by Jacob Kirckman, ca. 1762, London (Thomas Jefferson Foundation) 


Harris, John M. A History of Music for Harpsichord or Piano and Orchestra . Lanham , Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1997. 

Walker, Cornelia G. History of Music in South Carolina : South Carolina Composers and Works . Columbia : R.L. Bryan, 1958. 

Salgo, Sandor. Thomas Jefferson, musician and violinist . Charlottesville , Va. : Thomas Jefferson Foundation, 2000. 

Rath, Richard Cullen. How Early America Sounded . Ithaca : Cornell University Press, 2003. 

Ammer, Christine. Unsung: A History of Women in American Music . Portland , Amadeus, 2001. 

Stein, Susan R. The Worlds of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello . New York : Abrams, 1993.

White, Shane and Graham White. The Sounds of Slavery: Discovering African American History through Songs, Sermons, and Speech. Boston: Beacon Press, 2005.


1. Discuss the place of the harpsichord in musical entertainment in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. What kinds of music were typically played on a family harpsichord? 

2. To what extent was musical performance a gendered activity in the early South? What were the racial boundaries of musical performance? 

3. Locate this harpsichord in the family and social life of Jefferson at Monticello . Who probably played it? When? And on what occasions? What other instruments may have been heard either in Monticello or in other homes in the early South? (see also: Monticello music collection, Microfilm 79, Music Microfilm, UVa Library, Manuscripts) 

4. While the harpsichord may have been heard in the drawing room of elite white homes, what music was more likely heard coming from the quarters at night? What instruments were played?