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A song is a musical composition intended to be performed by the human voice. This is often done at distinct and fixed pitches (melodies) using patterns of sound and silence. Songs contain various forms, such as those including the repetition and variation of sections.

Written words created specifically for music, or for which music is specifically created, are called lyrics. If a pre-existing poem is set to composed music in classical music it is an art song. Songs that are sung on repeated pitches without distinct contours and patterns that rise and fall are called chants. Songs composed in a simple style that are learned informally "by ear" are often referred to as folk songs. Songs that are composed for professional singers who sell their recordings or live shows to the mass market are called popular songs. These songs, which have broad appeal, are often composed by professional songwriters, composers, and lyricists. Art songs are composed by trained classical composers for concert or recital performances. Songs are performed live and recorded on audio or video (or, in some cases, a song may be performed live and simultaneously recorded). Songs may also appear in plays, musical theatre, stage shows of any form, and within operas, films, and TV shows.

A song may be for a solo singer, a lead singer supported by background singers, a duet, trio, or larger ensemble involving more voices singing in harmony, although the term is generally not used for large classical music vocal forms including opera and oratorio, which use terms such as aria and recitative instead. A song can be sung without accompaniment by instrumentalists (a cappella) or accompanied by instruments. In popular music, a singer may perform with an acoustic guitarist, pianist, organist, accordionist, or a backing band. In jazz, a singer may perform with a single pianist, a small combo (such as a trio or quartet), or with a big band. A Classical singer may perform with a single pianist, a small ensemble, or an orchestra. In jazz and blues, singers often learn songs "by ear" and they may improvise some melody lines. In Classical music, melodies are written by composers in sheet music format, so singers learn to read music.

Songs with more than one voice to a part singing in polyphony or harmony are considered choral works. Songs can be broadly divided into many different forms and types, depending on the criteria used. Through semantic widening, a broader sense of the word "song" may refer to instrumentals, such as Mendelssohn's 19th century Songs Without Words pieces for solo piano.

Song Media

74,024 media by topicpage 1 of 741
A New humorous song, on the Cherokee chiefs Inscribed to the ladies of Great Britain : To the tune of, Caesar and Pompey were both of the horned / / by H. Howard.

A New humorous song, on the Cherokee chiefs Inscribed to the ladies of...

A broadside comprising seven verses in letterpress below an engraving, representing three Red Indian Chiefs in their national costumes; these men are named, "The Stalking Turkey", "The Pouting Pidgeon", "The Ma... More

The election, a medley, humbly inscribed to Squire Lilliput, professor of scurrility

The election, a medley, humbly inscribed to Squire Lilliput, professor...

Cartoon shows the old courthouse in Philadelphia during the October 1, 1764 election where a line of men wait at the steps on the right to enter the courthouse and cast their votes; in the foreground, many men,... More

The desponding hero of the Coldstream - a military madrigal

The desponding hero of the Coldstream - a military madrigal

Print shows dejected members of the Coldstream Guards sitting around a banquet table bemoaning a possible assignment in America. Includes five stanzas of verse. Title from item. Forms part of: British Cartoon ... More

The gig / Wells del.

The gig / Wells del.

Print shows two British sailors waving banners labeled "Rodney," one smokes a long clay pipe, between them is a Dutchman, his hands behind his back, sitting in the bottom portion of a toy top, he says, "Mine he... More

Utilité particuliére, du vaisseau volant Divers utilités, du vaisseau volant.

Utilité particuliére, du vaisseau volant Divers utilités, du vaisseau ...

Two songs illustrated with humorous pictures of men using flying machines for various purposes. The left panel shows a man fleeing from his creditors, while the four vignettes to the right depict a clergyman, a... More

[Title page; Songs of Innocence and of Experiences; showing the two contrary states of the human soul; showing Adam & Eve]

[Title page; Songs of Innocence and of Experiences; showing the two co...

Hand-colored engraving by William Blake. Reference copy may be in LCQJ, Winter 1980. This record contains unverified, old data from caption card. Caption card tracings: Bible O.T.; Title pages; Publ. Ind.

