American Music

Musical instruments, original sheet music, and portraits of musicians preserved in the Smithsonian remind us that American music flourishes within a wide variety of traditions drawn from our multicultural heritage.

The patriotic marches of John Philip Sousa, the emotion of the blues, the seductive rhythms of jazz, the expressive joys and sorrows of country music, the hard driving power of rock ’n’ roll, and the propulsive beats and poetry of hip hop all serve to unite us. Despite its stylistic diversity, music is unified in its ability to communicate across generations, races, and languages, serving to break down cultural barriers. From our country's urban centers to rural landscapes, music of all types enriches our lives.