This Issue of the Chronicle, we present Part #3 (Civil War and Post) of our 12-part series of the "History of the Sounds of Modern Music." Our objective is to follow the Sounds made by innovative Humans and their Instruments that have evolved throughout the Centuries of Man-on-Earth.

Part #1 - Early Civilizations Part #2 - Pre Civil War

Part #3 - Civil War and Post Part #4 -New Orleans Scene

Part #5 - The River Boat Era Part #6 - Jazz/Blues (Blazz)

Part #7 - The Roaring 20s Part #7 - The Swing Era

Part #8 - Post World War II Part #9 - The 1950s

Part #9 - The 1960s Part #10 - Woodstock Era

Part #11 - The 1970s Part #12 - The 1980s

The Classic Rock Chronicle

I Issue #9 June 20, 2024

Everything Classic Rock... the CRocker's Voice

The Classic Rock Chronicle was created to provide regularly updated Content about the "Goings-on" of the Vast, eclectic, and important period of Classic Rock from 1964 to 1984... Come along and enjoy the ride, Mates

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History of the “Sounds” of Music Part #3

Civil War and Post Sounds

Classic Rock

By William W. Nelson

Founder of the Asheville School of Classic Rock



When I had a tour in Vietnam, there were three things that got me going every morning:

1. At 6am, one Adrian Cronauer, after a simple opening tune, greeted us with the words “Good Morning Vietnam”… we all drank a cold Beer and gave thanks to the Lord for giving us another day. It was so F’ing Hot that your underwear was soaked by 9am and we never new if we were going to hear “Dawn Buster” the next day! I cannot imagine how the day would have been had we not heard the Sounds of “Rock n Roll”… it was really the only thing we cherished, except for being alive, every day.

2. Thoughts of my great Wife and Grandparents who raised me on their Farm near Madison, Wisconsin… my fellow Rock Band Members who were somewhere in the DMZ...

3. How much I missed my best Friend, Sophie, a 50# Aussie Healer who carried a backpack with water, enough grub for 3 days, and a bottle of Johnnie Walker Red on the Appalachian Trail.

I truly believe that without the start of “Dawn Buster” every morning, the Hell we were going through would not have been tolerable, to say the least!

My Grandfather was a Master Guitar Mechanic (he tuned Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly’s strings before a Concert at the Orpheum Theatre in 1958)… his Great-grandfather was part of the “Regimental Band Period” whereby the Government allotted each Volunteer Regiment a 24 member band for morale purposes. The Confederates also had them as Robert E. Lee felt that “I don’t believe we can have a War without Music”

Music during the Civil War

“With ten Companies to a Regiment and two Musicians allowed to each company--that is to say the Fifers, Buglers, and Drummers--one could put together some kind of Band of twenty Men or more, if the Officers agreed to detail to the Regimental Band musically qualified Men who had not enlisted as Musicians.” The America Civil War was called “Great Musical War” or the “Great Singing War.”

According the Sources, here are the key points about the regimental band period during the American Civil War:

Regulations and Establishment

In July 1861, the Union Army issued regulations allowing each Infantry, Artillery, and Cavalry Regiment to have a 24-member Brass band. The Confederates also had Regimental Bands.

By October 1861, around 75% of Union regiments had a Band. There were an estimated 28,000 Musicians in 618 Union Bands by December 1861, a ratio of 1 Musician for every 41 Soldiers.

Disbandment of Regimental Bands

In July 1862, the Union Army disbanded Regimental Bands through General Order 91, as more Combat Troops were needed over Musicians.

Many Regimental Bands were either mustered out or the Musicians re-enlisted as Regular Soldiers but continued Musical duties informally, especially after dark.

The Confederates likely followed a similar pattern of disbanding

Regimental Bands as the War progressed.

Role and Importance

Regimental Bands played a vital role in boosting morale, inciting

patriotism, and regulating camp life through Music and Ceremonial


Bands would play popular tunes, patriotic marches, and brass band pieces for troops on the march, in camp, and even during battles.

Notable Generals like Robert E. Lee and Philip Sheridan acknowledged the importance of Military Music and Bands.

Battlefield Experiences

Bands sometimes played music from the trenches or front lines, competing with the enemy's Bands across the Battlefield.

At battles like Gettysburg and Cold Harbor, regimental Bands performed music amid the fighting until forced to stop by artillery fire.

After disbandment, many former Bandsmen served as stretcher-bearers, assisted Surgeons, and even helped perform amputations when needed.

In summary, while short-lived, the regimental Band period from 1861 to 1862 saw an immense number of Military Bands formed, playing a crucial morale-boosting role for both Union and Confederate armies until being disbanded to prioritize combat manpower as the Civil War intensified.


