Stephen C. Foster's Melodies

Songbook with Lyrics & Sheet Music(full piano arrangement) for 150+ pieces.

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ON the fourth day of July, 1826, just fifty years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, there was born in the little village of Lawrenceville, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, a child that was des­tined to become one of the most famous musicians of the country; one whose songs went 'round the world and are as popular to-day as they were when first published; a boy whose artistic sense was so finely de­veloped that he was able to convert it to music, and thus through his genius give unlimited joy to the countless millions who have since learned to love the melodies of Stephen Collins Foster.
His father was William Barclay Foster, an enterprising and prominent Pitsburgh merchant and the founder of the village of Lawrenceville, now a part of the city of Pittsburgh. He was of Scotch-Irish ancestry. Eliza Clayland Foster, the mother of Stephen, was of English ancestry and be­fore her marriage lived on the eastern shore of Maryland. Her family were staunch patriots during the Revolution and were greatly accomplished, highly ^educated and refined. It is believed that much of the musical tal­ent of Stephen Foster was derived from his mother's branch of the family, as it is said that they were distinguished in the society of Baltimore for their musical and artistic abilities.
When he was thirteen years old, while at school at Athens, Pennsyl­vania, he wrote a piece of music for the college commencement and ar­ranged it for four flutes, of which he took the leading part. This piece he called the "Tioga Waltz," and it was very well received both by the audience and his fellow-students.
His first published song was produced when he was sixteen years old and was called "Open Thy Lattice, Love," which was composed for and dedicated to Miss Susan E. Pentland, his next door neighbor and life-long friend. Miss Pentland, who is now Mrs. Andrew L. Robinson, had a beautiful soprano voice, and it was Foster's custom to refer all his compo­sitions to her, and if she was satisfied with them he felt that they were all right. , A large part of Stephen Foster's time was spent at the Pentland home and the majority of his songs were composed on Miss Pentland's piano.

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