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Battle Cry of Freedom - trad?

DigiTrad:
BATTLE CRY OF FREEDOM
JUST BEFORE THE BATTLE, MOTHER]
MARY HAD A LITTLE LAMB


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Mary Had a Little Lamb (parody) (54)
Lyr Req: Battle Cry of Freedom (14)


clueless don 26 Nov 12 - 10:22 AM
GUEST,highlandman at work 26 Nov 12 - 10:34 AM
GUEST,999 26 Nov 12 - 10:34 AM
GUEST,999 26 Nov 12 - 10:38 AM
GUEST,highlandman at work 26 Nov 12 - 10:39 AM
GUEST,highlandman at work 26 Nov 12 - 10:40 AM
GUEST,highlandman at work 26 Nov 12 - 10:51 AM
GUEST,Lighter 26 Nov 12 - 11:34 AM
GUEST,highlandman at work 26 Nov 12 - 02:29 PM
GUEST,highlandman at work 26 Nov 12 - 02:33 PM
dick greenhaus 26 Nov 12 - 02:39 PM
GUEST,999 26 Nov 12 - 03:45 PM
GUEST,JeffB 26 Nov 12 - 04:45 PM
mayomick 26 Nov 12 - 04:57 PM
Barbara Shaw 26 Nov 12 - 05:07 PM
clueless don 27 Nov 12 - 08:57 AM
GUEST,Jerome Clark 28 Nov 12 - 01:36 PM
GUEST,.gargoyle 28 Nov 12 - 10:34 PM
GUEST,Kimberley 04 Dec 12 - 08:58 PM
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Subject: Battle Cry of Freedom - trad?
From: clueless don
Date: 26 Nov 12 - 10:22 AM

I just saw the new "Lincoln" movie yesterday, and there is a scene where, after the thirteenth amendment has passed the House of Representatives, the pro-amendment congressmen start singing "The Battle Cry of Freedom". I had always understood that this song was written by George Frederick Root, but in the movie credits it is listed as "Traditional".

Is this a case where the persons responsible for the movie credits simply didn't do their homework? Or is there a contention (of which I am not aware) that Root simply signed his name to an existing traditional song? Or maybe Root wrote the words, but the tune is traditional?

Don


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Subject: RE: Battle Cry of Freedom - trad?
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 26 Nov 12 - 10:34 AM

I found an image of the 1862 sheet music cover that claims "words and music" by G.F. Root.
There was a Confederate version written during the war (as was a common practice by both sides to parody the other side's tunes) and even a pro-union one much later.
I'd say it's probably a case of careless (or nonexistent) research, considering how easy it was to find just now.
Or maybe a confusion between "trad" and "PD"? Or maybe the tune was a thin reworking of a pre-existing traditional tune?
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: Battle Cry of Freedom - trad?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 26 Nov 12 - 10:34 AM

Worth a look.


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Subject: RE: Battle Cry of Freedom - trad?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 26 Nov 12 - 10:38 AM

Sorry, Cross posted, highlandman.


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Subject: RE: Battle Cry of Freedom - trad?
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 26 Nov 12 - 10:39 AM

999, just proves the point how easy it was to find. :-)


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Subject: RE: Battle Cry of Freedom - trad?
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 26 Nov 12 - 10:40 AM

Don, that last was not meant as a dig at you, but at the movie folks.


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Subject: RE: Battle Cry of Freedom - trad?
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 26 Nov 12 - 10:51 AM

I did a little more digging.
George Root was well known as a fast and prolific composer of catchy songs. He was an associate of Lowell Mason, who was an advocate and a practitioner of the art of memorable, singable tunes in the hymn genre.
The accounts I have read claim Root wrote the song in a day or so to fill the need for an upcoming rally. It seems plausible, given his other work, and I have seen no indications of any claims that he lifted the tune from an existing source.
His tune Tramp, Tramp, Tramp is another example of one that has become so universally known that it might be mistaken for trad. Following its career as a war song, it was picked up by Irish nationalists, union organizers, and Sunday School leaders (Jesus Loves The Little Children).
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: Battle Cry of Freedom - trad?
From: GUEST,Lighter
Date: 26 Nov 12 - 11:34 AM

In theory, anybody at any time could have lifted a "traditional" song and slapped their name on it.

The burden of proof is on those who claim it happened in the specific case.

I'm not aware of the slightest evidence, or even an earlier assertion, that "The Battle Cry of Freedom" was anything other than Root's song.


