The Database of American Sing-Along Repertoire (DASAR) contains songs that have been used for the purpose of community singing in the United States and Canada. Currently, the sources include song books, sing-along films, and sing-along radio and television broadcasts. These are the songs that Americans of the 20th century not only knew, loved, and shared, but sang together as part of a collective process that forged a national identity. For this reason, they have much to tell us about the American story.
The narrative captured by this database begins with the songbook 18 Songs for Community Singing, published in 1913 by a committee of the Music Supervisors National Conference (MSNC). This collection marked the inauguration of a formal community singing movement. During World War I, community singing took root in military training camps and gained currency as an expression of patriotic spirit. The MSNC took advantage of the opportunity to solidify the sing-along repertoire with the publication of Twice 55 Community Songs, which appeared in a number of editions, while various military songbooks were published by the government. The 1920s saw community singing become mainstream entertainment. Commercial sing-along films (most famously, the “bouncing ball” films created by Max Fleischer) appeared in theaters beginning in 1923, while community singing had reached the airwaves by 1925. In the 1950s, the established sing-along repertoire spread to LP and television, while folk revivalists began leading Americans in singing an alternative repertoire of new and old songs. Throughout the 20th century, publishers continued to release song books for use in community singing.
This database is maintained by Esther Morgan-Ellis, whose work was funded in part by a Presidential Incentive Award from the University of North Georgia. Contributions have been made by UNG students Devin Hing, Ashlynn Nash, Emily Nelson, and Anita Ingram. Their work was funded by the UNG Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities.
DASAR is very much a work in progress. Please check back often—new material and functionality will be added on a regular basis. If you are interested in contributing, please contact the editor .