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Sounds of the MetropolisThe 19th Century Popular Music Revolution in London, New York, Paris and Vienna$

Derek B. Scott

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195309461

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195309461.001.0001

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Music, Morals, and Social Order

Music, Morals, and Social Order

(p.58) 3 Music, Morals, and Social Order
Sounds of the Metropolis

Derek B. Scott

Oxford University Press

Abstract and Keywords

Nineteenth-century bourgeois values were abundant, as were their ideological functions (thrift set against extravagance, self-help against dependence, hard work against idleness) but, where art and entertainment were concerned, the key value in asserting moral leadership was respectability. It was something within the grasp of all, unlike the aristocratic notion of “good breeding”. It followed that recreation should be rational, designed to be improving, and not merely idle amusement. The rational and the recreational were linked together in the sight-singing movement. There were, of course, other kinds of musical activities to worry about: for instance, the moral propriety of the waltz, or the innuendo to be found in songs of the café-concert and music hall, or political songs. Yet, not even Gilbert and Sullivan are morally unimpeachable. A respectable moral tone is at its strongest in the drawing-room ballad, but even sterner moral fiber is found in temperance ballads.

Keywords:   choirs, improvement, morality, music hall, operetta, public, private, respectability, waltz, Gilbert and Sullivan

The subject matter of this chapter raises large and thorny theoretical issues. Talcott Parsons says confidently as a fundamental principle that “the stability of any social system” depends on the “integration of a set of common value patterns,” and that these values need to be internalized, to become part of people's personalities.1 The internalization of moral values was certainly recognized in the nineteenth century: John Stuart Mill claims in his essay Utilitarianism (1863) that the ultimate sanction of all morality is a “subjective feeling in our own minds.”2 But just how these common values come to be internalized, and what role that leaves for human agency, has been debated long and hard.3 On one side are those arguing that it is all a matter of consensus and shared ideals.4 On the other are those, among whom I number myself, insisting that the seeming consensus actually conceals the working of a dominant ideology. This idea appears in its most direct form in Karl Marx's statement “the ideas of the ruling class are in every age the ruling ideas” (Die deutsche Ideologie, 1845–46).5 It was reworked by Antonio Gramsci as a theory of hegemony (Quaderni del carcere, 1929–35), by Louis Althusser as a theory of ideological interpellation (Lénine et la philosophie, 1969), and by Michel Foucault as a theory of power operating through legitimizing discourses (Surveiller et punir, 1975). And these are by no means the only significant intellectual efforts that have been made in the field of ideological critique. This book is primarily a historical study of the rise of new forms of popular culture within specific social structures and, as such, has limited space to elaborate on (p.59) theory; instead, I will draw on theoretical ideas only where they add more depth to the argument or a sharper focus to details under scrutiny.

Respectability and Improvement

Nineteenth-century bourgeois values were several, as were their ideological functions (thrift set against extravagance, self-help versus dependence, hard work versus idleness), but where art and entertainment were concerned, the key value in asserting moral leadership was respectability. It was something within the grasp of all, unlike the aristocratic values of lineage and “good breeding.” Lineage was to become the butt of satire: Pooh-Bah in The Mikado is incurably haughty because he can trace back his ancestry to a pre-Adamite atomic globule. Respectability was not enforced from on high, however; it operated as part of a consensus won by ideological persuasion. Yet it never quite escaped its class character, as in the French working-class husband's mock-deferential term for his wife: la bourgeoise. In Offenbach's Orphée aux enfers, the outcry against Eurydice's lack of marital fidelity—and, thus, of respectability—is led by a character called, satirically, Public Opinion (a phrase that had become popular with the press). Thus, this stage work lends weight to the arguments of Jürgen Habermas that “public opinion” had become a problem for liberalism by the mid–nineteenth century and, whatever critical value it might previously have held, had now started to function as an institutionalized fiction that served to legitimize dominant values.6

To be a moral person and, indeed, to be respectable, Christianity was important—even if one's church attendance was less than regular. The Christian religion was used as a means of furthering the interests of the middle class in their dealings with the working class and, in so doing, functioned as bourgeois ideology. Marx argues in Das Kapital (1867) that for a society of goods producers, in which individual work is swallowed up in the standardized form of the commodity, Christianity with its cultivation of man in the abstract (especially in bourgeois developments, like Protestantism) is the most appropriate form of religion.7 Max Weber makes a much lengthier case for linking the rise of capitalism to the “Protestant ethic,” with its insistence that people were individually responsible for perfecting themselves and, therefore, should rationalize their conduct, work hard, and not waste time (“Zeitvergeudung is … die erste und prinzipiell schwerste aller Sünden”).8 It follows that even recreation should be rational, designed to be improving, and not merely idle amusement. Nonconformism was a major force behind English choral music in the nineteenth century.9 Methodists, for example, had introduced congregational singing in the previous century, and a desire to encourage education and improvement made them strongly committed to sacred choral music. London's Sacred Harmonic Society, founded in 1832, began as a nonconformist organization. (p.60) It met in the smaller of the two halls contained within the Exeter Hall, Strand, which had opened in 1831. Of its seventy-three members in 1834, thirty-six were artisans and twenty-seven shopkeepers—figures that reveal that it was dominated by the lower middle class.10

In Paris, it was the state that took an interest in similar developments. A commission chaired by the prefect of the Seine recommended the teaching of music in primary schools in 1835, having found that in schools where it was already being taught the pupils had “greater powers of application, courtesy, and good manners.”11 The Municipal Council put Guillaume Wilhem in charge. In 1836, the state awarded subsidy to his choir, which he called the Orphéon. As a consequence of that support, it had more prestige and a higher-class membership than the Sacred Harmonic Society.12 (Offenbach's Orpheus, incidentally, is director of the Orphéon of Thebes.) Jane Fulcher may overestimate working-class participation in the Orphéon societies, but is right to stress that it was given official backing, because after the recent insurrection, it was seen as a move toward the creation of a harmonious art and a means of cultivating taste and the softening of manners.13 The jury is still out regarding the musical standards achieved; France did not have the advantageous tradition of congregational singing found in Britain and Germany. It was many years later, in 1873, that Charles Lamoureux founded the Société de l'Harmonie Sacrée, modeled on London's Sacred Harmonic Society.

Oratorios dominated the choral scene in London, but took longer to find an enthusiastic response in New York. Walt Whitman remarked of the performance of Mendelssohn's Elijah by the Sacred Music Society in 1847: “it is too elaborately scientific for the popular ear,” affording the audience “no great degree of pleasure.”14 There was no mass choral singing movement in Vienna because of the late decline of aristocratic power there and the aristocracy's suspicion (after the Napoleonic Wars) that choral societies were covert political organizations.15 The Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde mounted oratorio performances on a scale similar to the Sacred Harmonic Society, but no regular choral society was relied on. The large choirs used for these events, however, drew much more of their membership from the middle class than did those in London.

The conviction behind Matthew Arnold's Culture and Anarchy (1869), to some extent fired by fear of the London crowd and growing concern about an ignorant mass, was that only culture could save society from anarchy. Edward Said has cited the Hyde Park riots of 1867 as important context for Arnold's idea of culture as a “deterrent to rampant disorder.”16 In America, similar ideas prevailed, as Nicholas Tawa has explained: “Prominent educators and social-minded leaders were confident that music could shore up humanity's ethical and emotional being, teach democratic principles, and encourage allegiance to an undivided national society.”17 Arnold's book was well received in America (p.61) after its New York publication in 1875. Culture for Arnold is not a broad term: he spares no time on the music hall; people need to be led to cultural perfection through the pursuit of sweetness and light. His polarization of culture and anarchy indicates the importance of culture as a force of order. An audience may shout, stamp, applaud, or hiss at will at low entertainment, but a strict reception code operates for high art: you do not talk; you do not turn up late; you do not hum along; you do not eat, and so on.18 John Kasson, in a study of manners in nineteenth-century America, speaks of “disciplined spectatorship” as the required code of behavior following the decline of communal working-class pursuits.19 New York audiences were very vocal in their enthusiasm or derision, and the latter was likely to be underlined by missile throwing. In London, attempts were made to control rowdy behavior in music halls.20 In Paris, there were attempts to impose a code of silence at high-status concerts by stressing bourgeois politeness;21 but this did not apply at cafés-concerts, for even the grandest establishments were beset by public order problems. The Alcazar d’été, for example, became known by performers as the loge infernale, where groups of young men smoked and drank heavily, chatted loudly, and usually ended up being thrown out. The more elegant audience at the Ambassadeurs, however, was also prone to ragging and horseplay, which necessitated police action at times. In London, the police had the power to enter a music hall auditorium uninvited (unlike a theater), since they could always argue that they were ensuring that the licensing provisions were not being contravened (for instance, by serving those who were drunk). At the end of the century it was common for high-minded critics to relate rowdy behavior to there being one kind of culture that was elevating and another, a culture of the masses, that was degrading.

