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Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century biographies contain errors and bias. We rely on volunteers to edit the historic biographies on a continual basis. If you would like to edit this biography please submit a rewritten biography in text form . If acceptable, the new biography will be published above the 19th Century Appleton's Cyclopedia Biography citing the volunteer editor





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George Frederick Root

ROOT, George Frederick, musician, born in Sheffield, Berkshire County, Massachusetts, 30 August, 1820. While working on his father's farm he found opportunity to learn unaided to play several musical instruments, and in his eighteenth year he went to Boston, where he soon found employment as a teacher of music. From 1839 till 1844 he gave instruction in the public schools of the city and was also director of music in two churches. He then went to New York and soon was occupied in teaching music at various educational institutions. In 1850 he went to Paris, where he spent a year in study. After his return he published in 1853 his first song, " Hazel Dell," which became very popular. It appeared as the work of " Wurzel," the German equivalent of his family name, and the same pen-name appeared on many of his later pieces. Many of the numerous songs that Dr. Root has written have achieved a national popularity. Among them are "Rosalie, the Prairie-Flower" (1855) ; "Battle Cry of Freedom " (1861) ; " Just Before the Battle, Mother" (1863); " Tramp, Tramp, Tramp, the Boys are Marching" (1864); "The Old Folks are Gone " ; "A Hundred Years ago" ; "Old Potomac Shore"; and the well-known quartet, "There's Music in the Air." His cantatas include "The Flower-Queen " (1852)and "The Haymakers" (1857). He was the originator of the normal musical institutes, and when the first one was held at New York in 1852 was one of the faculty. Since 1860 he has resided in Chicago, where in 1872 the degree of Doctor of Music was conferred on him by the university of that city By his compositions and his work as a teacher he has done much toward elevating the standard of music in this country. Besides his numerous songs he has composed much sacred music and published many collections of vocal and instrumental music. He is also well known as an author, his work in that line comprising "methods" for the piano and organ, handbooks on harmony and teaching, and innumerable articles for the musical press.--His son, Frederic Woodman, musician, born in Boston, 13 June, 1846, began his musical education under his father, and studied also with William Mason and James Flint, and took vocal lessons with Carlo Bassini, of New York, and Vannuccini, of Florence. During 1869-'70 he studied and travelled in Europe, and since his return he has been occupied in teaching, composing, and conducting. From 1866 till 1871 he was in the employ of Root and Cady, the Chicago music publishers. His compositions include songs, cantatas, an operetta, and other pieces. He has been very successful as a teacher of vocal music, and has published "Root's School of Singing" (Cincinnati, 1873). From 1871 till 1875 he edited the " Song Messenger."

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