Music

A musical instrument made out a human thigh bone

Bronze Age Britons Crafted Instruments, Decorations Out of Relatives' Bones

Ancient humans "treated and interacted with the dead in ways which are inconceivably macabre to us today," says researcher Tom Booth

“Freeman's Hands"

The Remarkable Life and Work of Guitar Maker Freeman Vines

For nearly half a century, the North Carolina native has created instruments out of found wood—including some from a notorious hanging tree

"The lines of this song repay me in elation, almost of exquisite anguish, whenever I hear them sung," wrote James Weldon Johnson in 1935.

Why the Black National Anthem Is Lifting Every Voice to Sing

Scholars agree the song, endowed with its deep history of black pride, speaks to the universal human condition

To learn more about high school choruses, a team from Smithsonian Folkways Recordings collaborated with the chorus (above) at Oakcrest, an all-girls school in Vienna, Virginia.

How a Choral Director and Her Students Found Joy in the Folkways Archives

Watch this uplifting video giving voice to stalwarts of the American songbook

With a countrified accent, Will Rogers (Above: (detail) by Walter K. Kinstler, c. 1923) attempted to link arms with ordinary Americans, always reminding them of his Native American ancestry. “My ancestors didn’t come over on the Mayflower, but they met the boat,” he said.

Will Rogers Was One of a Kind

The popular raconteur touched Americans with his humor, newspaper columns, movie star power, philanthropy and as political agitator

The digitized trove features letters, photographs, diaries, programs, recordings and other artifacts.

Education During Coronavirus

Explore the Newly Digitized Diaries and Letters of Marian Anderson

Penn Libraries' online portal includes more than 2,500 artifacts related to the famed opera singer

93-year-old Vera recreates Adele's 21 album cover.

Covid-19

Nursing Home Residents Recreate Iconic Album Covers During Lockdown

Seniors in the U.K. staged photoshoots inspired by Elvis Presley, Madonna, David Bowie and other musicians

In the recent "Portraits" podcast, LL recounts why he turned to a 100-year-old masterpiece of the richest person in modern history—John D. Rockefeller Sr.—for his power pose.

How a Maverick Hip-Hop Legend Found Inspiration in a Titan of American Industry

When LL COOL J sat for his portrait, he found common ground with the life-long philanthropical endeavors of John D. Rockefeller

Trixie Friganza, noted feminist, suffragist and inspiration for "Take Me Out to the Ball Game"

Women Who Shaped History

The Feminist History of ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’

Trixie Friganza, an actress and suffragist, inspired the popular song of the seventh inning stretch

The sequencer on the 808, a row of 16 color-coded buttons, offered artists a way to store beats they programmed.

The TR-808 Drum Machine Changed the Sound of Pop Music Forever

Sometimes, technology has more impact after it's obsolete

Milton Glaser's Dylan poster was inspired by Marcel Duchamp's 1957 self-portrait. "The history of visual things in the world," says Glaser, "is my playpen."

How Milton Glaser Came to Design the Iconic Poster of Bob Dylan

The 1966 illustration of the folk-rock icon captured the psychadelic dazzle of the flower-power era

Following the Monday performance, the Barcelona opera house donated its 2,292 houseplants to local health care workers.

Covid-19

Audience of Plants Roots for Barcelona Opera House on Opening Night

The leafy crowd enjoyed a string quartet's performance of Puccini's "Crisantemi"

Debate over Beethoven's race sparked once again on Twitter last week. He is depicted here in a portrait by August Klober from 1818.

Was Beethoven Black? Probably Not, but These Unsung Composers Were

A music scholar examines the history of the decades-old theory, and what its permanence tells us about who is considered 'canon' in classical music

"Project Pride," a virtual concert and “time capsule,” will celebrate LGBTQ history, heritage and culture through musical performances, conversations and highlights from the Smithsonian Institution’s collections.

How to Watch the Smithsonian Pride Alliance's Free Virtual Concert

Catch "Project Pride," featuring performances by Tig Notaro, Rufus Wainwright and Big Freedia, on YouTube this Sunday at 8 p.m. Eastern time

Stream the free concert on YouTube tonight at 8 p.m. EST.

Virtual Travel

How to Watch the National Air and Space Museum's Free Virtual Concert

Catch the musical event, featuring Sting, Death Cab for Cutie front man Ben Gibbard and other artists, on YouTube tonight at 8 p.m. Eastern time

A billboard near Benton, Illinois. The rock 'n' roller from Liverpool was unknown in the States when he visited the town in 1963.

The Charming Story of George Harrison’s Vacation in Small-Town America

The Beatles guitarist visited his sister in southern Illinois just months before he'd become world famous

In May 1967, the Beatles celebrate the completion of their new album, "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band."

The Inside Story of the Beatles' Messy Breakup

Tensions leading to the split, announced 50 years ago today, had been bubbling under the band’s cheery surface for years

This week's feature is a 2012 adaptation of Jesus Christ Superstar starring Spice Girl Melanie Chisholm as Mary Magdalene and Ben Forster as Jesus.

Covid-19

The Show Must Go On(line): Watch Free Broadway Musicals Every Friday

Select Andrew Lloyd Webber productions will stream on YouTube for 48 hours at a time

From L to R: Ellis Marsalis Jr., Bucky Pizzarelli and Wallace Roney

Covid-19

COVID-19 Claims the Lives of Three Jazz Greats

Pianist and educator Ellis Marsalis Jr., trumpeter Wallace Roney, and guitarist Bucky Pizzarelli succumbed to complications caused by the novel coronavirus

Dolphin Boy Bands Sing 'Pop' Songs in Sync—and the Ladies Want It That Way

Female dolphins, it seems, aren’t immune to the allure of a harmonizing boy band

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