The working class was thought to need “rational amusement” such as choirs and not coarse entertainment.22 The rational and the recreational were linked together in the sight-singing movement, even if the singing was not from conventional notation. Joseph Mainzer, the author of Singing for the Million (1842), John Hullah, and, last on the scene, John Curwen each offered competing methods to the singing classes; Curwen promoted the Tonic Sol-fa method, devised by Sarah Glover, a teacher in Norwich. It was not a cynical exercise in control: in their own lives the middle class were committed to self-improvement by going to concerts, buying sheet music, and performing it at home. Parisian soirées, Viennese Hauskonzerten, and “at home” functions in London and New York made demands on all those present. From the 1830s on, pianos were found in middle-class homes in all these cities, and girls were expected to learn to play them. While music was supposed to offer the poor “a laborem dulce lenimen, a relaxation from toil, more attractive than the haunts of intemperance,” it was also believed to furnish the rich with “a refined and intellectual pursuit, which excludes the indulgence of frivolous and vicious amusements.”23

(p.62) For the middle class, culture was instructive but first required that people were instructed in it; hence the didactic character of attempts to encourage working-class “appreciation.” The People's Concert Society, founded in 1878, was an amateur organization dedicated to making high-status music known among the London poor. The society began Sunday concerts of chamber music in South Place, Moorgate, in 1887. From the succeeding year, admission was free, or a voluntary contribution could be made, and attendance was good.24 In 1882, the Popular Musical Union was founded “for the musical training and recreation of the ‘industrial classes.’”25 Concerts took place at the People's Palace in London's East End, and continued to do so until 1935. Persuasion was used, but no coercion was needed to interest the working class in music; the ideology of respectability and improvement meant that music, instrumental as well as vocal, could even be found on the timetables of instructive activities at Mechanics’ Institutes, especially after 1830.26

The British brass band movement, in the second half of the century, was viewed, alongside choral singing, as another example of “rational and refined amusement,” hence the willingness of factory owners to sponsor works bands.27 They were to feel sour, however, when they discovered brass bands leading marches of striking workers.28 These bands had their roots in the industrial North, but the steel, ironworks, and shipping companies of East London also had bands in the 1860s. Huge annual contests were held at the Crystal Palace during 1860–63. The first of these, a two-day event, attracted an audience of 29,000.29 The test pieces for the contests at the Crystal Palace placed an emphasis on high-status music: selections from Meyerbeer's grand operas were the favorite choices, as at the Belle Vue contests in Manchester during the same decade. In the other cities of this study, regimental bands were a common sight. Paris's most famous military band was that of the Garde Republicaine (formed in 1854 as the band of what was then the Garde de Paris). It acquired a substantial reputation in America while on tour there in the early 1870s. Adolphe Sax was responsible for the instrumental organization of the band. It contained several families of instruments with six pistons (trumpets, trombones, saxhorns, and tubas) that were of his own invention, his desire being to enable a more consistent production of chromatic runs of notes than that possible on three-piston instruments.30 In other respects, the band was not dissimilar in size or instrumentation from that of the Household Brigade in London. In the 1850s, the sale of refreshments was permitted on Sundays in certain London parks to coincide with military band performances. This met with strong opposition from those who wished to guard Sunday's importance as a religious day and who feared also that the excitement of listening to band music would trigger civil disturbance.31 On the other hand, the right kind of music, in the right surroundings, was thought to act as “a civilising influence to which the lower classes were particularly (p.63) responsive.”32 In Vienna, at midcentury, a license from the magistracy was required for permission to make “music for entertainment in public resorts,” and the intention to include concert and operatic music alongside dance music was a great help in obtaining it.33

Physical Threats to Morality

A belief in the moral power of music was an all-pervasive ideology: “Let no one,” the great champion of the improving powers of music the Reverend Haweis admonished, “say the moral effects of music are small or insignificant.”34 It was the activities that accompanied music making that raised suspicion of unwholesome conduct, not the music itself. Even in Vienna, for example, there were those who worried about the moral propriety of the waltz, its sensuality, and the close proximity of the couple dancing.35 The waltz offers an example of how music could be perceived as being linked to a physical threat to public morality. When the waltz first began to be danced “in society,” it provoked moral outrage in some quarters. Existing society dances were more decorous; the minuet and gavotte may have been dances for couples, but they emphasized graceful movement and involved delicate contact with the fingers only. In the waltz you could hold your partner, and not just with fingertips. Certainly, it was de rigueur for both men and women to wear gloves, but you could still hold your partner close. There were other subversive features, too, as Arthur Loesser explains with reference to the early waltz of the 1790s:

it seemed utterly disorderly—it had no fixed number of steps, no prescribed direction of movement, no general pattern. It was for no settled number of couples: each pair danced without caring about any of the others—any couple could enter the dance or leave it at any second, as the whim might strike them. Truly, the waltz was an illustration of the two most intoxicating virtue-words of the age: the “people” and “liberty.”36

The Empire line dominated women's fashions when the waltz was first introduced, and ball gowns allowed libidinous males considerable opportunity for groping, especially given the absence of corseting. Clothes were soon designed to place much more textile between partners, the outcome being the bell-shaped dress. Next, the development of the crinoline meant that heavy underwear was no longer necessary—though it is often forgotten that the cage collapsed as the man pushed forward.

Byron wrote a poem on the waltz in 1812 when it was little known in England. The following excerpts illustrate his (perhaps surprising) moral disgust:

  • From where the garb just leaves the bosom free,
  • That spot where hearts were once supposed to be;
  • Round all the confines of the yielded waist,
  • The strangest hand may wander undisplaced;
  • The lady's in return may grasp as much
  • As princely paunches offer to her touch.
  • Hot from the hands promiscuously applied,
  • Round the slight waist, or down the glowing side,
  • Where were the rapture then to clasp the form
  • From this lewd grasp and lawless contact warm?
  • At once love's most endearing thought resign,
  • To press the hand so press'd by none but thine;
  • To gaze upon that eye which never met
  • Another's ardent look without regret;
  • Approach the lip which all, without restraint,
  • Come near enough—if not to touch—to taint.37

The waltz combined closeness with a sensation of the room spinning around, and this could prove an erotic and giddy experience. Later in the century, this is what Madame Bovary discovers when she waltzes for the first time (the experience being heightened by her consumption of alcohol):

They began slowly, and then went faster. They turned: everything around them turned—the lamps, the furniture, the wainscoting, and the floor, like a disc on a pivot. On passing near the doors, the hem of Emma's dress grazed38 his trousers. Their legs entwined; he looked down at her, she looked up at him; a languor took hold of her; she stopped. They set off again; and, with a more rapid movement, the Viscount, dragging her, disappeared with her to the end of the gallery, where, panting, she nearly fell, and, for a moment, leant her head on his breast. And then, still turning, but more gently, he conducted her back to her seat; she leaned back against the wall and put her hand over her eyes.39

Queen Victoria's interest in waltzing helped to win it respectability in Britain, but moral concerns about dance music did not disappear, and were always ready to resurface.40 They did so, for instance, in 1885, when Mr. Burnand of the Aberdeen Presbytery launched a widely reported attack on “balls, dancing parties, and promiscuous gatherings of people of both sexes for indulging in springs and flings and artistic circles and close-bosomed whirlings.”41 Ironically, it was not the waltz but the galop that ended up being banned in Vienna, after the authorities decided it was injurious to health in the 1840s. Strauss Jr.'s way around this was to develop the Schnell-Polka, which was more or less the galop under a new name. In 1854, when he produced his Schnell-post-Polka (Express Mail Polka, op. 159), a cholera epidemic was creating a more distracting health worry than that of purportedly dangerous dances.

(p.65) Public and Private Morality

It was meaningless, of course, if the entertainment was respectable but the venue not. Concern about prostitution in theaters and music halls grew in the second half of the century.42 In Vienna, prostitutes were found at some of the grandest dance halls, such as the Apollo in the 1820s.43 The next decade the Apollo cleaned itself up entirely—by becoming a soap factory. In Paris, concern about prostitution in cafés developed in the 1860s, previous attention having been on other public spaces, such as boulevards and gardens. Alcohol consumption was another threat to morals and respectability, and fractional interests within the bourgeoisie used music as a medium of persuasion; for example, the temperance groups in London and New York promoted songs portraying the destructive effects of drunkenness on the home and family.44 The music hall was especially disliked, not just because of the availability of alcohol there but also because it was celebrated in song (hence attempts to create “coffee music halls”). At one social level were Bessie Bellwood calling for her pint of stout and Gus Elen yearning constantly for half pints of ale, and at another were George Leybourne and Alfred Vance praising, respectively, champagne from Moët and from Cliquot.45

Music for the nineteenth-century middle-class home aligns itself with one of the fundamental “Victorian values”—that of improvement. It was the possession of an improving or edifying quality that allowed music to be described, in a favorite Victorian phrase, as “rational amusement.” The quality that makes the nineteenth-century domestic ballad distinctive arises from its moral concerns and not from sentimental self-indulgence or a love of the maudlin, as some people mistakenly suppose. In short, American and British ballad writers and composers were often concerned to place sentimentality in the service of other aims, and these other aims were primarily social, moral, religious, and political rather than aesthetic.

The moral tone, whether we regard it now as healthy or not, is precisely what makes the Victorian ballad differ in character from the songs that came after. Early twentieth-century British and American ballads tend to shy away from the moral didacticism found in the previous century's ballads. The two closing decades of the nineteenth century were a transitional period, during which the variety of ballad types and ballad forms decreased. The structural diversity illustrated by songs like “Come into the Garden, Maud” (words by Alfred Tennyson, music by Michael Balfe, 1857) and “The Lost Chord” (words by Adelaide Procter, music by Arthur Sullivan, 1877) gives way to the more predictable shapes of post-1880 ballads, in which irregularities are accommodated to a more obvious overall verse and refrain form. This process was accelerated by the song sheet production of the group of firms in New York's Tin Pan Alley in the 1890s.

(p.66) So let us begin by asking what themes were found suitable for the purpose of improvement. There are many songs that remind us of our own mortality, or place human life in a grander scheme of things, or contrast the secular and the divine. These, it should be stressed, do not always need to have an overtly sacred theme. There are other songs that take children as a theme, perhaps celebrating the love of parents for children, or touching on infant death, or presenting illustrations of the presumed innocence of children as a means of teaching adults a moral lesson. In addition to these, there are songs that deal with friendship, pride in one's country, and courage, whether that is exemplified in battle or in facing the grim realization that one has been jilted in love.46

The features that give the nineteenth-century domestic ballad its distinctiveness spring from a desire to teach a moral lesson, or educate people about appropriate social behavior, or edify and uplift them spiritually and drive them on to perform good deeds. Perhaps the first song that established firmly the kind of sentiment that was to be emulated by all songwriters who saw the middle-class home as their market was “Home, Sweet Home!” of 1823. Even at the end of the century, it was still felt to possess a remarkable moral and emotional power. In one story of an English colonial boy in the Australian outback, it is thanks to his pet bird being able to whistle “Home, Sweet Home” that he is saved from a gang of desperados: “strange and marvelous it was to see the tears trickling down the cheeks of these grizzled scoundrels at the thought of the homes into which they had probably brought nothing but shame and misery.”47 The song was, interestingly, a collaboration between an American, John Howard Payne, and an Englishman, Henry Bishop. In that, it foreshadowed the transatlantic traffic in this type of song that grew with every decade of the century. It featured in the English opera Clari, or The Maid of Milan, and it has an Italianate character suited to the opera's subject. However, the Italian connection is no more than that of a cantabile operatic style, rather than an Italian folksong, despite the fact that Bishop had tried earlier to pass it off as a Sicilian air in a book of national airs.48

The Italianate quality persisted in many of the songs composed by the Jewish English entertainer Henry Russell (fig. 3.1).49 One such was “Woodman, Spare That Tree!” of 1837, another Anglo-American creation, with words by George Pope Morris.50 A few sample measures will show that this is not a million miles from the famous aria “Casta diva” from Bellini's Norma of 1831 (see ex. 3.1).

