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The South: Culture and History: Music

This library guide is designed for researchers studying any topics related to the South's culture and history.

Southern Music


Many quintessentially American music forms--Jazz, Blues, Country, and others--were born in the  South. You can interpret a genre's lyrics and melodies to understand the events, cultures, and time periods of the South.  Visit History Matters for tips on using music in your work.  Here are a few resources to start off your research:


 Online Music

 American Memory  Project--Gateway to rich primary source materials relating to the history and culture of the United States. Offers scores and audio clips of historic American music.

Country Music Television--current videos, reviews, broadcast times.

Free Music Archive--use the "By Genre" tab to find Southern styles.

Goldbrand Records (from University of North Carolina)--offers a great collection of historical Southern music ranging from Cajun to Blues to Country.

Hillbilly Music--"brings together stories, sounds and images of country folk music as it developed from oral tradition to recorded style in the 1920s."

 Naxos Music Library--thousands of songs, search by keyword, or select a Southern style from the "Genre" tab.

Playlist--songs from every Southern genre.

Search Engine Guide--specialty search engines for finding music, just be sure the sites are credible sites.

Sheet Music--find sheet music online and in the UA Libraries.

Yahoo! Music Search--special part of Yahoo! for music.


Journal Articles


International Index to Music Periodicals

Music Index


Project Muse


Music Encyclopedias

Singing the Blues...

Blues is "a secular, predominantly black American folk music of the 20th century, which has a history and evolution separate from, but sometimes related to, that of jazz...Influential in its development were the collective unaccompanied work-songs of the plantation culture, which followed a responsorial ‘leader-and-chorus’ form that can be traced not only to pre-Civil War origins but to African sources."( Paul Oliver. "Blues." Grove Music Online, Oxford Music Online. 2 Dec. 2010.)

Discover the roots of blues in the struggles of African-Americans in the chapter "Of the Sorrow Songs" by W.E.B. DuBois.

Visit this site from History Matters to watch how historians used Blues music in their research.

Watch BB King, a native of Mississippi and "The King of Blues", perform at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival...

For more on King and his background, see the official BB King site.

Music Library

The Gorgas Library houses a Music Library on the first floor with books, scores, LPs, CDs, and DVDs, and you can find Southern styles of music there.  You'll find equipment for listening to the different kinds of formats there too. 

Zydeco, Swamp Pop, and Cajun Music

Have you ever heard Zydeco, Swamp Pop, or Cajun Music?  All of these musical styles have a unique sound and history.  Find out more about Cajun-influenced music through these links!

A Brief History of Cajun, Creole, and Zydeco Music

Cajun Music: Alive and Well in Louisiana

Cajun Music mp3

ARNB.ORG, Cajun and Zydeco Music Event Schedules for the World

Zydeco Historical and Preservation Society, Inc., Uniting the Zydeco Nation

Swamp Pop Music Links