House Music at Your House
Play along with us
In many ways, this newfound focus on making and sharing music at home echoes life in 19th-century NSW. Imagine a world with no recordings, radio, television, phones or internet to pass the time! Just as we do now, people in 19th-century NSW enjoyed collecting and sharing their favourite songs. They bought sheet music from shops in town, spent hours copying out tunes by hand, or passed down songs from person to person in an oral or folk tradition. Some may have been able to afford a piano, or perhaps they accompanied themselves on a violin, whistle, accordion, guitar, flute or drum.
Playing with music across time
We invite you to join us in a new musical experiment, bringing the music of the 19th century into the 21st century. We’ve delved into the hundreds of popular songs that survive in the collection at Rouse Hill Estate in north-west Sydney to bring you the top 20 hits of the 1840s and 50s – songs played across NSW, Australia and overseas. We’ve also asked some brilliant musicians to help you explore these pieces of music from their homes and in our historic houses.
Every week we’ll post online the music score of a song enjoyed by the Rouse family and their friends, along with a video, a sound file or guitar chords. The words of these 19th-century songs may seem strange and quaint today, but many of the underlying sentiments are familiar, touching on unrequited love, emigration, a longing for home, separation from loved ones, and even the experience of impatiently waiting for the postie!
We would love YOU to update these songs for the 2020s and make your own cover version of each week’s song, turning music from 19th-century Rouse Hill House into music at YOUR house in the 21st century. Watch this page as our selection of songs grows.
Share your musical or creative response
We invite you to share your response with us, and we’ll share the best responses across our website and social media. We want to highlight the ways in which music making at home is for everyone, by everyone – just as it has always been. The more ‘homely’ and amateur your recordings are, the better!
Make your version in any style or format you like – perform it straight or turn it into blues, country, rap, hip-hop, slam poetry, K-pop, Bollywood or any other style; rearrange it for different instruments, voices or electronics; sing it, play it, dance it, write about it, photograph it or paint it.
Share on Facebook or Instagram
Upload your video, or photo, picture, or written response of your response to your own Facebook or Instagram and tag us with @sydlivmus #SLMhousemusic
By tagging Sydney Living Museums on social media you agree for your work to be possibly shared across SLM’s website, Facebook or Instagram accounts.
Share via Youtube or Soundcloud
Upload your recording to your own Youtube or Soundcloud and share with us by completing the below form and provide links to the recording.
Please note: if submission is by someone aged under 16 years, a parent or guardian must complete the below form.