The National and Religious Song Reader: Patriotic, Traditional, and Sacred Songs from Around the World

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William Studwell has done it again! In The National and Religious Song Reader, the author presents more than 120 enjoyable and informative essays on national, patriotic, and religious songs from around the world. Readers will learn the answers to such questions as: Was "Dixie" actually first performed in New York City? Which 16th-century English composition is referred to by Shakespeare in The Merry Wives of Windsor? What well-known hymn was written by Martin Luther in 1529? And what is a waltzing matilda anyway? (Hint: It's not a dancing young lady.)

Studwell's latest collection follows the form and style of his earlier works, The Popular Song Reader and The Christmas Carol Reader, as he relays interesting facts about each song through anecdotes, humor, poetry, and a generally lighthearted yet scholarly approach. In addition to information about each song and its composer, the author also discusses how the song reflected society at the time and how the song itself has influenced popular culture. The book is divided into four sections:
  • American National Songs: armed forces songs, war songs, national anthems, national marches
  • National Songs From Other Countries: songs from Canada, Mexico, England, Scotland, France, Italy, Germany, Russia, Ireland, Israel, Australia
  • General Hymns: religious songs from the 17th century and earlier, and the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries
  • Songs Associated With Religious Events: Easter, Thanksgiving, weddings, funerals

    The book's readable style is its most important quality as it makes it more approachable than a typical reference book. And vital to its usefulness as a reference book are the indexes--one by song title and another by person or group. Whether used primarily as an enjoyable reference or as an informative reader, The National and Religious Song Reader is bound to provide new insights into familiar songs for all music fans.

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