This song brings us face to face more directly than does “Home, Sweet Home” with what some find the biggest obstacle to taking nineteenth-century ballads seriously: what is perceived as exaggerated sentimentality. Here is a narrative concerning someone whose emotional ties to a particular old oak are likely to seem excessive even to the most ardent tree-hugging hippie. However, Henry Russell is quite clear on this point: “sickening sentiment is born of a sickening mind,” he proclaims, (p.67)

 							              Music, Morals, and Social Order

Figure 3.1 One of New York and London's most popular socially committed and wholesome entertainers, Henry Russell, in later life.

believing that his own songs, in contrast, exemplify a healthy moral tone.51 Edgar Allan Poe was a champion of George Morris, claiming that “Woodman, Spare That Tree” was a composition “of which any poet, living or dead, might justly be proud.” Poe was convinced it would make Morris's name immortal.52

The sternest moral fiber is to be found in temperance songs, although these frequently sounded too haranguing even for those who otherwise prided themselves on their respectability. All the same, 500 people were reputedly turned away from a concert in Niblo's Garden given by the teetotal Hutchinson Family.53 Where alcohol was concerned, the middle-class watchword tended to be moderation, not prohibition. The most affecting type of temperance song overcame this resistance by putting its message in the mouth of a child—for example, “Come Home, Father!” (words and music by Henry Clay Work, 1864) and “Father's a Drunkard and Mother Is Dead” (words by Stella, music by Mrs. E. A. Parkhurst, 1866). The first of these bears the epigraph54

  • Standing at the bar-room door
  • While the shameful midnight revel
  • Rages wildly as before.

The laboring poor may have been sung about and even felt to be understood in certain socially concerned drawing room ballads, but their lives often lay outside the experience of those who sang them (see fig. 3.2). Antoinette Sterling, who so movingly performed “Three Fishers Went Sailing,” confessed that not only had she no experience of storms at sea but “had never even seen fishermen.”55 The subject position (p.68)

 							              Music, Morals, and Social Order

Example 3.1 (a) Henry Russell's “Woodman, Spare That Tree!” (words by George Morris, music by Henry Russell); (b) “Casta diva” (Vincenzo Bellini, Norma (1831), act 1).

(p.69) such ballads addressed was that of the middle class. So, too, did the Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas, parading middle-class prejudices, albeit in an ironic way, as in Ko-Ko's list of “society offenders” in The Mikado. The characters of this opera are, unmistakably, English in fancy dress. The Gondoliers (1889) satirizes antiegalitarianism, summed up in the lines “When every one is somebodee, / Then no one's anybody.” It appeared at a time of antimonarchist sentiment and the growth of socialist and republican ideas. The issue of class distinction was especially to the fore, and the Duke of Plaza-Toro lampoons the buying of titles:
  • Small titles and orders
  • For Mayors and Recorders
  • I get—and they're highly delighted.

The satire aimed at the House of Lords in Iolanthe (1882) is more plentiful than that targeting the Commons (Private Willis's song); reform of the Upper House was a contemporary issue. After the first night, a song was removed because a critic accused Gilbert of “bitterly aggressive politics” and pathos that “smacks of anger, a passion altogether out of place in a ‘fairy opera.’”56 The song offended middle-class values by sympathizing with a wretched pickpocket, suggesting that anyone “robbed of all chances” would turn to theft.

The respectability of the bourgeoisie was not beyond challenge, of course, in any of the cities that form the basis of this study. Samuel Smiles was aware of bourgeois hypocrisy: “We keep up appearances, too often at the expense of honesty.”57 In Paris, Yvette Guilbert represented bourgeois vices humorously in chansons like “Le Fiacre” (words and music by Léon Xanrof) and “Je suis pocharde!” (words by Léon Laroche, music by Louis Byrec). When she sang at the respectable Eden-Concert in 1890, she was allowed to sing the latter (concerning the effects of alcohol) but not the former (concerning marital infidelity). The context of “Je suis pocharde!” helped it to gain acceptability. Guilbert herself stressed that this is a girl from a “good family” who has been drinking champagne at her sister's wedding and is “gentiment grise” (slightly tipsy).58 Pochard is both an adjective and a noun (“drunkard”), and it is easy to see how offensively vulgar it might have been in its feminine form.

The subject position of music halls and cafés-concerts was that of the upper-working-class or lower-middle-class male. Even the large Queen's Music Hall, situated in solidly working-class Poplar, assumed the audience would share the values of those social groups.59 The performers themselves were of a mixed class background: of the lions comiques in London, for example, George Leybourne had been a mechanic and the Great MacDermott a bricklayer, but the Great Vance was formerly a solicitor's clerk. The toff or “swell” character of the 1860s appealed to socially aspiring lower-middle-class males. Leybourne, the most acclaimed of the swells, was given a contract in 1868, at the height (p.70)

 							              Music, Morals, and Social Order

Figure 3.2 The title page of a morally uplifting drawing room ballad employing tasteful decoration and different type fonts.

of his success with the song “Champagne Charlie,” requiring that he continued his swell persona off stage.60 The swell, however, is double-coded: he might inscribe admiration for wealth and status, but he subverts bourgeois values in celebrating excess and idleness (“A noise all night, in bed all day and swimming in Champagne,” Charlie boasts). Some of those attending cafés-concerts, also, were putting on appearances, like the calicots (Parisian slang for drapers’ assistants, known in London slang as “counter-jumpers”). Hence the appeal of the Parisian swell, or gommeux, the most famous being Libert. Henriette Bépoix, a gommeuse, appeared fast on his heels. Gommeuses were common in the 1890s, wearing extravagant feathered hats, gaudy dresses, and lots of jewelry. They presented themselves as fun-loving and giddy, with rich, if unattractive, lovers. The renowned twentieth-century star of the music-hall, Mistinguett, began as an eccentric gommeuse at the Eldorado.

The efforts the bourgeoisie made in the interests of respectability were not always an unqualified success, and sometimes failure appeared unexpectedly. It would be easy to assume, given the association (p.71) of French entertainment with the risqué, that London reacted more cautiously to the sauciness of Offenbach's operettas. On the contrary, in England they were sometimes lewder. Punch remarked of the productions of La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein and La Belle Hélène starring Hortense Schneider in 1868: “Schneider was far more vulgar in London than in Paris, though on her native heath her performance was witnessed chiefly by ladies of the faster set.”61 Once again, this opens up the issue of culture as an area of compromise where no complete dominance can be achieved. For the musical journalist Henry Chorley, La Grande-Duchesse, which many found so hilarious and tuneful, represented “opera in the mire”; he thought it the lowest point to which a stage work could sink “in offence to delicacy,” and condemned its music as “trite and colourless.”62

Much of the cultural change during the century can be seen as driven by the power and interests of fractions within the middle classes, but as Kathy Peiss points out, “the lines of cultural transmission travel in both directions,” and the working class did not passively consume cultural messages.63 For example, the African-American musical A Trip to Coontown, which ran for longer than any other nineteenth-century show in New York, was described by a Boston reviewer as having humor that “smacks far more of the street and barroom than of the drawing room.”64 And in 1899, the Musical Courier, with reference to the American ragtime craze, proclaimed: “A wave of vulgar, filthy and suggestive music has inundated the land.”65 The irony was that ragtime idiomatically suited the instrument most imbued with domestic respectability, the piano. However, the flipside was that pianos were also common in New York's brothels and honky-tonks.

The presence of different classes in the same venue did not mean that they mixed. Emile Blémont wrote about cafés-concerts in the Evênement of February 1891:

There are two publics, different and totally distinct from one another in the Café Concerts. On the one hand you will find the masses, a trifle heavy, a trifle slow, but simple-minded, sympathetic and generous… faithful to the old traditional form of song.… On the other hand … you will find another public which is, in some respects, more highly cultivated. They are the rakes, the déclassés of literature or trade, forming the bohemia of the more well-to-do middle class; free lances most of them in their particular professions of trade or art.66

Blémont commented that the two publics sat close together but did not intermingle, and that in some establishments the “popular element” dominated, while in others it was the “bohemian element.” The double clientele was also found in the cabarets of Montmartre (see chapter 8). In London, the socially mixed music halls were in the center and attracted bohemian types from the beginning; the working-class halls were in the East End and south London. London's suburbs (p.72) could be middle class in character (for example, South Kensington), whereas, historically, the working class of Paris have been located in the suburbs. There was no working-class “inner city” in Paris; this class would need to come into the center of Paris to see what was happening in the Champs-Elysées.