[ Facsimile of first newspaper printing of The star spangled banner]

[ Facsimile of first newspaper printing of The star spangled banner]

Published in the" Baltimore Patriot and Evening Advertiser." Part of an assortment of uncatalogued clippings and photostats relating to the Star Spangled Banner, housed in the Music Division.

My country! 'Tis of thee

My country! 'Tis of thee

Tune: God save the king.

[ Facsimile of Keim manuscript]

[ Facsimile of Keim manuscript]

This copy of the Star spangled banner was written by Key in 1842 for his friend Gen. George Keim of Reading, PA. (Content) Inscription at bottom: "to Gen. Keim." Part of an assortment of uncatalogued clippings ... More

The celebrated Congo minstrels' songs / Thayer & Co's lith., Boston.

The celebrated Congo minstrels' songs / Thayer & Co's lith., Boston.

Music cover showing five minstrels on stage. Copyright by C.H. Keith.

Dodge's songs. Ossian E. Dodge as the mesmeric lecturer

Dodge's songs. Ossian E. Dodge as the mesmeric lecturer

LOT subdivision subject: Magic. Title and other information transcribed from caption card and item. Copyright by Ossion E. Dodge. Lithograph by J.H. Bufford's Lith. Boston, after daguerreotype by Whipple. Capti... More

Sweet home

Sweet home

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1852, by L. Swormstedt & A. Poe, In the Cleck's office in the District Court of the United States for the District of Ohio. (Copyright) Full title of book, "Deu... More

Hymns and songs for the anti-slavery celebration of the Declaration of Independence, at Framingham, July 4, 1857. Boston, Prentiss & Sawyer, printers, No. 19 Water Street.

Hymns and songs for the anti-slavery celebration of the Declaration of...

Fourth of July celebration. Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 62, Folder 32.

Hymns and songs for the festival in Faneuil Hall, in commemoration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Massachusetts anti-slavery society, Friday evening, January 2, 1857. Printer & Sawyer, Printers, 19 Water Street.

Hymns and songs for the festival in Faneuil Hall, in commemoration of ...

Verse. Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 62, Folder 28.

Hymns and songs for the celebration of British West India emancipation, at Abington, July 31, 1858 ... Boston. Prentiss, Sawyer & company, printers, 19 Water Street.

Hymns and songs for the celebration of British West India emancipation...

Verse. Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 63, Folder 15.

The Song [...]he war / Homer, del.

The Song [...]he war / Homer, del.

Composite of seven views of Civil War life, related to song titles, showing soldiers marching, drinking and fighting in camp, woman at home, and black man seated on barrel labeled "contraband". Illus. in: Harpe... More

Patriotic songs! These songs of freedom will be sung on the Mall, July 4th, 1861, by a large choir, commencing at 6 1-2 o'clock ... [6 songs].

Patriotic songs! These songs of freedom will be sung on the Mall, July...

Songs.; Handwritten on verso: 21316414 750. Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 67, Folder 24.

Songs of the War, by Private Miles O'Reilly / Lith. of Henry C. Eno, N.Y.

Songs of the War, by Private Miles O'Reilly / Lith. of Henry C. Eno, N...

Music cover showing five Civil War scenes, including three battle scenes, one hospital scene, and one of soldiers toasting in a dining room. No. 4.

The true issue. The aim of slavery has ever been to obtain the balance of power, to control legislation, and to make the national government auxiliary to its purpose ... [Three songs] [n. p. 1864].

The true issue. The aim of slavery has ever been to obtain the balance...

Verse. Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 235, Folder 9.

Firmament

Firmament

Published in Concordia, p. 35.

Buckley's Songs and Dances

Buckley's Songs and Dances

Includes full standing portrait of G. Swaine Buckley, "Ethiopian Comedian." LOT subdivision subject: Negro Minstrels. Title and other information transcribed from caption card and item. Lith. by J.H. Bufford. C... More

Ives
The  blessed Bible

The blessed Bible

Published in Concordia, p. 34.

Ohio

Ohio

Published in Concordia, p. 31.

