The First American Song:
"My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free" (1759)
Did you know that the first American song was written by a signer of the Declaration of Independence?
The song was written by Francis Hopkinson (1737-1791), portrait shown at left. He was an amateur composer and a lawyer.
His song, "My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free,"
was composed in 1759.
"My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free" song manuscript
From the Library of Congress website:
"The first extant art songs composed in the United States are credited to Francis Hopkinson, a friend of George Washington and signer of the Declaration of Independence. Hopkinson, the only American-born composer for whom there is evidence of having written songs prior to 1800, penned "My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free" (words by Thomas Parnell) in 1759. Scored for voice and harpsichord, this song by Hopkinson is America's earliest surviving secular composition."
Words to the song:
My days have been so wondrous free,
the little Birds that fly,
with careless Ease from Tree to Tree
were but as blest as I,
were but as blest as I.
Ask gliding waters if a Tear of mine
and ask the breathing Gales if e'er
I lent a Sigh to them,
I lent a Sigh to them.
-- Thomas Parnell (1679-1718)
Francis Hopkinson autograph
America's first song:
1. My days have been so wondrous free (1759) - soprano and harpsichord
2. My days have been so wondrous free (1759) - mezzo-soprano and organ
Songs in tribute to George Washington:
3. A Toast (1778)
4. Beneath a weeping willow's shade (1788)
Eights Songs For Solo Voice and Harpsichord (1788) -
Dedicated to George Washington:
5. Come fair Rosina
6. My love is gone to sea
7. Beneath a weeping willow's shade
8. O'er the hills far away
9. See, down Maria's blushing cheek
10. Enraptur'd I gaze
11. Rondo: My gen'rous heart disdains
12. The traveler benighted and lost
This above CD of "Songs by Francis Hopkinson" is available
for a specific donation of $20.
Also available is a special non-commercial educational CD with "My Days Have Been So Wondrous Free" and seven other early American patriotic songs for a donation of $10.
To order either CD,
payable by donation to help support the preservation mission of this website, make your donation by credit card
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To insure proper delivery, send your mailing address to:
Early American Songs CD
American Music Recordings Collection (AMRC)
American Music Timeline, 1640-1890
Essential American Recordings Survey (EARS)
New England Music Archive (NEMA)
Society For Earlier American Music (SEAM)
Survey of Essential American Songs, 1759-1961