Threats to Social Order

Urban ballads rarely give voice to a particular community in the direct way that Tommy Armstrong's “Trimdon Grange Explosion” (1882)67 does for his Durham coal-mining neighbors. “Let us think of Mrs. Burnett,” Armstrong urges; but that means little to anyone outside of his community. The urban ballad generally appeared on the market as a commodity in the form of a broadside to be sold on the city streets, and so needed to have more general appeal. Publishers in Seven Dials were renowned for this material; a French visitor in midcentury provided readers of the Revue at Gazette Musicale with the much-exaggerated claim “It is in the smoky garrets of this neighborhood that the national Lieder of London are manufactured.”68 However, for much of the century, these ballads remained a repository of oppositional elements. “The New Poor Law,” a song about the workhouse that followed that law's passing in 1834, chooses, satirically, the tune of “Home, Sweet, Home!”69 Queen Victoria is represented as having very un-Victorian sexual interests in “Married at Last” (1840).70 The striking women from Bryant and May's match factory sang a parody of “John Brown's Body” on their marches through the West End in 1888.71 The next year, during the London dock strike, Jim Connell wrote “The Red Flag” (to the tune of “The White Cockade”), and during the same workers’ struggle, Harry Clifton's “Work, Boys, Work” (the “Marseillaise of the Tariff Reform Party”)72 was parodied as “Strike, Boys, Strike.” In America, the labor movement prompted the production of thousands of labor songs. A New York writer of such songs was Mary Agnes Sheridan, a carpet mill operative.73 They were sung to traditional airs, hymn tunes, or minstrel melodies. The words typically accuse capitalists of betraying republican ideas of democracy and brotherhood. However, the increased use of repressive action by state and federal troops in disputes weakened the labor movement and, thus, the production of labor songs in the 1890s. In Austria, books of Arbeiterlieder were appearing in the 1860s;74 and the newly formed Austrian socialist Arbeitergesangverein held its first Liedertafel on 4 May 1879.75

In France, the Saint-Simonians demanded a social art that would contribute to a better society. Rouget de Lisle's “Premier Chant des industriels” (1821) was written in praise of industrial workers, evidently at Henri de Saint-Simone's instigation.76 Jules Vinçard, head of the Famille de Paris, a group of working-class and artisan Saint-Simonians in Paris, wrote songs showing the influence of the political chansons of (p.73) Pierre-Jean de Béranger, but for which, unlike Béranger, he also composed the music.77 After 1848, chansonniers could be charged with incitement to hatred (excitation à la haine) as was Claude Durand for “Le Chant des vignerons” in 1850.78 During the Second Empire, which followed Louis Napoléon's coup d’état of 2 December 1851, revolutionary and republican chansons were proscribed and only circulated secretly. Oppositional songs were still to be found at the goguettes, the working-class cafés in the faubourgs, although these songs, too, began to disappear during the Second Empire.79

After the defeat of Emperor Napoléon III in the Franco-Prussian War, the political and social aspirations that motivated insurrection in Paris and the formation of the Paris Commune (18 March–28 May 1871) soon found a vehicle in song.80 A federation of authors and artists of theaters and concerts was organized under the Commune. Jean-Baptiste Clément's “Le Temps de cerises” (set to music by Antoine Renard in 1868) was sung by the Communards, who interpreted the return of spring as a metaphor for the return of liberty. Clément was one of the elected of the Commune.81 The new Marseillaise of the Commune had as its refrain

  • Chantons la liberté,
  • Défendons la cité,
  • Marchons, marchons,
  • Sans souverain,
  • Le people aura du pain.82
  • Let us sing of liberty,
  • Let us defend the city,
  • Let us march, let us march,
  • Without a sovereign,
  • The people will have bread.

It was not just la Butte that echoed with such sentiment. Though rejected by the censor in May 1870, Augustine Kaiser sang “La Plébiéienne,” an uncompromising republican chanson, at the Pavillon de l'Horloge.83 Vialla sang a “Chant de l'Internationale (Hymne des travailleurs)” at the Eldorado, though this is not to be confused with Eugène Pottier's “L'Internationale.” A woodworker from Lille, Pottier drafted the words of this most famous political chanson during the Commune but did not publish them until many years after its suppression (Pierre Degeyter provided music in 1888, the year after Pottier's death).84 “La Semaine sanglante,” sung to the tune of Pierre Dupont's “La Chant des paysans,” takes as its theme the bloody end of the Commune, when the Versailles troops killed thousands. In the years after the Commune, few were eager to promulgate overt links between art and radical politics. The Festival of 1878, for instance, was to celebrate the new status quo and growing prosperity; a date without any political (p.74) associations, 30 June, was chosen. Yet the Commune continued to be inspirational: the militant revolutionary Paul Brousse wrote “Le Drapeau Rouge” (The red flag) during his exile in Switzerland (he returned to Paris after the amnesty of 1880).85

Oppositional elements arose in Vienna in the 1840s, a time of growing dissatisfaction among the bourgeoisie and working class that culminated in the restless period known as the Vormärz. The outbreak of the Hungarian revolution in March 1848 triggered an uprising in Vienna a week later. It began when troops fired shots into a crowd and killed thirty. They were carrying a petition calling for freedom of the press and more civic power for the bourgeoisie. Unfortunately, the latter had called in support from Vienna's emergent proletariat, and this had created a sense of panic among the forces of law and order. The chancellor, Clemens Metternich, who had till then relied on repressive mechanisms and a huge network of spies, fled the country (eventually settling in London). The rebels held Vienna for around seven months, and Karl Marx seized an opportunity to address the Viennese Workers’ Association in August. Strauss Jr. was sympathetic to the revolution, and he and his brother Josef were still at the barricades in October.86 Some of his prorevolution works of the time, like the Revolutions-Marsch, op. 54, were published and have survived, though the counter-revolutionary authorities made attempts to confiscate as much as possible. The police confiscated his Studenten-Marsch, op. 56;87 but it had already been published and so did not perish; nonetheless, over a half dozen unpublished works from 1848–49 have been lost.88 He boldly played the Marseillaise at the barricades, and was probably saved only by his popularity when the revolution was crushed; however, he acquired a police record.89 A warrant was also issued for the arrest of his brother Josef. A state of siege was declared in Vienna after the 1848 rebellion had been suppressed, and some of Strauss Jr.'s music was banned, including his Burschen-Lieder waltz, op. 55, based on students’ songs and quoting in its introduction “Der Freiheit Schlachtruf” (Free-dom's battle cry).

Their father, who had separated from the family, did not share his sons’ republican sentiments and, after initial uncertainty, opposed the Revolution. This may have been welcome news for the authorities, given that it had been earlier written of him “he is a man who could do a great deal of harm if he were to play Rousseau's ideas on his violin.”90 His reactionary stance, however, prompted protests at some of his concerts during his postrevolution tour. His Radetzky-Marsch, op. 228 (1848), was for some an unappealing tribute to a Habsburg army general (though it celebrates a victory at Custozza, Italy, rather than any counterrevolutionary activity). Worse, he wrote a march for the bigoted and violent General Jellačić, who had helped to retake Vienna in October. Anyone who believed these were merely instances of political naïveté would have been shocked to learn that during his second trip to England (p.75) he visited the exiled Metternich. Strauss discovered to his cost, however, that in London as in other major European cities, liberals who sympathized with the Austrian opposition to a nonconstitutional monarchy were shunning him. As a consequence, he was performing to half-empty houses; aristocratic support was no longer enough in his line of business. Strauss Jr.'s reputation suffered for different reasons: he spent well over a decade repairing the damage done by his sympathy for the revolution and trying to win over the new young emperor. The brothers Johann and Josef tried to put their rebellious past well behind them in their joint composition Vaterländischer Marsch of 1859. Austria was at war in northern Italy with the Piedmontese, whom the French Emperor Napoléon III was championing. This march quotes from the Radetzky-Marsch and the Kaiserlied. All the same, it would still take Strauss Jr. until 1863 to be appointed music director of the imperial balls at the Habsburg court (the position his father had held).

An often overlooked threat to public order in the city, though one not overtly political in character, is street music. Under a law of 1834, street singers in France were made to wear badges, the intention being to keep a record of their number and limit it.91 Those who sang on the streets of New York, collecting money in a hat, were called buskers or guttersnipers. Vienna also had its itinerant street musicians and barrel organs. There is evidence throughout the century of street music creating social antagonisms. Michael T. Bass published Street Music in the Metropolis in 1864 in an attempt to amend the existing law to allow better regulation of street music in London.92 The book contains much correspondence, and voices “the anxiety felt by so many persons for some effectual check to the daily increasing grievance of organ-grinders and street music.” One correspondent sent Bass a list of the 165 interruptions (which included six brass bands) he had suffered in ninety days. Bass recalls how one person's decision to prosecute his “tormentors” caused the “poorer classes” who “took the offenders’ part” to shout insults at him whenever they saw him. A householder at Hyde Park Gate admits that a majority of the population probably wished to retain street music, but his own views betray ingrained class arrogance:

Among those who wish that this great nuisance should be done away with, we count the scientific man, the author, the artist, and others, who labour hard for the public benefit; while that other class, the members of which find pleasure in the performances of the organ-grinder and the ballad-singer, is composed mainly of household servants and others, whose wishes cannot surely be of any importance when weighed against those of such persons as I have mentioned above.93

Unfortunately, the problem of the street musician was a sensitive one for the bourgeois householder because, as the Reverend Haweis pointed out in the next decade, “your cook is his friend, your housemaid is his admirer.”94 As the century was drawing to a close, the problem (p.76) was just as intractable: the Musical Times found in 1895 that practically nothing had improved, street music was present in “more aggravated forms,” and “the organ fiend grins more diabolically than ever before our windows.”95

Threats to Public Morality

Ensuring a consensus about public morality is an important part of hegemonic strategy, and when hegemony fails, Gramsci explained, it is replaced by coercion.96 This is endorsed by C. Wright Mills, who observes: ”at the very end, if the end is reached, moral problems become problems of power, and in the last resort, if the last resort is reached, the final form of power is coercion.”97 The music hall audience in London, however, defended its values and behavior when the law was used in a repressive manner, turning up in large numbers at the halls, at law courts and licensing sessions, and writing letters and petitions.98 Indeed, when morality campaigner Laura Ormiston Chant initiated action in 1894 against the Empire Theatre of Varieties, Leicester Square, claiming that prostitutes frequented its promenade, there was even middle-class resentment. It is a case that challenges the usual assumption of Victorian prudery.

