The Minnesota Heritage Songbook tries to document the history and culture of Minnesota as found in traditional folk songs — the songs people sang to each other, and handed down from generations. Many of these songs were brought by immigrants when they came to Minnesota. We have sought songs collected in Minnesota, and songs about events relevant to Minnesota history, and gathered them in the Songbook, which was released in September, 2008.
Copies of the Heritage Songbook have been distributed to school districts, parks, and historical societies around the state. You can probably find a copy there. The PDF (4.7 megabytes) includes the entire contents of the book, and is a free download! Visit Google Books or Free-ebooks.net to get a copy, or download it here.
To get the latest news about the Heritage Songbook, visit the blog on the home page.
The Minnesota Heritage Songbook is dedicated to my parents, Dorothy and Frederick Waltz.
— Robert B. Waltz
The Heritage Songbook was originally designed as a print book. This PDF may still be the best place to start, since it contains the introduction to the project. But there are many other ways to learn about Minnesota music. You might just want to listen to some Minnesota songs; the player at right gives you access to about three-fourths of the sixty-odd recording we made for the Heritage Songbook. Or you can browse the recordings using the Recordings page on the Performances menu. You can read about individual songs using the items on the Songs menu. On the Song Information menu, the Catalog of Minnesota Songs lists every folk song known in Minnesota. The Song Topics list catalog lets you search for songs about a particular subject — e.g. the Civil War or farming issues. Or you can start with the items on the “For Teachers” menu, which gives suggestions for using the songs to teach about particular historical events, about science, or about economics. Whichever method you use, we hope you find it useful!