George Washington once wrote, "Nothing is more agreeable, and ornamental, than good music."1 Washington valued the music of the fife and drums during his military career and as president music served him in both ceremonial and honorific ways. Mrs. Washington, as well as her children and grandchildren, studied music. Most notably, the Washingtons’ granddaughter, Eleanor “Nelly” Custis was accomplished on the harpsichord.

Music

Music

While George Washington may not have been musically-inclined, he was the head of a household who studied and played music. 

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Harpsichord Replica

Harpsichord Replica

Since July of 2016 John Watson, Conservator of Early Keyboard Instruments, has been working to create a replica of Nelly Custis's 1793 Longman & Broderip 2-Manual Harpsichord.

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Fifing with Mount Vernon's Visitors


Watch resident fifer Don Francisco in action!

Notes

1. George Washington, "General Orders, June 4, 1777," The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799, Vol. 8, ed. John C. Fitzpatrick (Washington, DC:  United States Government Printing Office, 1931), 181-2.

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