Songs

The choir performs at the ruins of a mill in Sweetwater Creek State Park in Douglas County, Georgia

Smithsonian Voices

Hear a Georgia Choral Group as They Rediscover the Art of Sacred Harp Singing

Students find lasting resonance in the words and simple notes of the 1869 hymn 'How Can I Keep from Singing?'

Here are 12 of the rarest doo-wop records ever made. “Can’t Help Loving That Girl of Mine” (1954) by Philadelphia’s 
Hide-A-Ways is, Shively says, the “holy grail of vocal group
collecting.”

A Peek Inside the World's Greatest Record Store

A lovable grouch, obsessed with the magic of American sidewalk harmony, runs the Philadelphia shop

A pygmy blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus brevicauda) crosses the Indian Ocean and passes near Mirissa, Sri Lanka.

Using Nuclear Bomb Detectors, Scientists Overhear the Secret Songs of a Never-Before-Seen Pygmy Blue Whale Population

The new group is named 'Chagos' after the islands close to where the melodies were detected

"The Grave of Bonaparte" sheet music, song and music by L. Heath, as performed by the Hutchinson Family Singers, Boston, 1843. "The Grave of Bonaparte," recalling the French leader who vanquished much of Europe before being defeated, reflected the Hutchinson Family Singers' concern for the cause of freedom abroad as well as at home.

Smithsonian Voices

How the Arts Have Inspired Social Change

Americans have a long tradition of inspiring and elevating movements for change using benefit concerts, song and other artistic traditions

Barbara Dane with the Chambers Brothers at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.

Smithsonian Voices

Meet Barbara Dane and Her Proud Tradition of Singing Truth to Power

From Mississippi Freedom Schools, to free speech rallies at UC Berkeley, and in the coffeehouses, her protest music took her everywhere

Fin whale songs are some of the loudest animals in the ocean, producing calls that can reach 189 decibels and are almost as loud as container ships.

New Research

Researchers Use Whale Calls to Probe Undersea Geology

The study finds that fin whale songs are powerful enough to reverberate through the Earth’s crust, allowing scientists to study its thickness and structure

The group’s identification also highlights how much of ocean life—even when it comes to the largest sea creatures—has yet to be discovered.

Scientists Eavesdrop on New Population of Blue Whales Singing in the Indian Ocean

Scientists have identified a previously unknown blue whale song, suggesting that a distinct population had long gone undetected

"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

A typist wearing her influenza mask in 1918 New York.

How the 1918 Pandemic Got Meme-ified in Jokes, Songs and Poems

In newspapers across the country, the public dealt with the heartache of the moment by turning to humor

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

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

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

The six CD set Pete Seeger: The Smithsonian Folkways Collection by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings won a Grammy in the category for Best Historical Album. The set includes some well-known, not-so-well-known, and previously unreleased recordings spanning Seeger’s career.

Grammy Nod to Folkways’ Pete Seeger Collection Is a Fitting Tribute

The producers aim to inspire future generations to carry on the singer’s legacy

The mostly retired singer-Songwriter Paul Simon told financier and philanthropist David M. Rubenstein that a recent dream has prompted him to work on a new extended piece of music.

Paul Simon Has 50 Ways to Charm an Audience

As the 2019 recipient of the Smithsonian’s Great Americans Medal, the musician divulged he still has one more song to write

American actor Doris Day with mutt co-star Hobo on the set of director Charles Walters's film, 'Please Don't Eat the Daisies'.

Hitting the High Notes: A Smithsonian Year of Music

Doris Day's Biggest Hit Is a Song She Could Have Done Without

"Que Sera, Sera" is synonomous with the actress and singer who died on Monday at age 97, though she was never a fan of the tune she called 'a kiddie song'

Kate Smith singing 'God Bless America' before a Philadelphia Flyers home game at the Spectrum in Philadelphia circa 1970s.

Philadelphia Flyers Remove Statue of Singer Kate Smith Amid Allegations of Racism

The team will also no longer play Smith’s famed rendition of ‘God Bless America’

New Research

A City Frog's Love Song Attracts More Mates Than Countryside Croaks

Fewer predators and heightened competition for mates allowed urban tungara frogs to add more notes and frills to their calls, with big results Read more: h

Whales Change Their Tune Every Few Years

After becoming increasingly complex over a period of years, the songs are ditched in favor of simpler ditties, a new study has found

Doug E. Fresh, beatboxing pioneer, lays it down.

New Research

This Is What Happens Inside a Beatboxer's Mouth When They Perform

MRI scans of vocal percussionists show that beatboxing takes the vocal tract beyond human language

With "Hey Jude," (above: the Smithsonian's 45 rpm single),  the Beatles "seem to have struck their most resonant chord," says John Troutman, the curator of American music at the National Museum of American History.

“Hey Jude” Still Makes Everything "Better, Better, Better"

The Beatles’ biggest single hit skyrocketed on the charts in August of 1968

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