Pelah Hoyt: Mussulman says the remarkable thing about music during the time of the expedition was that it was much more of "guy thing" than it is today.
Joseph Mussulman: They liked to sing high, they liked to sing loud, they liked to make a lot of noise. So, for instance, one of the most popular tunes of that day is one that we still use. They would have sung;
Ye sons of Columbia who lately have fought
For those rights which unstained from your sires have descended.
May you long taste the glory their valor has bought,
And your sons reap the soil that your fathers defended.
Mid the reign of mild peace, may your nation increase
In the wisdom of Rome and the glory of Greece.
And ne'r may the sons of Columbia be slaves.
While the earth bears a plant, or the sea rolls its waves.
Now that tune is embarrassing to most guys now. You know, it's too high. But in those days those guys loved that, because they could show off. And, they would have called the words, the song, and what they sang it to was the tune. And popular music in those days was based on the principal of mix and match. There were eighty different sets of words, of songs, written to be sung to that tune, and any one of those eighty would work. And so, a real guy was one who knew a lot of tunes, and knew a lot of songs, and could combine them in ways that would make the other guys say, "Oh, cool, man! Let me hear that again. Awesome! I want to learn that!"
And, it 's spontaneous, it's part of what guys do. We just don't do that much anymore. One of my favorite examples is...see...this idea of singing being a man's stuff, a man's thing, lasted through the nineteenth century. In 1876 in Lincoln, Montana, there was a Fourth of July celebration that featured a glee club contest and five men's glee clubs took part. There are singers in Lincoln now, but do you suppose you could put together a competition of five men's glee clubs from that neighborhood? But, these are the miners from around there, and they were all from--many from--the old country and that was their tradition to sing. And, it was show off, it was competition, it was what you did.