CD,
"Land of Our Hearts" - American Songs of War and Peace




A few events from America's earlier musical past on this site:

American Music Timeline

Part One: 1620-1818

Part Two: 1820-1920



First Singing Contest held in America



The Boston Yankee Doodle Ballad





How can you join the CAMP?

The goal is to make as many people as possible aware of America's worthwhile musical past, especially students and teachers.

If you are working on a project concerning a topic from America's musical past and would like to have an announcement posted about your research or recording, you can send your request to the CAMP. There is no guarantee of approval but all requests will be evaluated.

To send your query to the CAMP -- click here


Special Music Collections

These collections are available on this site which provide information for musicians, teachers, researchers, and for others:

New England Harmony Series (NEHS)

Preserving American Music Series (PAMS)

Shaker Music Preservation Series (SMPS)

Stoughton Music Heritage Series (SMHS)




Read about this Deluxe DVD -- click here





Help preserve America's forgotten music!

You can help support CAMP by purchasing one or more CDs or DVDs
(listed here or at the AMP Store).

If you know of an organization or foundation who might help support this preservation center, send the details to the CAMP.

You can also mention this Oline site to friends, musicians, teachers and students.

Let's make this music come alive again and be preserved for the future!


If you wish to join this preservation work or have any questions, click this link to

Contact the CAMP




These are a few misconceptions which continue to be circulated:

1) The earliest popular ballad, "Yankee Doodle," was written by Dr. Richard Shuckburgh in New York State and published as a broadside.

NOT TRUE. The earliest known printed broadside with words for "Yankee Doodle" are attributed to Edward Bangs, a Harvard College student who had served as a minuteman at Lexington, Massachusetts.
See The Boston Yankee Doodle Ballad

2) The earliest popular American songs were written by Stephen Foster.

FALSE. The first popular songs were written in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

See American Song History 200

3) The largest selling and longest running American popular song hits are those recorded by Frank Sinatra or Elvis Presley.

WRONG. That distinction belongs to Christmas songs: "White Christmas" and "Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer."

See Christmas Songs (RED, WHITE and BLUE).

4) Jazz is "America's Classical Music."

FALSE. Jazz music does not usually strictly follow a music score. It is more accurately classified as popular music. Jazz began in the early 20th century. But classical music in America began as far back as the 18th century with composers like William Billings, Oliver Holden, Francis Hopkinson and others.

See the American Composers Series.

Manuscript music shown at the top of this page:

"My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free" (1759)
The manuscript shown is of the First American Art Song, composed by Francis Hopkinson, a signer of the Declaration of Independence and one of the designers of the first American flag. He also wrote a set of eight songs he dedicated to his friend, George Washington. For recordings of this historic song -- CLICK HERE



How does research become reality in terms of performance?


One way is to have recordings of the music available in the
American Music Recordings Collection (AMRC).
To see the complete CD catalogue -- click here



American Music Resource Editions (AMRE)



These titles in the series
have been written and edited by Roger Lee Hall, CAMP Director:

01 "As Time Goes By" - A Guide to Film Music

02 "Shake, Rattle and Roll" - Electric Elvis and Bill Randle

03 "Angel of Peace" - The Boston Peace Jubilees

04 "Peace and Music" - A New England Music Miscellany

05 "Simple Gifts" - Great American Folk Song

06"Give Good Gifts" - Shaker Music in the 20th Century

07 "Obsession" - A Tribute to Bernard Herrmann

08 "Old Stoughton" - Singing Meetings and Concerts, 1762-1962

09 "Millennial Praise" - Singing New Englanders: From the Pilgrims to the Shakers

"The Best Choice" - A Sampling of American Communal Hymns

11 "Celebrate, Rejoice and Sing" - Christmas Music in America

12 "Give Us This Day" - Two Historic American Choral Music Traditions

To order any of these titles, go to the AMP Store




Preserving American Music Series (PAMS)


See the list of titles in this series -- click here






"Blended Together" - Interviews with The Shakers (AMRC 0007)

Compiled and produced by Roger Lee Hall, this is a valuable collection of field recordings with interviews and singing by four Shaker sisters during the 1970s and 1980s.


"Great God of Nations!" - Interviews and music by E.A. Jones (AMRC 0008)

Interview with two women who met Edwin Arthur Jones (18523-1911), a composer that respected 19th century Boston writer, Edward Everett Hale, called: "one modest man who knows the power of music." Along with the interview are samples of music by E.A. Jones, including excerpts from his majestic oratorio titled, EASTER CONCERT (1890). The music performed by soloists and chorus of the Old Stoughton Musical Society, with organ and piano accompaniment, Roger Hall and Earl Eyrich, conductors.












Please Help Support The CAMP


The Center for American Music Preservation needs your support.

Please consider making a donation with a credit card, payable to PineTree Productions, through safe and secure PayPal.

For a donation of $25 you can choose one of the AMRC CDs listed below.
Or for a $40 donation you will receive both CDs - a savings of $10!

Shipping for each CD is included with your donation.

These are the CDs available for your donation:




AMERICAN PLACES - Musical Travels (AMRC 0028)



CELESTIAL PRAISES - A Celebration of Shaker Spirituals (AMRC 0017)


Click on this button to




After you have made your donation,
please include your mailing address for proper shipping.

Send to:

Donation CD







Essential American Recordings Survey (E.A.R.S.)