The clearest example of coercive control is censorship. Censorship of British music hall songs was left to managers. The contract offered to performers at Collins's Music Hall, Islington Green, required them to present any new song to the management for approval seven days before it was to be sung, and anyone “giving expression to any vulgarity” on stage was subject to instant dismissal.99 Similar rules applied at the Middlesex. French censorship of songs was a matter for the police. It was relaxed during 1870, but returned after the end of the Commune, and songwriters vented their frustration by looking for ways of fooling the censors: for example, “Viens te rouler dans la mer, Dominique” changes its meaning dramatically when sung, since “mer” and the “d” of “Dominique” run together to form an obscenity.100 A French official report of 1872 rails against the shamelessness of café-concert songwriters from all points of view, moral, political, and religious, and says that a large number of songs are refused absolutely, while “serious modifications” are required in others.101 The physicality of some performers was a threat in itself. Thérésa had a loud, low-pitched voice and striking physical presence, an idea of which may be gained from Degas's studies of her performances, such as Au Café-concert, le chanson du chien (c. 1875–77). Some admirers deplored her later career, when they felt she had become absorbed by the bourgeoisie and no longer identified with ordinary people. It was what has now become the common complaint of the star “selling out.” There is no doubt that in her early career, the censor scrutinized all her songs. However, it was the way she sang that had such an impact—her energy and defiance, and a use of (p.77) argot that suggested sympathy with the Parisian working class. British journalist Charles MacKay was outraged by her vulgarity, and wrote in 1868: “In England we have not yet descended so low as to produce a ‘Thérèse’ [sic] to sing libidinous verses for the amusement of men (and women); but the songs which find most favor at our music-halls are by no means of a character to be commended either for their wit or their morality.”102 Her nearest equivalent in London was Jenny Hill, who was known for her presentation of aggressive lower-class female characters, servants and shopgirls who refuse to mind their place.103

Threats to sexual morality in the realm of vocal performance were considered in some ways more insidious than threats involving physical contact, as in dancing. Music hall and comic opera in London offer examples of these perceived threats. The music halls were diligently policed, and the law was sometimes used harshly. A hall could be closed if single women were seen entering without men, the assumption being that they were looking for business as prostitutes. It was more difficult to use the law to enforce moral rectitude where songs were concerned. The saucy song with a sexual theme was part of music hall from its beginnings.

The difficulty for those who morally disapproved was that suggestiveness was something awkward to pinpoint or prove. In “Jones's Sister” (1865),104 the singer makes the mistake of courting his friend's wife under the impression that she is his friend's sister. Since she makes no attempt to correct the mistake, is this a song about licentious behavior? Or take a song the lion comique Arthur Lloyd wrote, composed, and sang whose title is still a well-known saying in the United Kingdom today, “It's Naughty but It's Nice” (1873).105

  • I kiss'd her two times on the cheek,
  • I would have kiss'd her thrice,
  • But I whisper'd, ain't it naughty?
  • She said, Yes, but it's so nice.

The words are innocent enough, but the implication that naughtiness is nice brings with it moral concerns. These were the types of comic song the respectable middle class found abhorrent, “destitute alike of wit and humour, even of the weakest description” and “set to music of the most contemptible character.”106 Another song, indeed, plays on fears of a moral hazard to women and girls of respectable families, presenting them with a picture of a seductive male who had easy access to the middle-class home: the piano tuner. We can only speculate about the anxious reaction of some parents to the chorus of “The Tuner's Oppor-tuner-ty.”107

  • At first he'd tune it gently, then he'd tune it strong,
  • Then he'd touch a short note, then he'd run along,
  • Then he'd go with a vengeance, enough to break the key,
  • At last he tuned whene'er he got an opportunity.

Censorship was a blunt weapon when deployed against some performers. There is no doubt, for example, that it was the way Marie Lloyd performed that had such an impact on her audience—the lack of bodily discipline seen in the gestures, winks, and knowing smiles she employed to lend suggestiveness to apparently innocent music hall songs like “What's That For, Eh?” (1892; see fig. 3.3).108 Marie Lloyd sang this song at the Oxford, and it was the subject of a complaint at a meeting of the London County Council in October 1896.109

Jacqueline Bratton draws a distinction between the innuendo of the broadside ballad and that of the music hall song:

Where a broadside ballad making use of innuendo would most usually labour one point at length, wringing every last particle of fun out of a correspondence which had been set up or a train of puns which had been laid, music-hall songs of a very ordinary kind often had highly intricate and varied patterns of innuendo playing backwards and forwards across the text, even in printed versions, which would be supplemented a hundredfold by nuance and gesture in a good performance.110

One may imagine how Lloyd's famous wink may have been applied to her singing of “Oh, Mr. Porter” (1893), in which she finds her train is taking her on to Crewe when she only intended to go as far as Birmingham.111 The device of innuendo is found in many of her best-known songs, such as “A Little of What You Fancy Does You Good”112 and “When I Take My Morning Promenade.”113 In the latter, she acknowledges that her dress shows her shape just a little bit, but that's “the little bit the boys admire.” Marie Lloyd used the device of feigned innocence as a form of double address: on the one hand it acted as a show of conforming to respectable bourgeois morality, but on the other it relied on a knowingness that others in her audience would not fail to pick up on. For instance, the music hall paper the Era claimed that she had keenly observed and imitated the soliciting techniques of Regent Street prostitutes.114 Her winking could steer a thought in a different direction, but the meaning of a wink was difficult to define. As one of her songs, “The Twiddly Wink,” puts it,

  • What does it mean? Don't know. Do you?
  • Still it's wonderful what a wonderful lot
  • The twiddly wink can do!115

Her song “Twiggy Voo?” is entirely about the role of innuendo in its diverse social contexts.116 Vesta Victoria delighted in ingénue roles, and conveyed with an unknowing innocence the irony of “Our Lodger's Such a Nice Young Man,” assuring the audience “Mummy told me so.”117

There is also considerable scope for queer readings of music hall, especially (p.79)

 							              Music, Morals, and Social Order

Figure 3.3 The title page of a music hall song using a lithographic image. Notice that it does not exploit the suggestiveness of the lyrics in any obvious way.

in travesty performances. Vesta Tilley made famous the song “Following in Father's Footsteps,” in which she declares “He's just in front with a fine big gal, / So I thought I'd have one as well.”118 Vesta Tilley's contract prohibited her from wearing her male attire when off stage.

Married life tends to be portrayed via the stereotype of the nagged husband, and sometimes worse: Gus Elen's “It's a Great Big Shame”119 and Dan Leno's “Young Men Taken in and Done For”120 tell of husbands whom their wives beat violently, contrary to the Victorian norm in working-class domestic disputes. Such examples are a caution against viewing art as a reflection of reality. A song that stands as the exception to tales of marital strife is Albert Chevalier's “My Old Dutch.”121 Not surprisingly, it was one of the few music hall songs that such moral campaigners as Mrs. Ormiston Chant praised. Saucy songs, of varying degrees of vulgarity, continue unabated in the Edwardian music hall, an example being “Has Anybody Seen My Tiddler?”122 Such songs clearly informed the repertoire of later variety artists like George Formby, whose father (of the same name) was a music hall entertainer.

Omitted in the foregoing account of music hall morality is the wholesome presence of entertainers like Harry Clifton and Felix McGlennon who prided themselves on their impeccable repertoire. Moreover, (p.80) despite the variety of music hall audiences, and despite the presence at times of subversive elements in the entertainment provided, it must be stressed again that the values most commonly upheld were bourgeois in character. The songs offer strong evidence of this. Dave Russell, in his history of English popular music of this period, emphasizes the “profoundly conservative picture of life” that “emerges most forcibly from a detailed reading of music-hall song.”123 Even some of the songs that appear to have working-class subject positions can be seen as endorsing “Victorian values.” Nelly Power sang “The Boy in the Gallery” (1885) affectionately to her imaginary lover, a young man making his living repairing shoes, who could afford only a cheap seat to watch her performance.124 It can be read as a tribute to the loyalty and warmheartedness of working-class communities or as an example of how Victorian society encouraged people to accept their social station while at the same time holding out the promise that they might better themselves through hard work. In the final decade of the century, halls were being bought up, touring circuits and chains of halls were being established, and managers were seeking to enhance profits by promoting respectability and catering to the family audience. London County Council was playing its part by refusing drink licenses for the auditoriums of new music halls from 1894 onward (thus bringing them into line with theaters). Yet even at this time of increased moral propriety, there were still songs heavy with innuendo. Consider the refrain of “She's Going There Every Night” (1898):125

  • She'd never been there before—never been there before!
  • She felt so shy till Mister Brown
  • Started to bounce her up and down,
  • Then it was all serene—it filled her with delight;
  • She'd never been there before, but now she's going there every night.

There may be little that is found surprising in this account of the knowingness of music hall performers, which so often creates what Peter Bailey terms a “potent sense of collusion” between themselves and their audiences;126 but is it something to be contrasted with a supposedly strait-laced and repressed bourgeoisie—or is that a stereotype asking to be challenged? Edward Pigott, examiner of stage plays for the Lord Chamberlain, informs the Select Committee on Theatres and Places of Entertainment in 1892: “generally, it is towards the West End of the town, and amongst richer, idler, and more fashionable audiences that a famished manager would prefer to seek in scandal and indecency the means of replenishing an exhausted treasury.”127 Perhaps operetta needs closer scrutiny in this regard. “Wer uns getraut” from Strauss Jr.'s Der Zigeunerbaron is certainly a most seductive duet about the pleasures of illicit sex: Saffi and Barinkay, having spent the night together, ponder the question “Who married us?” They declare it was the nightingale (p.81) and a bullfinch. (Dompfaff, bullfinch, is a pun: Dom means cathedral, and Pfaffe is a pejorative word for priest.) French and Austrian operettas are known for their occasional disregard of bourgeois standards of moral decency. By contrast, it seems to be a widespread assumption that nothing could be more remote from the comic operas of Gilbert and Sullivan than reference to sexual matters. Gilbert was known to feel discomforted by the revealing costumes worn in French operetta, and made it his rule that “no lady of the company should be required to wear a dress that she could not wear with perfect propriety at a private fancy ball.”128 Yet certain members of the audience may have detected a lewd innuendo in his libretti at times. Did nobody ever smile during Iolanthe when the Fairy Queen wonders if Captain Shaw's hose is capable of quenching her great love, or when Strephon confesses he is a fairy down to the waist? Is it only a later, sophisticated, cynical, or decadent audience that could hear a double entendre in Grosvenor's cautionary rhyme “Teasing Tom was a very bad boy, / A great big squirt was his favourite toy” (Patience, act 2)? A sexual dimension seems to be confirmed by the poem's moral: “The consequence was he was lost totally, / And married a girl in the corps de bally.” It was received wisdom, however mistaken, that dancers in the corps de ballet were disreputable in their sexual behavior.129 There is no doubt, either, that the popularity of St. James's Park with prostitutes would have added spice to Lord Tolloller's comment on Iolanthe's assignation with an unidentified man:

  • I heard the minx remark,
  • She'd meet him after dark,
  • Inside St. James's Park,
  • And give him one!