Home run polka. Composed by Mrs. Bodell of Washington, and respectfully dedicated to the National Baseball Club of Washington, D.C. / / L. N. Rosenthal, lith.

Home run polka. Composed by Mrs. Bodell of Washington, and respectfull...

Sheet music cover showing a baseball game. Title from item. Publication date based on copyright statement on item. Stamped on lower right: W. G. Metzerott, Music & Pianos, Washington, D.C. Filed under LOT subdi... More

Who'll buy

Who'll buy

Entered, according to Act of Congress, A.D. 1869, by Root and Cady, in the District Court of the United States for the Northern District of Illinois. (Copyright) From Pacific glee book, p. 184.

Miss Adelaide Phillipps' Songs

Miss Adelaide Phillipps' Songs

Music cover illustrated with half-length portrait of Miss Phillipps. Copyright by G.D. Russell & Co.

Yale College, Commencement day, July 22, 1869. Songs for the dinner. [New Haven, 1869].

Yale College, Commencement day, July 22, 1869. Songs for the dinner. [...

Available also through the Library of Congress web site in two forms: as facsimile page images and as full text in SGML. Printed Ephemera Collection; Portfolio 9, Folder 15a.

Whisper songs for December

Whisper songs for December

From: Music Copyright Deposits, 1870-1885 (Microfilm M 3500) Also available through the Library of Congress Web Site as facsimile page images. (additional physical form)

Whisper songs for August

Whisper songs for August

From: Music Copyright Deposits, 1870-1885 (Microfilm M 3500) Also available through the Library of Congress Web Site as facsimile page images. (additional physical form)

Whisper songs for November

Whisper songs for November

From: Music Copyright Deposits, 1870-1885 (Microfilm M 3500) Also available through the Library of Congress Web Site as facsimile page images. (additional physical form)

Caricatures of popular songs

Caricatures of popular songs

13310 71 U.S. Copyright Office. This record contains unverified data from PGA shelflist card. Associated name on shelflist card: Bufford's (John H.) Sons.

Whisper songs for July

Whisper songs for July

From: Music Copyright Deposits, 1870-1885 (Microfilm M 3500) Also available through the Library of Congress Web Site as facsimile page images. (additional physical form)

Whisper songs for September

Whisper songs for September

From: Music Copyright Deposits, 1870-1885 (Microfilm M 3500) Also available through the Library of Congress Web Site as facsimile page images. (additional physical form)

Calvary songs [title page only]

Calvary songs [title page only]

From: Music Copyright Deposits, 1870-1885 (Microfilm M 3500) Also available through the Library of Congress Web Site as facsimile page images. (additional physical form)

[Leaves and moonlit beach scene around musical notation for "The Voice of the Sea"]

[Leaves and moonlit beach scene around musical notation for "The Voice...

Title devised by cataloger. (DLC/PP-1933:0175). Forms part of: Cabinet of American illustration (Library of Congress). Published in: "The Voice of the Sea" by T. B. Aldrich and W.W. Gilchrist, Harper's Christma... More

Summer holidays rondo
Where home is

Where home is

Published in The Day School Ideal, p. 32.

The  old canoe

The old canoe

From The Day School Ideal, p. 68

[Whistler ephemera, "Songs on Stone" announcement]

[Whistler ephemera, "Songs on Stone" announcement]

Text only proof for an announcement of the publication of Whistler's first four lithographs in the series, "Songs on Stone," to be issued by William Heinemann, with Whistler's corrections to the layout and his ... More

Jack
The songs the boys are singing in the camps to-night

The songs the boys are singing in the camps to-night

Soldiers in front of tents. Photo copyrighted by J.D. Cress. No. 6. This record contains unverified, old data from caption card. Caption card tracings: Children ; Family groups Misc.; Holidays; Courtship...; Se... More

"They stopped and looked me over"

"They stopped and looked me over"

Photograph illustrates a line from a song by Gene Jefferson entitled "Coon! Coon! Coon!" and shows a couple pausing in a park as an African American man sits on a bench. H5596 U.S. Copyright Office. Title from item.

