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Masters of Tradition Story Map

Contribute to a map of the city’s soundtrack

D.C. is a musical city. It has birthed and supported distinct musical movements—from go-go to hardcore punk, blues to bluegrass, hip-hop to moombahton. As people have migrated to the region, they have brought new languages, sounds, and practices—enriching the sonic landscape, carving out new corners across the city not just for performances but for rehearsal and recording.

The city’s varied soundtrack can be heard in formal performance halls, the corner bar, and basement shows. It is produced at backyard barbeques, neighborhood festivals, and on the high school football field. Its contributors include the church choir, Metro station buskers, and the protestors who assemble in civic spaces, such as Lafayette Park or the National Mall. 

The D.C. Music Map is a platform for marking how music animates our communities and experiences. We make visible the places that support these—formal and informal, “permanent” and ephemeral.

Produced by the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage in collaboration with Esri.

This project received federal support from the Latino Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Latino Center, and from the Asian Pacific American Initiatives Pool, administered by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center.

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