Bracebridge Hemyng, writing on prostitution in London in 1862, had informed his readers: “Park women, properly so called, are those degraded creatures, utterly lost to all sense of shame, who wander about the paths most frequented after nightfall in the Parks, and consent to any species of humiliation for the sake of acquiring a few shillings.”130

There are a number of occasions when one character shows a decidedly sexual interest in another. Pointing to the sentry, Private Willis, the Fairy Queen cries, “Do you suppose that I am insensible to the effect of manly beauty? Look at that man!” However, she makes a great play of crushing these feelings; in other words, displaying her sexual self-control. The song “Oh, Foolish Fay” in which she invokes Captain Shaw (head of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade in real life), movingly describes a “type of true love kept under.” Ironically, Captain Shaw was keeping true love under in his private life, as was revealed in court two years after the première of Iolanthe, when Lord Colin Campbell accused him of having had an affair with his wife.

Characters are aware of social contexts in which the erotic can intrude. (p.82) In Ruddigore, Mad Margaret and Sir Despard Murgatroyd take the precaution of informing the audience “This is one of our blameless dances.” In The Mikado, Nanki-Poo and Yum-Yum are fully alert to the moral dangers of kissing and, in their duet, kiss each other merely to make absolutely clear, by concrete example, that this is what they will never do. Of course, this duet is a tease; it is inevitably sexually loaded, and is an example of how operetta marked out new possibilities—here, humorous flirtation—for the musical stage. The Japanese setting should fool nobody; wherever they are set, the Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas are always about the social and political condition of Britain.

Gilbert's young heroines are conscious of their allure, as Yum-Yum makes clear in her song “The Sun Whose Rays.” On the other hand, many have deplored his use of spinsters as figures of fun. Jane Stedman has argued, however, that Gilbert's corpulent dames are used to satirize the value placed on youth and beauty in women as a conventional requisite for marriage, and they usually possess a strength of character denied his leading soprano characters.131 They also have a part to play as sexual beings. When Lady Jane announces, in the context of the satire of artistic pretensions in Patience, “I am limp and I cling,” suddenly the sexual dimension of the images of drooping women in pre-Raphaelite paintings is made blatant by the thought of a clinging, fleshly Lady Jane. In the same opera, the actions of the poet Reginald Bunthorne can be related directly to his sexual drive. He reveals to the audience that he has been playing the role of an aesthete solely to make himself attractive to the women of the neighborhood who have fallen under the spell of the aesthetic movement. In truth, Bunthorne despises the aesthetic realm as something opposed to worldly human appetites and desires, and he only occupies a place in this domain so as to acquire a means of attaining the fleshly satisfaction he yearns for. In such a manner, high-minded artifice and the realities of everyday life are bluntly juxtaposed.

In general, a nonromantic, even antiromantic ethos prevails in these comic operas. Marriage is often a solution to a problem: Private Willis, realizing that the Fairy Queen needs to marry to remain immortal, declares “I don't think much of the British soldier who wouldn't ill-convenience himself to save a female in distress.” Bunthorne, accepting that Jane will never leave him, comments that after all, she's “a fine figure of a woman.” This is not to say that more conventional love pairs do not exist. We have only to think of Strephon and Phyllis, who are also given a love duet complete with conventional melodic intertwining. However, such characters are rarely the focus point. And though Jack Point's death from love is moving in Yeomen of the Guard, so, in its own remarkable way, is that of the lovesick little bird in the deliberately ridiculous and absurdly sentimental “Tit Willow” from Mikado. The antiromantic qualities, and the masculine connotations of this attitude, may account for the numbers of men who are attracted to Gilbert and (p.83) Sullivan. Gilbert himself was a contentedly married if undemonstrative husband, and very much a man's man—although, running counter to his image as a misogynist, he died as a consequence of his courageous action in rescuing a woman from drowning. Sullivan was the philanderer. He was closest to Mrs. Mary Frances Ronalds, an American living in London separated from her husband. There is evidence in the form of love letters that, before this, he conducted affairs with two sisters simultaneously.132 Nevertheless, Sullivan's high estimation of the moral value of music is beyond dispute: for corroboration, we can peruse his address to members of the Midland Institute, delivered in Birmingham, England, in 1888. Music, he claims, “is absolutely free from the power of suggesting anything immoral,” and continues:

Music can suggest no improper thought, and herein may be claimed its superiority over painting and sculpture, both of which may, and, indeed, do at times, depict and suggest impurity. This blemish, however, does not enter into music; sounds alone (apart from articulate words, spectacle, or descriptive programme) must, from their indefinite nature, be innocent. Let us thank God that we have one elevating and ennobling influence in the world which can never, never lose its purity and beauty.133

Here Sullivan offers a convincing reason why music was found to be such a powerful ally in the moral struggle. In actuality, erotic associations were not so easily forgotten in the context of certain musical devices.

The moral tone, as I remarked earlier, lends a character to Victorian ballads that makes them markedly different from the songs that followed. In the early twentieth century, there was something of a reaction to songs that preached messages, and in each successive decade the moral didacticism in the Victorian ballads appeared less and less congenial to new developments in the arts. The American composer Oley Speaks had a great success with his setting of “On the Road to Mandalay” in 1907, and though the Kipling poem “Mandalay” is earlier, the spirit of the song is that of a new age: the singer is given music that expresses vigorously his desire to escape to a place “where there ain't no ten commandments.” That is not to say that sentiment was rejected simultaneously with moralizing. In the later ballad, emotion is frequently indulged in for its own sake—as, for example, in “Somewhere a Voice Is Calling,” of 1911—whereas in the nineteenth century, that was rarely the case.134 In the earlier ballads, children, for instance, were not just cute in their misery, as is the girl seeking her father in Denham Harrison's 1902 song “Give Me a Ticket to Heaven.” The sick boy in “Put My Little Shoes Away” (1870) seizes the opportunity, as death approaches, to give his parents a lesson in unselfishness, as well as the value of recycling commodities, by asking them to hang on to his shoes because they will fit the baby when he is bigger.135

The importance of a moral tone to the American and European (p.84) bourgeoisie in the nineteenth century was a powerful incitement for many modernists’ rejection of a moral dimension in the twentieth century, especially when the production of art for bourgeois consumption became strongly associated with notions of pandering to the marketplace and with personal insincerity, or a lack of artistic truthfulness. Thus, it became typical for twentieth-century high-status art to parade its complete lack of any kind of moral dimension—somewhat paradox-ically—as a virtue. The license to shock without conscience became the prerogative of the modern artist, although, ironically, one aspect of bourgeois aesthetic ideology continued—the idea that art is good for you.


(1.) Talcott Parsons, The Social System (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1951), 41–42.

(2.) On Liberty and Other Essays (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991), 161.

(3.) Anthony Giddens defines agency thus: “the stream of actual or contemplated causal interventions of corporeal beings in the ongoing process of events-in-the-world.” New Rules of Sociological Method: A Positive Critique of Interpretative Sociologies, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1993; originally published London: Hutchinson, 1976), 81.

(4.) Geoffrey Best, for instance, makes a case for the common acceptance of the “practice of deference, the ‘removable inequalities’ theory of society, and the concept of the gentleman” in mid-Victorian Britain, and cites the success of friendly societies or benefit clubs as evidence of shared ideals between the different classes. Mid-Victorian Britain 1851–75 (London: Fontana, 1979; originally published Weidenfeld and Nicholson, 1971), 279–92.

(5.) “Die Gedanken der herrschenden Klasse sind in jeder Epoche die herrschenden Gedanken.” Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Die deutsche Ideologie (1845–46), introduction. Full text based on the original manuscript in Marx-Engels-Lenin Institute, Moscow, www.mlwerke.de/me/me03/me03_009.htm.

(6.) Jürgen Habermas, The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere: An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society, trans. Thomas Burgeri with the assistance of Frederick Lawrence (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1989; originally published as Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit [Darmstadt: Luchterhand, 1962]), 237, 240. It is significant that Phil Park decides to turn the moral bully Public Opinion into Orpheus's mother in his English version, Orpheus in the Underworld (London: Weinberger, 1966).

(7.) “Für eine Gesellschaft von Warenproduzenten, deren allgemein gesellschaftliches Produktionsverhältnis darin besteht, sich zu ihren Produkten als Waren, also als Werten, zu verhalten und in dieser sachlichen Form ihre Privatarbeiten aufeinander zu beziehn als gleiche menschliche Arbeit, ist das Christentum mit seinem Kultus des abstrakten Menschen, namentlich in seiner bürgerlichen Entwicklung, dem Protestantismus, Deismus usw., die entsprechendste Religionsform.” Das Kapital. Kritik der politischen Oekonomie (Hamburg: Otto Meissner, 1867), chap. 1, sec. 4.

(8.) The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism, trans. Talcott Parsons (New York: Routledge, 1992; originally published as Die protestantische Ethik und das Geist des Kapitalismus, in Archiv für Sozialwissenschaft und Sozialpolitik, vols. 20 and 21 [1904–5]), 100, 104–5; full text, <http://de.wikisource.org/wiki/Die_protestantische_Ethik_und_der_Geist_des_Kapitalismus>.

(9.) See Henry Raynor, Music and Society since 1815 (London: Barrie and Jenkins, 1976), 93.

(10.) See William Weber, Music and the Middle Class: The Social Structure of Concert Life in London, Paris and Vienna Between 1830 and 1848, 2nd ed. (Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2004; originally published London: Croom Helm, 1975), 167, table 21.

(11.) Quoted in Bernarr Rainbow, The Land without Music: Musical Education in England 1800–1860 and Its Continental Antecedents (London: Novello, 1967), 102.

(12.) See ibid., 105–6.

(13.) Jane Fulcher, “The Orphéon Societies: Music for the Workers in Second-Empire France,” International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music 10 (1979), 47–56. Howard Becker characterizes the interest of the state in art thus: “Some art makes people discontented, destroys their moral fiber, and makes them unfit to play the roles and do the work the state wants done. Other art works implant and support habits and attitudes the state finds congenial or thinks necessary to its own goals.” Art Worlds (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1982), 166. However, relations between the state, cultural institutions, and the cultural market place are anything but simple; see Raymond Williams, Culture (London: Faber, 1981), 102–8.

(14.) C. Rodgers and J. Black, eds., The Gathering of the Forces, by Walt Whitman (New York: Knickerbocker Press, 1920), 2:353–54, quoted in Charles Hamm, Music in the New World (New York: Norton, 1983), 206–7.

