yousmokeinmyheart-deactivated20 asked: Hi! Most congratulations for your blog. Awesome. Do you have any idea of what kind of music did HDT used to listen to? Greetings from Barcelona. :-)
Hello Thoreau friend from Barcelona! Happy to hear the blog is being enjoyed all the way in Spain!
To answer your question, Thoreau didn’t explicitly mention the names of pieces of music from the time to which he would listen, but scholars do have some ideas about his relationship with music.
Thoreau himself could sing and play the flute, so we know that he could read music and had at least some knowledge of scales and musical notations. His sister Sophia played the piano in their family home. I was able to find a list of archival Thoreau family possessions, which included sheet music belonging to Sophia. It seems likely to me that we can assume that Henry David Thoreau woul
d have been familiar with the following list of pieces that were in his sister Sophia’s collection. (This list is after the Read More cut.)
We also know that Thoreau was gifted a music box, which he considered one of his most prized possessions. However nothing in my research told me what the melody was that the music box played, other than that it was a very somber tune.
Thoreau’s friend Ralph Waldo Emerson also wrote a piece called “Concord Hymn” in 1837. I would hazard a guess that Thoreau must have heard this piece at least once.
Henry David Thoreau subscribed to the Greek philosophy of music and harmony being found in nature, words, and poetry (The ‘Music of the Spheres.’) He preferred the music that “existed in sound rather than in composed or pre-conceived melody.”