When the Civil War began in 1861, Music played a prominent role on both sides of the conflict. Soldiers from across the Country traded Tunes, Instruments, and Techniques, leading to the cross-fertilization of Musical Styles and the creation of the first truly American Folk Music Genre. Popular patriotic songs like "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "Dixie" emerged, rallying Troops and capturing the sentiments of the war. Music provided comfort, boosted morale, and served functional purposes like issuing marching orders on the Battlefield.

As Soldiers from across the Country commingled during the Civil War, the diverse Musical traditions they brought with them began to cross-pollinate and blend together. Soldiers rapidly traded tunes, instruments, and techniques, facilitating the fusion of various Folk Styles from different regions. This cross-fertilization laid the foundations for the first truly American folk music with distinct national characteristics. It is estimates that upwards of 10,000 Tunes were written during the 5 year period.

There were many Styles of Music during the pre Civil War years. This ran from Opera and Orchestra to Band Music and even Black-face Minstrel Music. Most Towns had there own Marching Bands at the start of the Civil War. Small Band Concerts were common. The Civil War saw some real additions to Military Music. There was Military field Music and Military Band Music. The Union purchased 32,000 Drums during the Civil War and 21,000 Bugles, and about 15,000 Trumpets. The Confederacy had fewer Instruments and fewer Musicians.

The Civil War era saw the creation of many new Songs that became wildly popular and remained ingrained in the American Musical fabric. These songs arose from "all the varied passions" inspired by the war, echoing its events, ideals, and sentiments from both sides of the conflict.

The war brought increased awareness and influence of African American Musical Traditions. Collections like "The Negro Singer's Own Book" (1846) helped disseminate Slave Songs and Spirituals. Songwriters like Stephen Foster began incorporating "Ethiopian Music" elements into their compositions, marking an early intersection of African and European Musical influences in American popular Music.

Many new Songs emerged during the war, aroused by "all the varied passions" it inspired, echoing its events, sentiments, and ideals from both sides. Genres like the blues, with its distinctive call-and-response format, may trace their origins to this period of Musical cross-fertilization. Patriotic songs like "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "Dixie" also became ingrained in the American musical fabric. These Songs, along with Spirituals and Folk Hymns, later provided a foundation for the Protest Songs that gave voice to the Civil Rights movement over a century later.

The War acted as a crucible, blending the Nation's diverse musical streams - including European traditions, Native American Chants, African Rhythms, and Regional Folk Styles - into new Artistic expressions that reflected the experiences and sentiments of an emerging American identity.

The Musical cross-pollination of the Civil War period facilitated the emergence of new Genres that became ingrained in American musical tradition. The Blues, with its distinctive call-and-response format, may trace its origins to this crucible of cultural exchange.

In essence, the Civil War facilitated the unprecedented mixing of musical cultures from across the country, giving rise to the first truly national folk music tradition that incorporated elements from various regional and ethnic sources into a distinct American sound.

What were the key differences between Union and Confederate Soldiers Musical traditions?

  • The Union's musical traditions drew more heavily from the Folk styles of New England and the Northern states, while Confederate music incorporated stronger influences from Southern folk songs, spirituals, and the musical traditions of African Americans in the South. This reflected the diverse Regional musical cultures that coalesced into the respective national identities during the war.

  • Union soldiers had greater access to manufactured Brass and wind instruments, while Confederate Troops often had to make do with whatever Instruments they could acquire before the war or import due to the lack of industry in the South. This likely shaped the instrumental Sounds that characterized each side's music.

  • Both sides generated many new patriotic Songs rallying their respective causes, like the Union's "Battle Cry of Freedom" and the Confederacy's "God Save the South." These songs boosted morale and captured the sentiments of the conflict from the Northern and Southern perspectives

Union vs Confederate Interpretation of Songs


The Confederate anthem "Dixie" was widely parodied by Union soldiers with new lyrics:Original Confederate lyrics: "I wish I was in the land of cotton, Old times there are not forgotten"

Union parody Lyrics: "Away down South in the land of traitors, Rattlesnakes and alligators, Right away, come away, right away, come away." "We'll all go down to Dixie, Away, away, “Each Dixie boy must understand… “That he must mind his Uncle Sam."

The Union version mocked the Confederacy as the "land of traitors" and asserted that Union troops would defeat the Rebel Forces.

"The Star-Spangled Banner"

The Union adopted the National Anthem

The Confederates made a version called "The Southern Cross", replacing lines like "O say does that Star Spangled Banner yet wave" with "'Tis the Cross of the South, which shall ever remain". Another Confederate revision was titled "The Flag of Secession".

"Battle Cry of Freedom"

Union's popular marching song "Battle Cry of Freedom" was altered by Confederates, changing "The Union forever! Hurrah, boys, hurrah! Down with the traitor, up with the star" to "Our Dixie forever! She's never at a loss! Down with the Eagle and up with the Cross!"

