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Brief History of Wartime Piano Melodies

As summer begins with Memorial Day and winds its way to the 4th of July, we at Chicago Piano Tuners want to take time to acknowledge the brave souls who have fought for our freedom. If not for them, we may not be here sharing our passion for music, including wartime piano melodies. Historically, music has been a cherished companion in times of war, and for good reason.

Music is more than a lovely sound to our ears.

Music speaks to our hearts and encourages and lifts our spirits in dark and difficult times. Wartime has traditionally been a time to generate songs of patriotism and support. People see loved ones off to war, can find solace in music. Here are a few of our favorite wartime piano melodies.

Battle Hymn of the Republic (Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory)

Battle Hymn of the Republic, also known as Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory, was written by Julia Ward Howe in February of 1862, during the Civil War. The song was first viewed by the public when the lyrics were published in the Atlantic Monthly. The Civil War was a trying time for all those touched by the war, and this melody kept many men and women “marching on” with its empowering lyrics and upbeat rhythm.

Keep the Home Fires Burning (Till the Boys Come Home)

Keep the Home Fires Burning is a lesser known song, but worthy of mention. Composed by Ivor Novello with lyrics written by Lena Guilbert Ford, this was a British patriotic song written in 1914, during the First World War. The song was first published as Till the Boys Come Home on October 8, 1914. The encouraging lyrics of this wartime melody are a perfect example of what these tunes set out to do in these trying times.

Let no tears add to their hardships

As the soldiers pass along,

And although your heart is breaking,

Make it sing this cheery song

God Bless America

Last, but certainly not least, is the famous and beloved American patriotic melody, God Bless America. Although it was written by Irving Berlin in 1918, for a World War I review, it was withheld. In 1938, it was revised and released for World War II. God Bless America lyrically takes the form of a prayer for God’s blessing and peace for the nation. 

God bless America

Land that I love

Stand beside her

And guide her

Through the night with the light from above

Are you singing along? We are! We love these and so many other wartime songs. As piano tuners and music lovers, we’re proud to say we contribute to musicians’ ability to compose music for the next generation.

Caleb CrockettBrief History of Wartime Piano Melodies