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Tennessee has earned a worldwide reputation as an important music center. The State of Sound illustrates the development of Tennessee music from pre-Columbian times to the present, telling the story through artifacts and audio-visual media. The visitor will learn about the merging of Southeastern Indian, European, and African American styles, laying the framework for traditions, including folk, spiritual, and even classical music. The visitor will also understand technological and cultural changes that effected the development of hybrid forms like ragtime, rhythm and blues, gospel, rock and roll, and soul, all of which were produced and played by Tennessee musicians. Throughout the gallery, from “Discovering Tennessee’s Musical Roots” to “Tennessee Music in the Industrial Age” to “Tennessee Music Comes of Age (1910-1945)” and finally “Taking Tennessee Music to the World,” the visitor will learn about the people, places, and events that transformed Tennessee into an internationally celebrated music center through an array of artifacts. Highlights include an early Parlor Guitar from Pulaski, images and records connected to the Fisk Jubilee Singers, a bow tie worn by Jimmy Rodgers, and a performance outfit worn by Isaac Hayes.
The State of Sound: Tennessee's Musical Heritage is scheduled to be on view through the beginning of 2020.