Musical History

Composer and pianist George Gershwin, whose 1924 composition "Rhapsody in Blue" entered the public domain on January 1, 2020

Start of 2020 Ushers Thousands of Once-Copyrighted Works Into the Public Domain

After 95 years of exclusivity, these films, books and compositions are now free for use by everyone

Via Getty: "A group of young women in traditional costumes play Galician music with bagpipes, tambourines and drum in the historic center during the San Froilan festivities on October 6, 2019 in Lugo, Galicia, Spain."

Scientists Show Humans May Share a 'Musical Grammar'

Across 60 cultures, songs sung in similar social contexts have shared musical features

American jazz musicians Charlie Parker, on alto sax, and Thelonious Monk, on piano, perform at the Open Door Cafe, in New York City on September 14, 1953.

The Long Journey of Charlie Parker’s Saxophone

The newly acquired instrument, played by the father of bebop, is on view at the National Museum of African American History and Culture

Jessye Norman at L'Olympia on June 26, 2012.

World-Renowned Soprano Jessye Norman Dies at 74

The opera star, who championed diversity in the arts, was known for her singular voice and versatile range

Moving forward, individuals will only be able to spray paint the wall on specified days

Future Graffiti Additions to Prague’s John Lennon Wall Will Be Strictly Regulated

Local authorities are introducing security measures in response to vandalism, obscene graffiti

In 1969, the New York Times described Joe Cocker’s air guitar as “unusual gesturing.”

An Electrifying History of Air Guitar

How the world's most popular invisible instrument became such a hit

João Gilberto circa 1960.

Bossa Nova Became a Turning Point in Brazilian Culture. João Gilberto Helped Launch It

The musician, who died at 88, developed the understated style in his sister's bathroom, launching the cool, sophisticated sound to international acclaim

Catching some shut eye at Woodstock.

Archaeologists Are Finding Woodstock Really Did Take On Life of Its Own

If it seems weird to survey a site that’s only 50 years old, it is. But it's not as unusual as you’d think

A team from Howard University’s Department of Communication, Culture and Media Studies and the Smithsonian Folklife Festival recorded voices from the #DontMuteDC movement on June 6: (L to R) Donald Campbell, Ron Moten, Dr. Natalie Hopkinson, Dr. Brandi Summers, Tone P, Nico Hobson.

The Social Power of Music Will Take Center Stage at the 53rd Annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival

The D.C. tradition will hit the National Mall for two action-packed days this weekend. Here's what to know about this year's lineup

Firefighters work to stop the blaze that broke out the backlot at Universal in 2008.

Universal Music Group Claimed No Master Recording Burned in 2008 Blaze. New Report Estimates Hundreds of Thousands Did

Explosive allegations in <i>The New York Times Magazine</i> claim 500,000 one-of-a-kind master recordings were destroyed in Universal Fire

The 92-second clip that shows the Fab Four playing their song “Paperback Writer.”

Lost Footage of One of the Beatles' Last Live Performances Found in Attic

A man filmed the missing 1966 'Top of the Pops' appearance from his TV set

152 Nassau

The Site of Country Music's First Recorded Hit Is Set to Be Demolished

152 Nassau Street in Atlanta was home to the first country music recording hit made before the genre even had a name

In 1904, Joseph Kekuku, inventor of the Hawaiian steel guitar, left Hawaii to perform on the American West Coast. Newspaper critics called him the “world’s greatest guitar soloist.”

How the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Changed American Music

The season finale of Sidedoor tells the story of an indigenous Hawaiian instrument with a familiar sound and unexpected influences

Installation view of "Play It Loud: Instruments of Rock and Roll"

From Buddy Holly to Lady Gaga, the Met's New 'Play It Loud' Exhibit Features the Instruments of Rock and Roll Greats

The show includes more than 130 guitars, drum kits and keyboards, as well as vintage costumes, posters and concert footage

Seventy-Five Years Ago, the Television Musical Made Its Debut

"RENT: Live" meet "The Boys from Boise"

Good luck getting this out of your head.

Before the 'Baby Shark' Song Made the Hot 100, 'Silly Symphonies' Were All the Rage

The “musical novelty” series of shorts achieved critical and popular success, too

These new songs will not be performed by a children's Christmas choir.

The Titles of These AI-Generated Christmas Carols Are Pure Cinnamon Hollybells

&#127926; We wish you a Merry Jinglelog &#127926;

View of the Silent Night Chapel

A Brief History of 'Silent Night'

The classic Christmas tune was first composed as a poem, and it was set to music for the first time in the winter of 1818

Record companies released stereo demonstration albums that showcased how sound could move from left to right, creating a sense of movement.

How Savvy Advertising Helped Make Stereo Technology Mainstream

Stereo demonstrations and colorful ads sold customers on the two-channel sound technology when it was introduced 60 years ago

The great James Chambers aka Jimmy Cliff performing in 2012.

Reggae Officially Declared Global Cultural Treasure

The music, which emerged from Jamaica in the 1960s, was added to Unesco's global Intangible Cultural Heritage list

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