You may be familiar with the soundtrack to the PBS series, "The Civil War," by Ken Burns. "Ashokan Farewell," the haunting violin melody from the series became associated with the Civil War, but most music of the time was for voice with piano, or piano alone. A few are still well known, such as the "Battle Hymn of the Republic." Popular music of the day was spread by traveling minstrel troupes. Some of Stephen Foster's songs come from this tradition.
Sheet music for many Civil War songs has been preserved by American libraries can be found online in digital format. Ball State Libraries' Digital Media Repository has some Civil War Songs in the Hague Sheet Music Collection.
Check out some of these Compact Discs:
- Songs of the Civil War Compact Disc 9537
- Stephen Foster's America, Compact Disc 8610
- A Lincoln Portrait: The Music of Abraham Lincoln by the Bands and Choruses of the U.S. Military, Compact Disc 16447
- Robert E. Lee Remembered, Compact Disc 8615
- The Civil War: Its Music and Its Sounds, Compact Disc 13226
- Ballads of the Civil War, Compact Disc 9534
Sheet Music of theCivil War
- The Civil War Songbook, M 1637 .C6
- Singing Soldiers: A History of the Civil War in Song, M 1637 .S5748
- Soldier Songs and Home-Front Ballads of the Civil War, M 1637 .S64 1964
- Songs of the Civil War, M 1637 .S6683
- Historic American Sheet Music: 1850-1920, a searchable archive of .pdf versions of over 3,000 pieces of sheet music at Duke University (hosted by the Library of Congress' American Memory site)