Tunes on Tuesday: Schoolhouse Rock – The Preamble

Why this tune?

We’re going through a difficult time in the US, seeing direct threats to our system of government, including some from people who swore to support and defend the Constitution that set up that system. Maybe they forgot the call to “establish justice and ensure domestic tranquility,” one of the ambitious goals in the preamble to that Constitution.

The only reason I remember the preamble is because of a song, part of the Schoolhouse Rock cartoon series that ran on American TV in the 1970s. You may have seen those clips on YouTube. I’m old enough to have seen the originals on network TV, probably watching in my pajamas early one Saturday morning.

Dig this detail!

The Preamble song was written by Lynn Ahrens, who got her start as a songwriter with Schoolhouse Rock, and went on to win a Tony award for the lyrics to the musical Ragtime.

Her Preamble song is brilliant songwriting, as evidenced by the fact that I can still sing it 45 years later. It’s also a great example of the power of music to communicate ideas as well as emotion.

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Published by Oren Levine

Jazz pianist and composer in Washington, DC. Also a digital product and technology professional working at a small DC nonprofit

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