Stephen Foster Essay

916 words - 4 pages

Stephen Foster was a musician and songwriter during the 1800s. He wrote over 200 songs during his lifetime with tunes that are still very popular today. He didn't earn a very large sum of money for his music in his life, but he would be worth millions today if he was still alive ("Stephen Foster Biography"). Stephen Foster earned the title of "The Father of American Music". Stephen Foster became known as "The Father of American Music" because he was a child prodigy, he used his music to humanize the slaves, and he wrote songs that were extremely popular in his life and continue to be popular 150 years later.
Music was an important part of Stephen Foster's childhood. The parents of Stephen Foster believed that music was not an appropriate activity for a young boy so he mainly taught himself about music. He would spend time studying the work of famous musicians such as Bach and Mozart. He learned how to play various musical instruments when he was very young (Krull 45). This early interest in music gave Stephen Foster an early love for the art of music and the aspiration of becoming a musician. Stephen Foster was a child prodigy and began to write and play songs at a very early age. "It was said that Foster couldn't sit down at the piano without playing a brand new song" (Krull 45). When Foster was a teen him and his friends created a group called the Knights of the Square Table. One of the most important activities of this group was singing. Some of Foster's earliest songs were initially composed for The Knights of the Square Table (Higgins 80). Stephen Foster published his first song, "Open thy Lattice Love", in Philadelphia when he was only 18 ("Stephen Foster Biography"). This early start in his musical career gave Foster the opportunity to write over 200 songs in the short lifespan that he had. The early musical talent Foster developed as a child gave him the desire to become a musician and songwriter which led to many songs that are well known through American history.
Stephen Foster lived during the 1800s when the question of slavery was a huge problem in the United States. Foster grew up in Pennsylvania in the north, therefore him and his family did not own slaves. Foster decided to incorporate slavery in to his music and wrote many songs which would depict the awful lives of the slaves. He also wrote his songs in an attempt to humanize the slaves. He wrote many of his songs in an attempt to "convey a sense that all people--regardless of their ethnic identities or social and economic class--share the same longings and needs for family and home" ("Stephen Foster Biography"). In his...

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