Music has the ability to take us back through time. So much music has been preserved
from the past 500+ years that whole concerts can be centered around one time period. I just got back from a music conference which had an entire Vespers service that could
have taken place in 1724!
Music can also remind us of a feeling. For example, when I hear “The Victors,” I am automatically transported to my Dad’s seats in Michigan Stadium, cheering the team on the field.
Liberty Square has two kinds of music surrounding it. On one side, the music reflects the time. Various pieces played in the area are taken straight from the late-1700s and played on period instruments. (One of many hidden details in the Liberty Square!)
Other pieces in Liberty Square reflect the spirit. The colonial and Revolutionary time periods were full of patriotic and independent thought. There was an energy needed to create a United States out of thirteen small colonies, all of whom had very unique beginnings. Thusly, there is music that was composed later in America’s history, but still reflect that spirit of America.
Let’s break both of them down:
Note: Although the Haunted Mansion is an attraction in Liberty Square, the area music near it fades into nothingness as you approach. The music of the Haunted Mansion is another post entirely!
Music to reflect the time:
This classical-style music can be found near (and in) the Liberty Tree Tavern and other surrounding buildings. Most of the music can be dated back to colonial times or thereafter. A few that can be found here are “How Great is the Pleasure” (composed in 1789) and “Now We Are Met.”
You’ll find that much of this music doesn’t have piano. During this time period pianos were just beginning to become popular, and not everyone had one or could be exposed to one in the colonies. Instruments that were prevalent at this time include the violin, fife, flute, and harpsichord. “Gentle Maiden” and “Devil’s Dream” are actually pieces composed for hammered dulcimer, another common instrument for the time.
One of my favorite pieces is “Come Dance and Sing / Quick Dance” which were taken from old Shaker tunes of the time period. Shakers are known for being seized with such spiritual joy that they would dance, leap, and shake during their gatherings! It is easy to listen to this duo of tunes and hear that joy spilling out.
Much of the music that would have been popular in the colonies was actually composed in Europe and brought over by merchants and new colonists. “In These Delightful, Pleasant Groves” was written in England by Henry Purcell. Another popular English tune you can hear is “Greensleeves.”
In a Liberty Tree Tavern loop that I found on YouTube, there are many pieces that were taken from The Civil War soundtrack – the documentary filmed by Ken Burns. I own this soundtrack, and love all the pieces!
Music to reflect the spirit
On the opposite side of Liberty Square, near The Hall of Presidents, there is a different sort of music being played. This isn’t necessarily music from the time period, but marches and spirited tunes that were composed in the last 200 years. While the music is still played using period instruments, the instruments used are not soft, light, and airy. Instead, we hear more brass and percussion.
Many popular marches heard here were composed during the Civil War, like “Battle Cry of Freedom” and “The Recruiting Sergeant.” You can find them on The Civil War: Its Music and Its Sounds. Other popular tunes found here, like “Glory Hallelujah Grand March” and “Sumpter Light Guard March” can be found on Music of the Civil War.
I have heard comments by people saying that they “hear a lot of Sousa” when passing the Hall of Presidents. It may sound like the great marches of John Philip Sousa, but most of them were composed before the height of his popularity. Sousa would likely have heard many of these great Civil War marches when he was a member of the Marine Band in the 1880s.
It might surprise you to see so many pieces at The Hall of Presidents that are from decades after the Revolutionary War. But doesn’t your step fall in line with the rhythm of the drums as you pass the building? Do your hands reflexively go next to your mouth as you imitate the fife solo piped out of the speakers? This is the intention of the Imagineers: to put you in the mood of the area.
In Liberty Square, the music is varied. There are the calming tones of the Liberty Tree area and the bombastic calls of The Hall of Presidents area. The area takes its musical beauty from all sorts of eras and weaves it into a fantastic score that truly is a reminder of our liberty.
What is your opinion of the Liberty Square area music? Do you prefer quiet dulcimers or loud trombones? Do you wish the whole area stuck with one soundtrack? Are you excited that you can actually purchase some genuine Walt Disney World background music? Comment below!