By reworking well-known songs from the opposing side with new partisan lyrics, both the Union and Confederacy adapted Musical Traditions to boost morale, mock the Enemy, and capture the sentiments of the brutal conflict.

Post-War Music Evolution

The Civil War brought increased exposure and appreciation of African American musical traditions like spirituals, work songs, and blues elements among white audiences in the North. This paved the way for the growing influence of African American Styles on mainstream American popular music in the post-war years..

The unprecedented mixing of regional Folk styles, African rhythms, and the shared experiences of the Civil War gave rise to the first truly national Folk Music tradition with a distinct American identity..

Music publishing thrived during and after the Civil War in both the North and South, with a proliferation of published piano scores and songbooks. This commercialization, aided by the growth of urban centers and middle-class consumption of music, helped drive the popularization and dissemination of emerging American musical styles in the late 19th century.

In summary, the Civil War acted as a catalyst for the increased influence of African American music, the emergence of distinctly American genres rooted in the nation's diverse musical streams, and the commercialization of music publishing - developments that fundamentally shaped the popular music scene from the Reconstruction era through the turn of the 20th century.

Stephen Foster

Stephen Foster was born in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania on July 4, 1826 to a wealthy Family. He received a good education and was exposed to music from an early age, learning to play several instruments like the Clarinet, Guitar, Flute, and Piano. He studied under Henry Kleber, a German Music Teacher in Pittsburgh, who introduced him to the works of Classical Composers like Mozart and Beethoven.

Foster's incorporation of African American musical elements like spirituals, work songs, and "Ethiopian" rhythms and melodies into his compositions brought these traditions into the mainstream and helped shape the emergence of uniquely American genres like ragtime in the late 19th century. His songs played a pivotal role in increasing exposure and appreciation of African American music among white audiences in the North after the war.

Foster's ability to blend diverse influences like European opera, Anglo-Celtic folk ballads, African rhythms, and the experiences of the Civil War itself into his compositions gave rise to the first truly national folk music tradition with a distinctly American musical identity. This cross-fertilization facilitated the development of new genres like the blues that became ingrained in the American musical fabric after the war.

The immense popularity of Foster's songs, aided by the growth of urban centers and middle-class Music consumption, drove the commercialization of music publishing in the post-war years. The proliferation of published scores and songbooks helped disseminate emerging American Musical Styles and Foster's influence across the nation.

While many of Foster's biggest hits like "Oh! Susanna" predated the War; his Patriotic Songs rallying the Union cause like "Battle Cry of Freedom" remained widely embraced by a reunited nation after the conflict ended. His sentimental parlor songs also captured the nation's shared experiences and sentiments during and after this formative period.

In essence, Foster's ability to meld diverse musical streams into a new artistic expression of the American experience, combined with the popularization of his songs through live performance and publishing, fundamentally shaped the trajectory of American popular music in the decades following the Civil War.

The Influence on the Evolution of Blues and Jazz after the Civil War

During the Civil War, many White Northerners were exposed for the first time to the rich musical traditions of African Americans, particularly Spirituals, Work Songs, and early Blues elements. As the Union Army moved through the South, Soldiers encountered and took notice of the "real music of African Americans" beyond the parodies of Blackface Minstrel Shows. This increased awareness and appreciation of African American Musical forms laid the groundwork for their influence on emerging American popular Music after the War, including the Blues.

Publications like "The Negro Singer's Own Book" (1846) helped disseminate and popularize African American Songs like Spirituals among wider audiences. Other Songwriters like Stephen Foster began incorporating "Ethiopian Music" elements into their compositions, marking an intersection of African and European Musical influences that shaped early American popular Music and facilitated the emergence of genres like Ragtime and the Blues.

As Soldiers from across the country commingled during the Civil War, the diverse Musical traditions they brought with them began to cross-pollinate and blend together. This unprecedented mixing of regional folk Styles, African Rhythms, and the shared experiences of the war itself acted as a crucible that gave rise to the first truly national Folk Music tradition with a distinct American identity - a tradition that provided fertile ground for the Blues to take root and evolve.

In summary, by facilitating the dissemination of African American musical traditions, the blending of diverse styles, and giving voice to the African American experience in the wake of slavery's abolition, the Civil War played a vital role in shaping the cultural environment that allowed the blues to emerge and evolve into a quintessentially American art form.

Common Themes of Blues reflect Slaves Freedom

Hardships and struggles of life after slavery

The Blues did not emerge directly from Slave Music but rather expressed the realities and hardships faced by freed African Americans during the Reconstruction era and under Jim Crow laws. The lyrics captured the challenges of sharecropping, poverty, discrimination, and the harsh living conditions many faced after emancipation.

Migration and seeking a better life

A major theme was the Great Migration of African Americans leaving the South and moving to urban centers in the North and West in search of better opportunities and an escape from oppression. Songs reflected this movement and the experiences of building new communities in cities like Chicago. Individualism and personal expression.

