Great Depression Folk Music

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Folk Music of the Depression Era Music soothes the soul. There has been extensive study into the effects music can have on people’s emotions. Music can have a positive effect on both physical and psychological functions. These beneficial effects include reducing stress and anxiety and improving mood. (Choi, Lee, Lim). According to Psychology Today, when people interact with music in ways such as singing, listening or creating music, there can be an immediate psychological benefit. Because of these psychological ties, folk music was an essential part of the Great Depression. This music gave a voice to those who thought they had none, and helped many cope with their situation. During the Great Depression, people turned to entertainment to…show more content…
Woody Guthrie wrote over one thousand songs between the mid-1930’s and the early 1950’s (Brower). During this time he began to compose songs about farmers who had lost everything and the struggles of the people most affected by the Dust Bowl. Guthrie was a singer and songwriter who had experienced, first hand, the effects of the Great Depression. His debut album, Dust Bowl Ballads was recorded in 1940. The songs told stories of the plight of many Americans during the Great…show more content…
However, the effects of the Great Depression were still very much on the minds of the people of America. The idea for the song came from his disdain for the song “God Bless America,” by Irving Berlin. (Shaw, pp. 3-5) The original verses that Guthrie wrote expressed a very different America than that of Berlin’s song. The original title, “God Blessed America for Me,” which contained verses that seemed to parallel Irving Berlin song of “God Bless America.” However Guthrie’s version of this song was written with a sarcastic tone (Eyerman). Guthrie took what he and other Americans were going through during the Great Depression and penned “God Blessed America for Me.” Later, after a series of revisions, the title was changed to “This Land is Your Land.” As we know it today, it is a song that reflects a great amount of patriotism and pride, however in one of the verses that is not included in our modern version of the song, it reflects something quite different. In the last verse of his original version, Guthrie gives mention to the reality of the suffering of the Great Depression. He

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