#DiscoverSummerNC: Sounds of Summer

Monday, July 6, 2020

The roots of American music run deep in North Carolina. Musicians from North Carolina have made brilliant, groundbreaking contributions to many of America’s most important musical genres. There are many ways to learn about North Carolina's rich music history and heritage. Here are two platforms available from the Government and Heritage Library (GHL) that will help you get started.

featuring musician Rhiannon Giddens holding a banjo


Interested in the history of music in North Carolina? Or want to know what famous musicians are from North Carolina? Look no further than NCpedia (ncpedia.org), the online encyclopedia for North Carolina.

Here you can find an article on “Music History from Colonization to the 1920s” or learn more about the recording industry in North Carolina. There are entries focusing on North Carolina’s influence over different music genres—from folk, to bluegrass, to Moravian, to gospel, to rock and everything in between. Or read through the biographies of famous musicians from North Carolina including, but not limited to, Nina Simone, Fulton Allen, better known as Blind Boy Fuller, Earl Scruggs, and James Taylor.

With over 8,400 total NCpedia articles there is much more for you to find. Each article contains links to additional resources in NCpedia and other websites. Or utilize the search bar with terms such as “music,” “musicians,” or “songs.”

North Carolina Digital Collections

Maybe you are more interested in practicing music, learning a new song, or finding out more about music theory. The North Carolina Digital Collections (digital.ncdcr.gov) hosts a variety of publications featuring music and music education. Here are just a few.

Each year the North Carolina Symphony publishes What makes music music?, an educational resource for kids and accompanying teacher’s handbook. Formerly known as Your North Carolina Symphony book [resource, teacher’s handbook] and Symphony stories [resource] the activities included in this publication make music history and theory accessible to all ages. Meanwhile, adult learners should take a look at English folk songs from the southern Appalachians, comprising 122 songs and ballads, and 323 tunes. Filled with sheet music, this book may introduce you to a new song or help you learn how to play an old favorite.

You can also find out more by looking through issues in the Our State Magazine collection. At least 53 issues, from 1933-2016, have articles focused on music, music traditions, and musicians. Or take a look in the North Carolina Folklore Journal collection which has 15 issues, from 1964-2016, that specifically feature folk traditions and music.

Discover More!

We hope you enjoy these resources. If you’d like to discover more take a look at the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources’ #DiscoverSummerNC challenge online (https://www.ncdcr.gov/things-do/tripstravel-ideas/discover-summer-across-north-carolina/discover-summer-challenge#july-6:-sounds-of-summer) and via social media (https://twitter.com/ncculture). Or share with us some of your favorite resources.

Krista Sorenson, Digital Projects Librarian