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Subject: RE: Battle Cry of Freedom - trad?
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 26 Nov 12 - 02:29 PM

Just to prove that with enough research you can make anything ridiculously complicated....
This PDF
attributes the song to Root in the text notes at top, but in the upper left corner of the music it's noted as Traditional.
Another lyrics site I found claims to have copied it out of the Digitrad, with the subscription "George Root" under the title (as the DT has it), but then categorizes it as "Artist: Traditional". As typical with those sites, there is no field for "Composer."
I suppose it's just sympromatic that people these days put words down, especially on the Internet, without any particular regard for what they mean.
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: Battle Cry of Freedom - trad?
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 26 Nov 12 - 02:33 PM

"sympTomatic"
... or any particular regard for how they are spelled (spelt for you folks to the east of the water). -G


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Subject: RE: Battle Cry of Freedom - trad?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 26 Nov 12 - 02:39 PM

ALL songs were created by someone, once. Some enter tradition. Battle Cry is one such.


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Subject: RE: Battle Cry of Freedom - trad?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 26 Nov 12 - 03:45 PM

It may have entered the so-called tradition, but imo since the song writer is known, the writer should be given credit where it is possible to do so, and it's possible with Battle Cry.


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Subject: RE: Battle Cry of Freedom - trad?
From: GUEST,JeffB
Date: 26 Nov 12 - 04:45 PM

For what it's worth, "battle cry of freedom" was a phrase he re-cycled in his 1864 hit, "Just before the battle, mother", while adapting "rally round the flag" to fit the meter.

"Hear the battle cry of Freedom, how it swells upon the air/ Oh yes, we'll rally round the standard, or we'll perish nobly there."


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Subject: RE: Battle Cry of Freedom - trad?
From: mayomick
Date: 26 Nov 12 - 04:57 PM

"The original words and music of this sprightly song were written in the summer of 1862 by George F Root, one of the North's leading composers . So catchy was the tune that southern composer H.L Shriner and lyricist W.H Barnes adopted it for the Confederacy . The differnt versions became popular on both sides of the Mason-Dixie Line ....."

From the fly leaf of James M. McPherson's Battle Cry Of Freedom


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Subject: RE: Battle Cry of Freedom - trad?
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 26 Nov 12 - 05:07 PM

My band ShoreGrass recorded this song at a live concert in 2003, and released the full Songs of the Civil War Era CD with this liner note about "Battle Cry of Freedom":

3. Battle Cry of Freedom (George F. Root, 1862) 1:59 George Root was a prolific writer from Sheffield, MA who wrote this widely popular song in 1862. It was parodied and also sung in the South in 1864. Both North ("union forever") and South ("rights forever") versions are sung here. Vocals: Frank Shaw (North), Paul Pozzi (South), Barbara Shaw (harmony).

My source for this information was Irwin Silber's excellent book "Songs of the Civil War." He wrote several paragraphs about the song and its history.

Here's a sample of our recording of it on Amazon, with a bit of the North and a bit of the South version: Battle Cry of Freedom


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Subject: RE: Battle Cry of Freedom - trad?
From: clueless don
Date: 27 Nov 12 - 08:57 AM

Thank you to everyone who posted on this. I'm inclining toward the explanation that the person responsible for the movie credits didn't do their homework.

I know there are other Mudcat threads on "The Battle Cry of Freedom", but they mostly seem to dwell on the Mary Had a Little Lamb parody.

Don


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Subject: RE: Battle Cry of Freedom - trad?
From: GUEST,Jerome Clark
Date: 28 Nov 12 - 01:36 PM

Those seeking a full account of George F. Root and his "Battle Cry of Freedom" (along with the work of other popular composers of the period) should direct their attention to a recent University of North Carolina Press book, Christian McWhirter's Battle Hymns: The Power and Popularity of Music in the Civil War.

McWhirter notes, "George Frederick Root's 'The Battle Cry of Freedom' debuted at a mass meeting in Chicago on July 26, 1862. The group setting of the song's first public performance created such a powerful effect that the crowd, despite having never heard it before, began singing along, and the piece soon became one of the North's most popular numbers."


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Subject: RE: Battle Cry of Freedom - trad?
From: GUEST,.gargoyle
Date: 28 Nov 12 - 10:34 PM

The knowlege within this thread give me goosebumps.

Sincerely,
Gargoyle

multiple g -grand parent stories and this song rings clear through them.


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Subject: RE: Battle Cry of Freedom - trad?
From: GUEST,Kimberley
Date: 04 Dec 12 - 08:58 PM

Can anyone confirm that Congress erupted into this song following the Amendment's passage, as depicted in Spielberg's Lincoln?


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