Bound Volume Number
Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Prof. Theo Cateforis
Prof. Jenny Doctor
Arts and Science
Musicology, New Orleans, Music History
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
American Popular Culture | Audio Arts and Acoustics | Ethnomusicology | Musicology | United States History
“When the Saints Go Marching In” has never been subject to a sustained study of its origins, disseminations, and current manifestations. A study like this, focused on a song’s perceptions via various viewpoints through time, is typically referred to as a song profile; a form of reception history specifically concentrated on a single musical composition. “When the Saints Go Marching In,” also known as “Saints” or “The Saints,” is an African-American spiritual typically listed as a traditional in most songbooks without a composer. I have laid out this paper into four sections, one for each period of the song’s history. The first chapter discuses the origins of the tune; examining spirituals, brass bands, claims to authorship, and its early recordings. Chapter two describes Louis Armstrong’s contribution to the song, and its rise in popularity during the Dixieland Revival of the 1940s and 50s. The following chapter comments on the emergence of “Saints” as a New Orleans cliché and the growth of tourism and economic disparity in the city. The final chapter explores the song’s use in children’s music education in the United States. I used Sheryl Kaskowitz’s book God Bless America: The Surprising History of an Iconic Song, a song profile on Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America,” as inspiration for this study.
 I will refer to “When the Saints Go Marching In” as “Saints” frequently in this paper, as it is a common shorthand for the tune, used by both musicians and scholars.
Jacks, Gregory H., "I Want to Be in That Number: A Song Profile of "When the Saints Go Marching In"" (2015). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 817.
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