(15.) See Heinrich Eduard Jacob, Johann Strauss: A Century of Light Music, trans. Marguerite Wolff (London: Hutchinson, 1940; originally published as Johann Strauss und das neunzehnte Jahrhundert. Die Geschichte einer musikalischen Weltherrschaft, 1819–1917 [Amsterdam: Querido-Verlag, 1937]), 188.

(16.) Edward W. Said, Culture and Imperialism (New York: Vintage, 1994; originally published London: Chatto and Windus, 1993), 157–58.

(17.) Nicholas E. Tawa, A Music for the Millions: Antebellum Democratic Attitudes and the Birth of American Popular Music (New York: Pendragon Press, 1984), 21–22.

(18.) For a general discussion of audiences and order in nineteenth-century America, see Lawrence M. Levine, Highbrow/Lowbrow (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1988), 178–95.

(19.) See John F. Kasson, Rudeness and Civility: Manners in Nineteenth-Century Urban America (New York: Hill and Wang, 1990), 252–56, cited in Simon Frith, Performing Rites: On the Value of Popular Music (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), 34.

(20.) Peter Bailey remarks that magistrates were generally tolerant toward the halls, however, “when not under immediate pressure from reform lobbies.” Leisure and Class in Victorian England: Rational Recreation and the Contest for Control, 1830–1885 (London: Methuen, 1987; originally published London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1978), 157.

(21.) James H. Johnson, Listening in Paris: A Cultural History (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995), 228–36.

(22.) For the idea of culture as “instructive” and “harmonizing,” a force for moral order in America, see Levine, Highbrow/Lowbrow, 200–207; for culture as rational recreation in England, see Bailey, Leisure and Class in Victorian England.

(23.) From the end of George Hogarth, Musical History, Biography, and Criticism (London: John W. Parker, 1838; reprint, New York: Da Capo, 1969 [reproduction (p.235) of the American edition (New York: Redfield, 1848(]), quoted in Reginald Nettel, The Orchestra in England: A Social History (London: Jonathan Cape, 1946), 160. The phrase “laborem dulce lenimen” (“sweet solace of labor”) is from Horace, Odes 1.32.14–15. Horace is, indeed, using it to describe the effect of music.

(24.) See Cyril Ehrlich, Simon McVeigh, and Michael Musgrave, “London,” sec. 6.2.2, “Concert Life: 1850–1900,” in Stanley Sadie, ed., The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians (London: Macmillan, 2001), 14:141–44, 144, and E. D. Mackerness, A Social History of English Music (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1964), 201–2, who says incorrectly, however, that the South Place Concerts began in 1878.

(25.) Quoted without source in Percy M. Young, The Concert Tradition: From the Middle Ages to the Twentieth Century (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1965), 230.

(26.) Mackerness, A Social History of English Music, 148. The London Mechanics’ Institute was founded in 1823; others followed throughout the country.

(27.) The quotation is from Charles Dickens's description in the first issue of Household Words (1850), quoted in Cyril Ehrlich, The Music Profession in Britain since the Eighteenth Century (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985), 67.

(28.) Reginald Nettel, The Orchestra in England: A Social History (London: Jonathan Cape, 1946), 168.

(29.) See Roy Newsome, Brass Roots: A Hundred Years of Brass Bands and Their Music, 1836–1936 (Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 1998), 38–42.

(30.) “The Garde Republicaine Band,” Dwight's Journal of Music 32, no. 9, Jul. 1872, 277.

(31.) See Mackerness, A Social History of English Music, 185–86.

(32.) Lord Mount Temple speaking in 1884, quoted in Denis Richards, Offspring of the Vic: A History of Morley College (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1958), 67, and in Mackerness, A Social History of English Music, 202.

(33.) See Jacob, Johann Strauss, 119.

(34.) Hugh Reginald Haweis, Music and Morals (1871; reprint, London: Longmans, Green, 1912), 112.

(35.) See Alice M. Hanson, Musical Life in Biedermeier Vienna (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985), 163.

(36.) Arthur Loesser, Men, Women and Pianos: A Social History (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1954), 159.

(37.) George Gordon, Lord Byron [Horace Hornem, pseud.], The Waltz: An Apostrophic Hymn (London: John Murray, 1813). The poem was written the previous year.

(38.) The use of the reflexive verb s'enrafler conveys an erotic tone here by suggesting something akin to human action. I am grateful to Mireille Ribière for alerting me to this point.

(39.) “Ils commencèrent lentement, puis allèrent plus vite. Ils tournaient: tout tournait autour d'eux, les lampes, les meubles, les lambris, et le parquet, comme un disque sur un pivot. En passant auprès des portes, la robe d'Emma, par le bas, s’éraflait au pantalon; leurs jambes entraient l'une dans l'autre; il baissait ses regards vers elle, elle levait les siens vers lui; une torpeur la prenait, elle s'arrêta. Ils repartirent; et, d'un mouvement plus rapide, le vicomte, l'entraînant, disparut avec elle jusqu'au bout de la galerie, où, haletante, elle faillit (p.236) tomber, et, un instant, s'appuya la tête sur sa poitrine. Et puis, tournant toujours, mais plus doucement, il la reconduisit à sa place; elle se renversa contre la muraille et mit la main devant ses yeux.” From Gustave Flaubert, Madame Bovary (1856), chapter 8, my translation.

(40.) See Curt Sachs, World History of the Dance, trans. Bessie Schönberg (New York: Norton, 1937; originally published as Eine Weltgeschichte des Tanzes [Berlin: D. Reimer/E. Vohsen, 1933]), 427–34, and Sevin H. Yaraman, Revolving Embrace: The Waltz as Sex, Steps, and Sound (New York: Pendragon Press, 2002).

(41.) “The Educational Value of Dance Music,” Musical Times 26, no. 507, 1 May 1885, 253–55, 253.

(42.) See Dagmar Kift, The Victorian Music Hall: Culture, Class and Conflict, trans. Roy Kift (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996; originally published as Arbeiterkultur im gesellschaftlichen Konflikt: Die englische Music Hall im 19. Jahrhundert [Essen: Klartext Verlag, 1991]), 136–39, and Dagmar Höher, “The Composition of Music Hall Audiences,” in Peter Bailey, ed., Music Hall: The Business of Pleasure (Milton Keynes, England: Open University Press, 1986), 73–92, 74–75.

(43.) See Joseph Wechsberg, The Waltz Emperors: The Life and Times and Music of the Strauss Family (London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1973), 44.

(44.) See Derek B. Scott, The Singing Bourgeois: Songs of the Victorian Drawing Room and Parlour, 2nd ed. (Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2001; originally published Milton Keynes, England: Open University Press, 1989), 189.

(45.) “What Cheer, ’Ria” (words by Bessie Bellwood, music by Will Herbert, 1885); “’Arf a Pint of Ale” (words and music by Charles Tempest, 1905); “Champagne Charlie” (words by George Leybourne, music by Alfred Lee, 1867); “Cliquot” (words by Frank W. Green, music by J. Riviere, 1870).

(46.) For a representative selection of drawing room ballads, see Michael R. Turner and Antony Miall, eds., The Parlour Song Book: A Casquet of Vocal Gems (London: Pan, 1974; originally published London: Michael Joseph, 1972), and Michael R. Turner and Antony Miall, eds., Just a Song at Twilight: The Second Parlour Song Book (London: Michael Joseph, 1975).

(47.) James Workman, “Home, Sweet Home,” Strand Musical Magazine 2 (1895), 252–56, 255.

(48.) In its original incarnation it had words by Thomas Haynes Baily, “To the Home of My Childhood in Sorrow I Came,” in Bishop's Melodies of Various Nations (London: Goulding and D'Almaine, 1821).

(49.) Henry Russell is one of the first internationally famous Jewish composers of popular song. Jewish songwriters became very important to the history of popular music. The success of Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, and Richard Rodgers is not a twentieth-century novelty but can, like so many other popular music developments, be traced back to the nineteenth century.

(50.) Morris's poem was first published in the New York Mirror in 1830, and was republished (after the song had appeared) in The Deserted Bride and Other Poems (New York, 1838).

(51.) Henry Russell, Cheer, Boys, Cheer! (London: John Macqueen, 1895), 253.

(52.) See Edgar Allan Poe, “George P. Morris,” in Rufus Wilmot Griswold, ed., The Works of the Late Edgar Allan Poe, vol. 3, The Literati: Some Honest Opinions about Autorial Merits and Demerits (New York: Redfield, 1850), 255–56, 256.

(53.) Charles Hamm, Yesterdays: Popular Song in America (New York: Norton, 1979), 152.

(54.) Printed on the original song sheet published by S. Brainard's Sons, Cleveland.

(55.) Harold Simpson, A Century of Ballads 1810–1910 (London: Mills and Boon, 1910), 121. This song is a setting of Charles Kingsley's verse by John Hullah (1857).

(56.) W. Beatty-Kingston, critic of the Theatre, quoted in Leslie Baily, The Gilbert and Sullivan Book (London: Spring Books, 1966; originally published London: Cassell, 1952, rev. 1956), 238.

(57.) Self-Help (1859; reprint, London: John Murray, 1936), 255. Gilbert was similarly aware of bourgeois hypocrisy: his Pirate King declares, “I don't think much of our profession, but, contrasted with respectability, it is comparatively honest” (Pirates of Penzance, act 1).

(58.) Yvette Guilbert and H. Simpson, Yvette Guilbert: Struggles and Victories (London: Mills and Boon, 1910), 116–17.

(59.) Matthew Hanly, a representative of the London United Workmen's Committee (established in 1878), says that the music halls in the East End and in southeast London (home to a population of two million) are “considered the great entertainment of the working man and his family.” He gives the example of the Queen's music hall at Poplar. He then adds, “at the present time music halls have reached a very high state of morality, and can compare very favourably with the theatres.” Minute 5171, in Minutes of Evidence taken before the Select Committee on Theatres and Places of Entertainment (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode for HMS0, 1892), 23 May 1892, 327.

(60.) See Peter Bailey, “Champagne Charlie: Performance and Ideology in the Music Hall Swell Song,” in Jacqueline S. Bratton, ed., Music Hall: Performance and Style (Milton Keynes, England: Open University Press, 1986), 49–69, 50–51, and Peter Bailey, Popular Culture and Performance in the Victorian City (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 102–4.

