Camptown Races, The

Uncommon syncopation, complete ascending tonic arpeggio, and whimsical verses are both challenging and fun!

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  • Grade: Fifth
  • Origin: USA - Stephen Foster (1826-1864), first publication 1850
  • Key: D Major
  • Time: 2/4
  • Form: AAB - song: AB verse/refrain
  • Rhythmadvanced: | ti ti ti ti | ti ti ti (ti) | ti ta/ | syncopation, | ti/ ri ti ti | syncopation, | ti ti ti ti ri | syncopation, | ti ri ti ri ti (ti) | syncopation, | ta/ (ti) | ta/ ti | syncopation, | ti ti ti ri ti ri | ti ti ri ri ti ri ta | syncopation
  • Pitchesintermediate: Do Re Mi Fa So La Do
  • Intervalsintermediate: So\Mi/So (m3), Re/So (P4), Re/Fa (m3), Do/Mi/So/Do8 ascending tonic arpeggio (D), Do8\La/Do8 (m3)
  • Musical Elements: notes: half, dotted quarter, quarter, dotted eighth, eighth, sixteenth (flag/beam), pickup beat, repeat sign, syncopation, tonic arpeggio; style: energeticallynote: first phrase ending on the supertonic (2, Re), second phrase ending picks up from the supertonic, passing it again before resolving to the tonic (1, Do)
  • Key Words: USA history, USA geography: Pennsylvania; westward expansion, American Minstrel, American Composers, tent city, whimsical song, comical song, hyperbole (exaggerated lyrics), folk tale, camptown, racetrack, horse race, caved, pocket full of tin, long-tail filly ( female horse), track, nag (very tired horse), blind horse, mud hole, bottom, ten foot pole, muley cow (without horns), bobtail (without a tail), bobtailed, flinged (tossed), railroad car, shooting star, ten-mile heat, repeat, money, tow-bag (gunny sack/burlap bag), bay (reddish color horse); contraction: I'll (I will); abbreviations: stickin' (sticking), goin' (going)
  • Recorderadvanced: complete ascending tonic arpeggio (C Major), challenging syncopation, style: energetically

Also known as "Camptown Races" and "Goin' to Run All Night." Stephen Foster is known as the "father of American music." Foster's "camptown" experience occurred in Pennsylvania. A "camptown", or "tent city" was a temporary accommodation familiar in many parts of the United States, especially along the rapidly expanding railroad network.


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