The state of Missouri has a diverse musical history and is home to several unique musical genres. The people who came here brought their music with them, including French fiddle tunes, waltzes and ballads from Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia, and gospel and blues from the South. In several instances, Missourians put their own unique spin on these musical traditions.
Missouri is significant for new types of music, including bluegrass, ragtime, jazz, and blues. African American musicians Scott Joplin of Sedalia and William J. “Blind” Boone of Columbia were instrumental in creating and popularizing ragtime music. After W. C. Handy wrote the tune, “St. Louis Blues,” in 1914, the city became home to a new blues style that relied heavily on piano. Kansas City developed its own kind of jazz throughout the 1930s and turned out notable musicians such as Count Basie and Charlie Parker. In addition to these popular musical genres, symphonic music has long been popular in Missouri's larger cities, especially St. Louis and Kansas City. Thus, Missouri's contributions to music are as diverse as the state’s citizenry.
Articles from Missouri Historical Review and Missouri Times
- Bowen, Elbert R. "Negro Ministrels in Early Rural Missouri."
Missouri Historical Review 47 (January 1953): 103-109.
- Cortinovis, Irene E. "The Golden Age of German Song."
Missouri Historical Review 68 (July 1974): 437-442.
- Fletcher, John Gould. "Some Folk-Ballads and the Background of History."
Missouri Historical Review 45 (January 1951): 113-123.
"A Songbag from the Ozarks' Hollows and Ridgy Mountains."
Missouri Historical Review 45 (April 1951): 252-255.
- Hetherington, Sue "Lost Channels."
Missouri Historical Review 36 (July 1942): 447-458.
- Huber, Patrick. "The Interstate Old Fiddlers Contest of 1926: WOS, Rural Radio Audiences, and Music Making in the Missouri State Capitol."
Missouri Historical Review 100 (October 2005): 2-18.
- Jennings, Harlan. "Grand Opera in St. Louis, 1886: A Championship Season?"
Missouri Historical Review 85 (April 1991): 304-320.
"The Early Days of Grand Opera in Kansas City, 1860-1879."
Missouri Historical Review 95 (July 2001): 349-371.
"Jenny Lind Comes to Missouri."
Missouri Historical Review 104 (January 2010): 63-77.
- Krohn, Ernest C. "A Century of Missouri Music."
Part I: Missouri Historical Review 17 (January 1923): 130-158.
Part II: Missouri Historical Review 17 (April 1923): 285-320.
Part III: Missouri Historical Review 17 (July 1923): 440-463.
- Marshall, Howard Wight. "Irish Echoes in Outstate Missouri."
Missouri Historical Review 100 (October 2005): 41-53.
"Play Me Something Quick and Devilish: Adventures in the Documentation and Conservation of Missouri’s Heritage of Traditional Fiddle and Dance Music."
Missouri Historical Review 108 (January 2014): 105-122.
"Bluegrass Time in the Show-Me State." Missouri Historical Review 112 (October 2017): 23-45.
- McCausland, Susan A. Arnold. "A Running Glance Over the Field of Music in Missouri."
Missouri Historical Review 8 (July 1914): 206-210.
- Welsh, Donald H. "A Union Band Director Views Camp Rolla: 1861."
Missouri Historical Review 55 (July 1961): 307-343.
- Withers, Robert Steele. "Singing."
Missouri Historical Review 50 (July 1956): 381-386.
"Views From the Past: Missouri Music."
Missouri Historical Review 64 (April 1970): 352-353.
Many of the State Historical Society of Missouri’s holdings are included in the SHSMO online catalog. Numerous titles can be found by typing the keyword “music” into the catalog search bar. The State Historical Society of Missouri has a large sheet music collection in the Columbia research center. These items may be located by using the key words “sheet music” in the catalog search bar, or by doing an author or title search.
Historic Missourian Biographies
The State Historical Society's Historic Missourians website has an entire category devoted to musicians in Missouri, consisting of 6 biographies on Missouri musicians. Each biography includes images, primary resources, and other references for further study.
The State Historical Society of Missouri's manuscript collections contain many titles of primary source materials related to music.
- The Riverfront Times. St. Louis, MO.: Hartmann Pub. Co. (Uncatalogued)
- New Music Circular. St. Louis, MO.: New Music Circle. (Uncatalogued)
- Eleven Magazine. St. Louis, MO.: Eleven Media Group [H235.71 El27]