"I'm feeling mighty blue"

"I'm feeling mighty blue"

Photograph illustrates a line from a song by Gene Jefferson entitled "Coon! Coon! Coon!" and shows two African American men standing in an alley. H5589 U.S. Copyright Office. Title from item.

"I had my face enameled"

"I had my face enameled"

Photograph illustrates a line from a song by Gene Jefferson entitled "Coon! Coon! Coon!" and shows an African American man having his face lightened. H5594 U.S. Copyright Office. Title from item.

"I wish my color would fade"

"I wish my color would fade"

Photograph illustrates a line from a song by Gene Jefferson entitled "Coon! Coon! Coon!" and shows a couple sitting on a park bench as an African American man stares at them. H5597 U.S. Copyright Office. Title from item.

"Morning, night and noon"

"Morning, night and noon"

Photograph illustrates a line from a song by Gene Jefferson entitled "Coon! Coon! Coon!" and shows an African American man being pushed by a shopkeeper on a city street corner. H5598 U.S. Copyright Office. Titl... More

Little Negro tea pickers singing pickaninny songs for President Roosevelt, Pinehurst Tea Farm, Summerville, S.C.

Little Negro tea pickers singing pickaninny songs for President Roosev...

Stereograph showing Roosevelt surrounded by children. H17856 U.S. Copyright Office. Title from item. On recto: Copyright 1902 by Underwood & Underwood.

Little Negro tea pickers singing pickaninny songs for President Roosevelt, Pinehurst Tea Farm, Summerville, S.C.

Little Negro tea pickers singing pickaninny songs for President Roosev...

Stereograph showing Roosevelt surrounded by children.

My mother was a northern girl

My mother was a northern girl

Photograph shows 16 song slides illustrating "My Mother was a Northern Girl" by J. Fred Helf. H22870 U.S. Copyright Office. Title from item.

Little Negro tea pickers singing pickaninny songs for President Roosevelt, Pinehurst Tea Farm, Summerville, S.C.

Little Negro tea pickers singing pickaninny songs for President Roosev...

Stereograph showing Roosevelt surrounded by a group of children.

The harmony of courtship (Songs without words)

The harmony of courtship (Songs without words)

Man and woman seated by piano and looking at each other. H30243 U.S. Copyright Office. No. (1). Copyright by R.Y. Young.

Dew drops
Sidney R. Ellis presents golden voiced singer, Al. H. Wilson in his new play of picturesque Switzerland, Metz in the Alps new songs and yodels.

Sidney R. Ellis presents golden voiced singer, Al. H. Wilson in his ne...

Created and "copyright 1906 by The U.S. Lithograph Co., Russell-Morgan Print, Cincinnati & New York." No. 9979. Forms part of: Theatrical poster collection (Library of Congress)

Sidney R. Ellis presents golden voiced singer, Al. H. Wilson in his new play of picturesque Switzerland, Metz in the Alps new songs and yodels.

Sidney R. Ellis presents golden voiced singer, Al. H. Wilson in his ne...

Caption: The lullaby yodel. Created and "copyright 1906 by The U.S. Lithograph Co., Russell-Morgan Print, Cincinnati & New York." No. 9978. Forms part of: Theatrical poster collection (Library of Congress)

Sidney R. Ellis presents golden voiced singer, Al. H. Wilson in his new play of picturesque Switzerland, Metz in the Alps new songs and yodels.

Sidney R. Ellis presents golden voiced singer, Al. H. Wilson in his ne...

Caption: How you vos. Created and "copyright 1906 by The U.S. Lithograph Co., Russell-Morgan Print, Cincinnati & New York." No. 9977. Forms part of: Theatrical poster collection (Library of Congress)

Dixie
She is the queen of his gas machine / Copyright 1907 by Tom M. Phillips.

She is the queen of his gas machine / Copyright 1907 by Tom M. Phillip...

Photograph showing a woman draped across a sofa, holding a book, looking pensive. H103633 U.S. Copyright Office. Title from item. Proof of lantern slide to accompany the song, "In my merry Oldsmobile."