See the complete list of 200 representative recordings
on CDs and LPs

click here








18th century American Music Topics



William Billings - Father of American Choral Music




"Millennial Praise"
Singing New Englanders:
From The Pilgrims to The Shakers












19th century American Music Topics

Songs and Hymns of the Civil War Era





"Lincoln and Liberty":
Music From Abraham Lincoln's Era



The Musical Telephone:
A Romantic Narrative

(based on a chapter of Edward Bellamy's
19th century Utopian novel, Looking Backward)








20th century American Music Topics


"As Time Goes By" -
A Guide to Film Music: Songs and Scores





Music, by George!
A Guide to George Gershwin



"Back in the Saddle Again" -
Cowboy Songs Corral Round-Up





The Bill Randle Chronicles:
From Electric Elvis to The Shakers








Earlier American Composers
A Survey in Sound, 1770-1920
(PAMS No. 3)


[clockwise left to right: Supply Belcher, Stephen Foster, Charles Ives]







American Song History Survey

A list of representative songs between 1759 and 1959.
Two CD volumes are available with examples from this survey.

Read more - CLICK HERE










American Paintings
American Music




The 19th century painting "Kindred Spirits" (1849) by Asher Brown Durand [shown at left] illustrates the blossoming of the Hudson River School of painters. That school has been written about and is well known.

However, it seems that other than American music scholars, few historians are aware of the beauties of American classical music which blossomed during the 19th century, with composers such as: Dudley Buck, George Whitefield Chadwick, Edwin Arthur Jones, and others.

To help correct that oversight, there are a series of CDs now available from this site which highlight American music from the 19th and other centuries. See the CDs available from AMRC -- CLICK HERE.





New England Music Institute





Shaker Music DVD Series



"Give Good Gifts:
Shaker Music in the 20th Century




"The Humble Heart" DVD



"Simple Gifts" DVD



For more about
music of the Shakers -







Stoughton Music Heritage Series

"DEDICATION" : Singing in Stoughton, 1762-1987


E.A. Jones: Composer and Violinist



William Billings and The Stoughton Musical Society















Answers to the questions at the top of this page:


1) "Chester" by William Billings (1746-1800) - Father of American Choral Music and major figure among the First New England School of Composers. "Chester" was first composed in 1770 with only one verse. Eight years later, more verses were added by Billings reflecting the American Revolution and with some Colonial humor thrown in about those "beardless boys." This was the most popular song by a Colonial composer or "tunesmith" and was used later with different words from 1786 and a first recording of that version was made in 1976 by the Old Stoughton Musical Society, America's oldest surviving choral society.

2) "Adams and Liberty" (1798) - English tune: TO ANACREON (1740s)
American text: Thomas Robert Treat Paine - written in honor of the 2nd U.S. president, John Adams. This was years before the same tune was used for "The Star-Spangled Banner" in 1814 which was officially proclaimed the U.S. National Anthem in 1931..

3) "Simple Gifts" (1848) was written at the Shaker community in Alfred, Maine by Elder Joseph Brackett Jr. It was written as religious dance song and not as a hymn as often claimed.

4) "Mass in Eb Major" by Amy Marcy Cheney Beach (1867-1944). Her choral work was first performed by the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston in 1892.

5) "Goin' Home" (1922) - based on the Largo movement from Symphony No. 9 (From The New World) by Czech composer, Antonin Dvorak. The song was written and adapted by Dvorak's pupil, Williams Arms Fisher, not as a spiritual by Harry Burleigh, as some have claimed.

6) "Love Me Tender" (1956) - used in the movie with the same title was not written by Elvis Presley or Vera Matson. It was based on the Civil War era song, "Aura Lee (or Lea)," and arranged with new words by Academy Award-winning composer and arranger, Ken Darby, whose wife was Vera Matson. He put her name on the song just to avoid embarrassment when it was thought the film and Elvis Presley would soon disappear. How wrong he was! Darby said he grew to appreciate the Elvis song, especially after those welcome royalty payments helped Darby purchase a nice big pleasure boat.






To submit an announcement, brief article or review
to the Center for American Music Preservation


CAMP is intended both for the general reader and for musicians, music teachers and students.

Students or scholars doing research in music from earlier America
are encouraged to submit items of interest to this website where they can be posted, subject to approval of the CAMP Director.

For more information about submitting items, click on this link to read the


Contact Information

Send your inquiries to:





Other Online Music Resources


American Classics

A regular series of concerts in Massachusetts featuring singers and instrumentalists performing songs from the Great American Songbook. There are also many CDs including the songs of Irving Berlin, George Gershwin, lyricists Sammy Cahn, Ira Gershwin, E.Y. ("Yip") Harburg and others.

For more about the Sammy Cahn CD -- CLICK HERE


International Center For American Music
Aloma Bardi, Founder/ President

ICAMus - The International Center for American Music promotes knowledge and appreciation of American music and music making in the US. The Center maintains an inclusive orientation towards musical life in the United States, from its beginning to contemporary time. Significant attention is devoted to Early American Music. The Organization focuses on the study of musical sources, and on the unity and integration of research, teaching, performance, and experimentation.


Society for American Music - Mariana Whitmer, Executive Director

The mission of the Society for American Music (SAM) is to stimulate the appreciation, performance, creation and study of American musics of all eras and in all their diversity, including the full range of activities and institutions associated with these musics throughout the world.

Song of America - Thomas Hampson, Founder

We invite all lovers of song to explore connections between poetry and music, between history and culture, through the work of American composers and poets. Song of America is a database resource where you can listen to songs, learn more about them, read their lyrics, find scores, and link to relevant Web sites.


Bill Doggett Productions (Afro-American Composers and more)

The Colonial Music Institute

H. Wiley Hitchock Institute for Studies in American Music

Library of Congress (American Music)

Music of the United States of America (MUSA)

Society for American Music (Web Resources)






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American Music Preservation.com

Order any of the music books, broadsides, CDs, DVDs at the

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