Written for three lever harps, this classic Stephen Foster tune is a perfect choice for retirement centers. Also lovely for recitals and receptions. In the key of C, the parts are easy yet interesting. Harp 2 has several lovely runs, harps 1 and 3 are very easy. Parts 1 and 2 can be played on lap harp, part 3 can be played on a 26-string harp. EASY, ALL HARPS.
Composer Stephen Foster was born on July 4, 1826, in Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania.
Stephen Foster had the unique ability to blend classical music with the popular music of the day. His friend, Dan Rice and his music teacher, Henry Kleber helped him achieve this. Dan Rice, an entertainer, was a circus performer and black faced singer. Mr. Kleber, a German emigrant, was one of Foster’s music teachers.
At 20, Foster worked for a time in Cincinnati as a bookkeeper for a steamship company owned by his brother, Dunning. A few years later, Foster and his wife Jane Denny McDowell took Dunning’s boat down to New Orleans for their honeymoon. Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair was written for Jane.
After that, he went back to Pennsylvania where he worked with the Christy Minstrels and wrote many of his most well known songs: “Camptown Races” (1850), “Nelly Bly” (1850), “Old Folks at Home” (known also as Swanee River, 1851), “My Old Kentucky Home” (1853), “Old Dog Tray” (1853), and “Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair” (1854).
Around 1860 he moved to New York City. We can assume to attempt to make a living as a composer. His wife and daughter left him shortly after that. In 1863 he began working with humorous lyricist George Cooper. Scholars say these songs didn’t have the elegance nor depth of his earlier works. One year later he died, at the age of 37.
Mr. Foster was an extremely gifted composer of beautiful melodies with lyrics. His contributions to the musical world are vast, not only for his songs, but for paving the way for the next generations of musicians to receive the credit and royalties they deserve, and to support themselves by their art.
Stephen Foster was a composer, but not a performing musician. He had his first song published at the age of 18, “Open Thy Lattice Love.” His very famous song, “Oh, Susanna,” was sold to a publishing company for $100. The song became extremely popular, and although $100 was a lot of money in those days, the money didn’t sustain him for as long as the song sustained it popularity. At that time, without copyright laws, a song could be taken and arranged by anybody else without remuneration to the original composer, and this is what happened to the works of Stephen Foster.