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19th Century Music In The Home...

In the 19th century, families made their own music in the home.

Middle-and upper-class amateur musicians had the means to purchase instruments and the spare time to learn music. While women typically played the harp, guitar, or keyboard, men played the flute, clarinet, or violin. Learning to play an instrument was a valued part of a child's upbringing that indicated the family's sophistication. Individuals played solo music, or family members could play together in informal ensembles.

Families played the "classical" music of European masters such as Handel or Haydn, as well as popular arrangements of contemporary songs. One might hear songs by Schubert, religious hymns, sentimental ballads, or songs intened to teach moral lessons. American composers began to compose songs expressly for home-music making.

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