This morning I heard a news story on National Public Radio about a Venezuelan protester who continues to play the Venezuelan National Anthem on his violin while tear gas and smoke surround him and his fellow protesters.
The story was very moving and got me thinking about a student who was researching protest music and songs in American history a few years ago. The Denver Public Library has some great resources on the topic, including:
The Reference Department has a collection of roughly 11,000 pieces of sheet music, searchable in Songfinder. You will find sheet music for such pieces as Bob Dylan's "A Hard Rain's a Gonna Fall" and Arlo Guthrie's "City of New Orleans".
The Reference Department also has some really interesting and well-researched reference books about music and songs, including these three that include articles on protest and freedom songs and music:
- Reagon, Bernice Johnson. "The song culture of the Civil Rights Movement." American Musical Traditions, edited by Jeff Todd Titon and Bob Carlin, vol. 2: African American Music, Schirmer Reference, 2002, pp. 105-114.
- Rodnitzky, Jerry. "Protest song." The Grove Dictionary of American Music, edited by Charles Hiroshi Garrett, vol. 6, Oxford University Press, 2013, pp. 618-619.
- Morris, Doug. "Protest music." Music in American Life: an encyclopedia of the songs, styles, stars and stories that shaped our culture, edited by Jacqueline Edmondson, vol. 3, Greenwood, 2013, pp. 901-908.
If you're interested in seeing the article mentioned above, please Ask Us or call 720.865.1363.
This sounds a bit like the true story behind the novel The Cellist of Sarajevo by Steven Galloway! Vedran Smajlovic, a professional cellist, played through the siege of Sarajevo, dodging bombs and sniper bullets.