Music has always played an important part in the human experience. From the origin of music and language to the development of instruments and written music, tunes have reflected their time and place. Stephen Foster (1826-1864) is commonly considered a pioneer in American professional songwriting. The author of the well known “Camptown Races” (1850), “Swanee River” (1851), and “Jeannie With the Light Brown Hair” (1854), Foster wrote works that are still very well remembered.
“That’s What’s the Matter” was written in 1862 as a Northern rival to the popular Southern anthem, “Dixie.”
The Civil War was a turning point in American music. By bringing together soldiers from across the country, each with their own musical tradition, the war led to the development of what is known today as American folk music.