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“C” is for Classical Music

South Carolina from A to Z logo

  “C” is for Classical Music. The first English settlers brought with them their European musical traditions. Psalmody [the singing of psalms in divine worship] was the colonists’ primary music. Although sacred music would continue to predominate, by the 1730s concerts in Charleston brought European classical style music to a broader audience. Because of the great demand for classical and popular sheet music in the 19th century, music-publishing firms thrived in both Charleston and Columbia. By the 20th century, classical music was melding with indigenous influences, initiating a distinctly American musical style and the emergence of native composers, including South Carolinians Lily Strickland and Carlyle Floyd. Classical music continues to prosper in the state’s educational institutions as well as in amateur and professional performing groups such as the Charleston Symphony, the Greenville Symphony, and the South Carolina Philharmonic.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.