English 494

Analyzing Sheet Music



As you look at the groups of sheet music, think about the following:


1. What song would you like to discuss with the class? Why?




2. When was it published? By whom? What artist made it famous (if known)?




3. What kind of song is it, and what is its likely intended audience and purpose (Dance music? Part of a show?)




4. What is the song about? Have you ever heard of it before?




5. How do the cover art, the back page, and the rest of the visual features help to enhance the song’s chances of being purchased? What features seem to be selling points for a 1920s audience?




6. What features does it share with other pieces of sheet music you examined? What makes it stand out from the group?





7. What does the piece tell you about the 1920s? What themes (if any) does it share with the literature we’ve discussed?




8. What else would you like to add about the sheet music you examined?




If you’re interested in looking at more sheet music, possibly as part of your second paper or project, here are some links:


Historic American Sheet Music at Duke University:


African American Sheet Music at the Library of Congress:


Online Resources for Music Scholars at Harvard University:


Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection at Johns Hopkins



(These links are also available from our 1920s music page at http://www.wsu.edu/~campbelld/amlit/1920m.html)