Friday, August 9, 2019

Suffrage Music

Suffragists were masters in what we now call branding.  Suffragists referred to their own marketing efforts as propoganda and it didn't carry the negative connotation it does now.  One of the many ways the idea of women's suffrage was promoted was with song.

When I was a kid, I learned to play piano.  When family visited, I would play while my father and grandfather sang Irish folk songs and Tin Pan Alley tunes.  This was apparently the main form of entertainment that both my grandfather and my dad knew as kids.  According to them, everyone had a piano and there was a thriving sheet music industry (versus the one store when I was a kid and none now that I know of).  This was "parlor music" and many suffrage songs featured this format of music and words written specifically to support the cause.

There were a LOT of songs written to support suffrage in the late 19th and early 20th century:
Image result for March of the suffragists sheet music Image result for votes for women sheet music Image result for american citizens who cannot vote  sheet music
--and some Anti-Suffrage songs as well:
Image result for the anti-suffrage rose sheet music 

Rally songs of suffrage were melodies that were borrowed from other songs with new words; one didn't have to be able to read music to sing the song.  Here is an example:

You can actually still purchase renditions of these songs.  I bought Elizabeth Murray's album, Songs of the Suffragettes a while back; it was offered via the Smithsonian.

Music is meant to be heard and I would be remiss if I didn't share with you one of my favorite renditions of one of my favorite songs (the singers' hats are pretty cool too).
Image result for she's good enough to be your baby's mother
She's Good Enough To Be Your Baby's Mother hit here.

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