Unlike the more collective Slave Songs, the Blues emphasized individual expression and storytelling through first-person lyrics about personal struggles, relationships, and life events. This individualistic quality set it apart from the slave musical traditions.

Sexual relationships and sexuality

With fewer constraints after Slavery, Blues Lyrics openly explored themes of Sexual Relationships, unfaithfulness, and sexuality in a way that was uncommon in other Musical Forms at the time. This frank treatment of sensual subject matter was a defining character of Work life and Labor conditions.

Many Blues songs referenced the harsh working conditions of sharecropping, farm labor, and manual jobs that employed many freed Slaves, reflecting the economic realities they faced.

In essence, the Blues gave voice to the experiences, hardships, desires, and pursuit of freedom that defined life for African Americans in the decades after the Civil War and emancipation from Slavery.

When did normal times begin again after the War for the evolution of the Sounds of Music?

1881 - Henry Lee Higginson formed the Boston Symphony Orchestra; Higginson would personally run the Orchestra for almost four decades.

The Thomas B. Harms Music Publishing Company was established solely to publish popular Music, then referring to Parlor Music.

Tony Pastor becomes an established theater owner on 14th Street in New York City, where he becomes the first Person "to bid... for Women customers in the Variety Theater", bringing that field out of "disreputable Saloons" and transforming it "into decent entertainment that respectable Women could enjoy."

1882 - The Fisk University Jubilee Singers become the first Black Choir to perform at the White House, at the invitation of President Chester A. Arthur.

1883 - J. S. Putnam's "New Coon in Town" is one of the first hit “Coon Songs” to be published.

1884 - The first "thorough representations of German Opera" in the United States are held at the

Metropolitan Opera House in New York.

1885 - Scott Joplin arrived in St. Louis, Missouri and soon became a fixture at the Rosewood Bar, beginning his career which would put "his creative stamp on that great body of music that came to be known as classic ragtime". The Saloon was owned by John Turpin, an important patron of ragtime whose Son,

Thomas Million Turpin is known as the "Father of St. Louis Ragtime.

1886 - John Philip Sousa's "The Gladiator March" sells more than a million copies.

1887 - Emile Berliner invents the first disc recording method and the Gramophone.

1888 - Ethnologist J. Walter Fewkes becomes the first to use a Phonograph, a treadle-run machine, to record Native American Music and Speech.

The American Folklore Society is formed and dedicated to gathering and publishing the Folk Songs and Stories of North America.

1889 - Louis Glass installs a coin-operated phonograph in a Saloon in San Francisco… the first predecessor of the Jukebox.

Columbia Records releases the first catalog of recordings, consisting of ten pages worth of cylinder recordings. The catalog is intended primarily for Jukeboxes.

1890 - The Tin Pan Alley neighborhood begins to form in New York City, and Oliver Ditson & Co. becomes the most prominent Music Publisher of the era.

1891 - George Washington Johnson became the first African-American to make commercial Records.

1892 - Papa Jack Laine, a White Drummer and Saxophonist from New Orleans, claims that he is the first to use the Saxophone in the Proto-Jazz Bands of New Orleans. He is sometimes said to have formed the first Ragtime Band as well.

1893 - The World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago was a watershed in American Culture that attracted attention to the Chicago Ragtime scene... it was led by patriarch Plunk Henry and exemplified in performance at the Exposition by Johnny Seymour and Scott Joplin, and Violinist Joseph Douglass achieves wide recognition after his performance there, and will become the first African American Violinist to conduct a transcontinental tour, and the first to tour as a Concert Violinist.

1894 - Orville Gibson began selling Acoustic Guitars, his technical innovations helping to spread the Instrument throughout the United States.

1895 - The American Federation of Musicians is founded.

1896 - Gussie L. Davis, the most successful African American songwriter in Tin Pan Alley, has his biggest hit with "In the Baggage Coach Ahead".

1897 - Buddy Bolden's Band begins performing; some consider this the first Jazz Band, and Bolden the first Jazz Musician. Bolden is an influential Cornetist in the early history of Jazz, and his Band innovated the use of the String Bass in place of the Tuba. (See Part #4)


Ok, this ends Part #3 of the Sounds of Music during and after the Civil War… the Reconstruction years after the end of the Civil War in 1865 took its toll. But, we shall always remember that Music transcends all of time on Earth… and its “Universality” will continue until the end of TIME… and beyond!!!

In Part #4, we shall cover the Hamlet of Storyville which was the first legitimate “Red-light District” of New Orleans, Louisiana; from 1897 to 1917… we will cover how the Spirit of the Blues took hold. It is a heartfelt story of Musicians who gravitated there after reconstruction, and how the area became a hotbed of innovation and a major element of the origins of Jazz.


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