This page was created by Donal Hegarty.  The last update was by Alisa Clapp-Itnyre .

Sounding Childhood

SOUNDING CHILDHOOD by Alisa Clapp-Itnyre

Welcome to 

This is an academic website, part of Sounding Victorian (est. Dr. Phyllis Weliver, 2016), stemming from my research and publications focused on Victorian children's music.  Victorian children were just as musical as adults during the Romantic era and the 19th century, but little has been done to explore this phenomenon.  Neither was there the capability or interest in recording nineteenth-century children's songs or their singing.

This website attempts to fill this musical void.  In collaboration with Dr. Jessica Raposo, Director of Music, Indiana University East, I have organized biannual, local children's choir-camps to learn and record popular 19th-century songs for children (much of it specifically from the Victorian era, 1837-1901) so that we can hear what children over 100 years ago were singing.  This music for Victorian children was quite diverse. Some of it was used for play (taught by adults, adapted by children, like nursery rhymes), much of it was taught in church and school (hymns and school songs), and some songs were even written and used politically, like those for the animal-rights movement (Bands of Mercy songs).

The site is organized into three parts based on those musical genres we have recorded to date: children's hymns, children's school and play songs, and Bands of Mercy songs.  Click the links below which will take you to information, scores, pictures, & recordings within each of these genres.  More options are given in the Menu (upper left).  Enjoy!


recorded in 2015


recorded in 2017.


PART 3: POLITICAL SONGS (Bands of Mercy Songs):

recorded in 2019.

I hope you will appreciate this re-created musical experience, which will allow you to enjoy the sounds of childhood from another era.  As you see by the pictures, even our contemporary children relish re-visiting the Victorian past: feigning photographic seriousness, dressing in period clothes, and of course singing these engaging songs!

     Dr. Alisa Clapp-Itnyre
     Professor of English
     Indiana University East
     Richmond, Indiana

Note: all images and recordings are made with children's and parents' permission; see individual pages for complete listing of names.  To use material from this website in any way, credit me.  For specific directions, see the Copyright and Permissions page.

                                                                                                                                             updated June 2020

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