Book Review: Bugle Resounding: Music and Musicians of the Civil War Era


by Bruce C. Kelley and Mark A. Snell, editors

Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2018. Pp. xii, 260. Illus., tables, notes, index. $25.00. ISBN:0826215386

The Sound Track of the Civil War

Kelley and Snell, scholars respectively of music and of the Civil War, and seven of their colleagues have contributed essays to this volume, which examines the role and state of music in mid-nineteenth century America.

After an introductory essay on “Music and Community in the Civil War Era”, which offers an overview on music in America in the period, from the surprising popularity of opera and minstrel shows, to the rise of the music publishing industry, and the role of music in helping create a sense of community.

The essays that follow address music and songs about women, the band of the 3rd New Hampshire, the influence of Irish music and musicians on American music, Confederate composers and lyricists, music about Gettysburg, and music in the life of the common soldier.

Oddly, there’s no essay “native” influences on American music, nor one on military music, whether ceremonial or field music, the latter important for communication.

Despite this, Bugle Resounding, a volume in the Missouri series “Shaded of Blue and Gray”, offers an very good overview of the role of music during the period, throwing light on popular culture and everyday life at the time.

Note: Shades of Blue and Gray is also available in several e-editions.


Reviewer: A. A. Nofi, Review Editor   

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