Young Johnnie Steele has an Oldsmobile / Copyright 1907 by Tom M. Phillips.

Young Johnnie Steele has an Oldsmobile / Copyright 1907 by Tom M. Phil...

Photograph showing a man driving an early Oldsmobile automobile. H103632 U.S. Copyright Office. Title from item. Proof of lantern slide to accompany the song, "In my merry Oldsmobile."

She trieds to learn the auto / Copyright 1907 by Tom M. Phillips.

She trieds to learn the auto / Copyright 1907 by Tom M. Phillips.

Photograph showing an affectionate woman and man driving an early Oldsmobile automobile. H103634 U.S. Copyright Office. Title from item. Proof of lantern slide to accompany the song, "In my merry Oldsmobile."

As they go flying along / Copyright 1907 by Tom M. Phillips.

As they go flying along / Copyright 1907 by Tom M. Phillips.

Photograph showing an affectionate woman and man driving an early Oldsmobile automobile. H103624 U.S. Copyright Office. Title from item. Proof of lantern slide to accompany the song, "In my merry Oldsmobile."

Old Nassau

Old Nassau

(DLC/PP-1934:0109). Forms part of: Cabinet of American illustration (Library of Congress). Published in: "Old college songs," Century, 76:232 (June 1908).

Old college songs

Old college songs

(DLC/PP-1934:0109). Forms part of: Cabinet of American illustration (Library of Congress). Published as title illustration in: "Old college songs," Century, 76:227 (June 1908).

La libertad caucional del famoso diestro Rodolfo Ganoa / Posada.

La libertad caucional del famoso diestro Rodolfo Ganoa / Posada.

Print shows Rodolfo Ganoa, bullfighter, bust portrait, facing slightly right, above sword, cape, and cap, with head of bull at bottom. Letterpress text discusses Ganoa's release from prison on bail of 5000 peso... More

Hearken ye sprightly : an old New England hymn

Hearken ye sprightly : an old New England hymn

(DLC/PP-1934:0109). Forms part of: Cabinet of American illustration (Library of Congress). Published as title illustration in: "Hearken ye sprightly. An old New England hymn," by Reuben Peaslee, Scribner's Maga... More

Benny Havens

Benny Havens

(DLC/PP-1934:0109). Forms part of: Cabinet of American illustration (Library of Congress). Published as musical notation in: "Old college songs," Century, 78:183 (June 1909).

The alphabet song of "forty-one date"

The alphabet song of "forty-one date"

B&w photographic print in LOT 4398. (DLC/PP-1934:0109). Forms part of: Cabinet of American illustration (Library of Congress). Published in: "Old college songs," Century, 78:186 (June 1909).

Old college songs

Old college songs

(DLC/PP-1934:0109). Forms part of: Cabinet of American illustration (Library of Congress). Published as title illustration in: "Old College Songs," Century, 78:181 (June 1909). Exhibit loan 4193-L.

Some punkins : a Thanksgiving ballad

Some punkins : a Thanksgiving ballad

Published as title illustration in "Some Punkins. A Thanksgiving Ballad" by Arthur Guiterman, Good Housekeeping, 53:690 (Nov. 1911). (DLC/PP-1934:0109). Forms part of: Cabinet of American illustration (Library... More

Printed page of text: "Hymn for the Working Children" by Fanny J. Crosby.

Printed page of text: "Hymn for the Working Children" by Fanny J. Cros...

Title from NCLC caption card. Attribution to Hine based on provenance. In album: Miscellaneous. Hine no. 3537. Caption card is blank. Date estimated on basis of captions for photos with neighboring numbers. Cre... More

War songs
"Es sprach der Herr von Hindenburg" / Zeichnung v. Walther Krötzsch.

"Es sprach der Herr von Hindenburg" / Zeichnung v. Walther Krötzsch.

Print shows Paul von Hindenburg, President of Germany, bust portrait, facing front, wearing military uniform. On verso is printed the sheet music with text for the song "Es sprach der Herr von Hindenburg" direc... More

Harem march

Harem march

From "Zubrochene Fiedele" (General)

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