Frederic Woodman Root

frederic-woodman-rootFrederic Woodman Root (June 13, 1846 – November 8, 1916)

Frederic Woodman Root was born in Boston in 1846, son of George Root, a well known songwriter at the time. His mother, Mary Olive Root, was also a famous singer, thus, Root grew up surrounded by music. At just 5 years old, his father had given him his first musical exercise and instructions in singing and piano. Not only was his father a famous musician, but Root came from a long line of generations of musicians from both sides of his family.

Once Root turned fourteen years old, he began his study of music under the guidance of B. C. Blodgett, who took an immense interest in Root. In the following years, he moved to New York to study under Mr James Flint, leader of music at the Madison Square Church. During this time Root really propelled into his career as an organist. In 1863, Root moved to Chicago and carried out numerous concerts and tours, on both piano and organ.

Musical Style and Influences

Root travelled extensively as a musician, including a tour with his father as a pianist and conductor, and most significantly, through Europe. While Root was in Europe he spent several years traveling and studying the local music and ways of teaching. During his time in Italy, he studied vocal studies under Luigi Vannuccini, an endeavor that was to change his career path immensely. Once back in Chicago, he taught voice at the National Normal Musical Institute, and joint authored a Sunday School singing book.

What was Frederic Woodman Root Known For?

The Music of Frederic Woodman Root

In the following years he devoted himself to teaching and singing. Many of his works have been published, including operettas, methods on vocals and teaching, and a cantata for the Beethoven society. During the time of 1910 to 1929, seventeen of his songs had been recorded and distributed.

Root has gained the most success and fame with his teaching methods on vocal pedagogy. At the time, he gained vast amounts of praise and success among music educators. Root developed a vocal teaching method like none had accomplished before, mainly comparing vocal exercises and skill to those needed to perform on other instruments.

Frederic Woodman Root Most Famous Works

Frederic W. Root was a very prolific song writer and musician from the 1850s through the early 1900s. He wrote numerous ballads, solos, choruses, and glees. Most of his music was considered popular works or secular guitar songs, but some were more classical in nature. He wrote several Opus numbers along with many different books about music, theory, and culture.

His most famous musical works were listed in the Pacific Glee Book along with other notable composers of the day. Here are a few of the songs that were published in that book.

  • Smile and Be Contented
  • Dreams
  • O’er the Mountains (Arranged by Gounod)
  • Waiting at the Gate
  • Never Put Off
  • God Bless Our Loved Fireside
  • The Beckoning Hand

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