(61.) Quoted without date in Baily, The Gilbert and Sullivan Book, 90.

(62.) Henry Fothergill Chorley, “Depths and Heights of Modern Opera,” All the Year Round, 9 Oct. 1869, 450–54, 451, quoted in Robert Terrell Bledsoe, Henry Fothergill Chorley: Victorian Journalist (Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 1998), 274.

(63.) Kathy Peiss, Cheap Amusements: Working Women and Leisure in Turn-of-the-Century New York (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1986), 8.

(64.) “A Bostonian reviewer” in 1896, quoted in Robert C. Toll, On with the Show: The First Century of Show Business in America (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976), 190.

(65.) Quoted in Ian Whitcomb, After the Ball: Pop Music from Rag to Rock (1972; reprint, New York: Limelight, 1986), 16.

(66.) Quoted in Guilbert and Simpson, Yvette Guilbert: Struggles and Victories, 204–5.

(67.) See Albert L. Lloyd, Come All Ye Bold Miners: Ballads and Songs of the Coalfields, rev. ed. (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1978; originally published 1952), 183.

(68.) M. de Rodenburg, Journal d'un voyage à Londres, translation from La Revue et Gazette Musicale, Musical World 36, no. 30, 24 Jul. 1858, 467.

(69.) See Roy Palmer, A Ballad History of England (London: Batsford, 1979), 110–11.

(70.) Ibid., 120–21.

(71.) Roy Palmer, The Sound of History: Songs and Social Comment (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988), 108.

(72.) Robert Tressell, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists (London: Grafton Books, 1965; originally published London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1955), 446. Tressell's work remained unpublished at the time of his death in 1911. Clifton's song was sung to the tune of George Root's “Tramp! Tramp! Tramp!”

(73.) See Clark D. Halker, For Democracy, Workers, and God: Labor Song-Poems and Labor Protest, 1865–95 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1991), 55, 70 and 206. For a general survey, see Philip S. Foner, American Labor Songs of the Nineteenth Century (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1975).

(74.) Johann W. Seidl, Musik und Austromarxismus: Zur Musikrezeption der österreichischen Arbeiterbewegung im späten Kaiserreich und in der Ersten Republik (Vienna: Böhlau, 1989), 96–97.

(75.) Ibid., 85.

(76.) See Ralph P. Locke, Music, Musicians and the Saint-Simonians (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986), 33, 235–37; complete song reproduced 238–39.

(77.) Five of Vinçard's songs are reproduced with music in Locke, Music, Musicians and the Saint-Simonians, app. C, 247–50. On Béranger, see Ralph P. Locke, “The Music of the French Chanson, 1810–1850,” in Peter Bloom, ed., Music in Paris in the 1830s (Stuyvesant, N.Y.: Pendragon Press, 1987), 431–56.

(78.) Robert Brécy, La Chanson de la Commune: Chansons et poèmes inspirés par la Commune de 1871 (Paris: Éditions Ouvrières, 1991), 23.

(79.) See Bernard Gendron, Between Montmartre and the Mudd Club: Popular Music and the Avant-Garde (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002), 49–51.

(80.) “Les chansons et poèmes créés dans les premiers jours du pouvoir populaire illustrent bien, par-delà leur forme souvent maladroite, les aspirations des diverses couches de la population parisienne, en particulier le double aspect, patriotic et social, les mobiles qui ont animé les communards.” Brécy, La Chanson de la Commune, 67. See also Georges Coulonges, La Commune en chantant (Paris: Messidor, 1970).

(81.) In 1886, Jules Jouy reworked the song as “Le temps des crises,” making a more explicit political statement.

(82.) Brécy, La Chanson de la Commune, 68.

(83.) Ibid., 43. The words of “La Plébiéienne” are by A. Philibert and H. Chatelin, the music by F. Chaissaigne.

(84.) The vexed question of the date of Pottier's first draft of “L'Internationale”—whether it was September 1870 or June 1871—is discussed by Brécy, La Chanson de la Commune, 106–8. Pottier did not publish it until 1887, although he had opportunity to do so while in exile.

(85.) Ibid., 186.

(86.) Biographers usually play down his involvement with the revolution, but Norbert Linke shows that it was considerable; see Johann Strauss (Reinbek bei Hamburg: Rowohlt, 1996), 45–47.

(87.) Wechsberg, The Waltz Emperors, 101.

(88.) Peter Kemp lists seven lost unpublished works from 1848–49. “Strauss,” in Sadie, New Grove II, 24:474–96, 486.

(89.) Two decades later, Jakob Audorf's version of the Marseillaise became one of the most popular songs of the German workers’ movement (Arbeiterbewegung). Seidl, Musik und Austromarxismus, 96–97.

(90.) Heinrich Laube, Reise durch das Biedermeyer (Hamburg: Hoffmann und Campe, 1965; originally published as Reisenovellen [3 vols, Mannheim: H. Hoff, 1834–37]), 250.

(91.) Jacques Attali, Noise: The Political Economy of Music, trans. Brian Massumi (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1985; originally published as Bruits: essai sur l’économie politique de la musique [Paris: Presses Univeritaires de France, 1977]), 74.

(92.) London: John Murray.

(93.) Lengthy quotation is made from Bass's book in “From My Study,” Musical Times 36, no. 627, 1 May 1895, 297–301.

(94.) Haweis, Music and Morals, 535.

(95.) “From My Study,” 301.

(96.) Antonio Gramsci, Selections from the Prison Notebooks, ed. and trans. Quintin Hoare and Geoffrey N. Smith (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1971), 12.

(97.) The Sociological Imagination (New York: Oxford University Press, 1959), 77.

(98.) Kift, The Victorian Music Hall, 183.

(99.) Contract reproduced in Minutes of Evidence Taken before the Select Committee on Theatres and Places of Entertainment (London: Eyre and Spottiswoode for HMS0, 1892), app. 4, 441.

(100.) See François Caradec and Alan Weill, Le café-concert (Paris: Hachette, 1980), 66.

(101.) “Le nombre des chansons que l'on soumet au visa est incalculable; on ne peut imaginer à quel degré de dévergondage en arrivent les auteurs de ces chansons, à tous les points de vue: morale, politique, religion, question sociale. Un très-grand nombre est refusé absolument; la plus grande partie de celles qui sont autorisées, ne le sont qu'après les plus sérieuses modifications.” Report of Nov. 1872, Archives nationales, series F21, no. 1338, p. 2, quoted in Timothy J. Clark, The Painting of Modern Life: Paris in the Art of Manet and His Followers (London: Thames and Hudson, 1985), 304 n. 10. On the censorship of café-concert songs, see Concetta Condemi, Les Cafés-concerts: Histoire d'un diver-tissment (Paris: Quai Voltaire, 1992), 31–38.

(102.) [Charles MacKay], “Modern Cynicism,” Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine 103, no. 627 (Jan. 1868), 62–70, 67. The publisher William Blackwood had a London branch; this is not to be taken as a comment restricted to Scottish music halls.

(103.) Jacqueline S. Bratton, “Jenny Hill: Sex and Sexism in the Victorian Music Hall,” in J. S. Bratton, ed., Music Hall: Performance and Style (Milton Keynes, England: Open University Press, 1986), 92–110, 107.

(104.) Harry Sydney (London: H. D'Alcorn).

(105.) London: D'Alcorn.

(106.) “Popular Music,” St. James's Magazine, June 1868, excerpted in Musical Standard 8, no. 203, 20 Jun. 1868, 246–47. The magazine was edited by Mrs. J. H. Riddell, and was aimed primarily at respectable and elderly female readers.

(107.) Words by Harry Adams, music by Fred Coyne (London: Hopwood and Crew, 1879); reprinted in John M. Garrett, Sixty Years of British Music Hall (London: Chappell, 1976), n.p.

(108.) Words by John P. Harrington, music by George Le Brunn (London: Francis, Day and Hunter).

(109.) Susan Pennybacker, “‘It Was Not What She Said, but the Way in Which She Said It’: The London County Council and the Music Hall,” in Bailey, Music Hall, 118–40, 131. The London County Council had become responsible for regulating and licensing music halls after the passing of the Local Government Act in 1888.

(110.) Jacqueline S. Bratton, The Victorian Popular Ballad (London: Macmillan, 1975), 195.

(111.) Words by Thomas Le Brunn, music by George Le Brunn (London: Francis, Day and Hunter). Reprinted in Garrett, Sixty Years of British Music Hall.

(112.) Words and music by Fred W. Leigh and George Arthurs (London: Francis, Day and Hunter).

(113.) Words by A. J. Mills, music by Bennett Scott (London: Star Music, 1910); reprinted in Peter Davison, comp. and ed., Songs of the British Music Hall, Jerry Silverman, music ed. (New York: Oak, 1971).

(114.) Era, 30 Apr. 1892, cited in Peter Bailey, “Conspiracies of Meaning: Music-Hall and the Knowingness of Popular Culture,” Past and Present, no. 144, Aug. 1994, 138–70, 164.

(115.) Words by Fred W. Leigh, music by Orlando Powell (London: Francis, Day and Hunter, 1912).

(116.) Words by Richard Morton, music by George Le Brunn (London: Francis, Day and Hunter, 1892); reprinted in Sixty Old-Time Variety Songs (London: EMI, 1977), 126–28.

(117.) Words by Fred Murray, music by Laurence Barclay (London: Francis, Day and Hunter, 1897); reprinted in Peter Gammond, ed., The Good Old Days Songbook (London: EMI, 1983), 76–78.

(118.) Words and music by E. W. Rogers (London: Francis, Day and Hunter, 1902); reprinted in Davison, Songs of the British Music Hall.

(119.) Words by Edgar Bateman, music by George Le Brunn (London: Francis, Day and Hunter, 1896); reprinted in Sixty Old-Time Variety Songs, 1–3.

(120.) Words and music by Harry King (London: Francis and Day, 1888); reprinted in Davison, Songs of the British Music Hall.

(121.) Words and music by Albert Chevalier [Charles Ingle] (London: Reynolds, 1892).

(122.) Words and music by A. J. Mills and Frank W. Carter (London: Feldman, 1910); reprinted in Peter Gammond, ed., The Good Old Days Songbook (London: EMI, 1983), 144–46.

(123.) Popular Music in England, 1840–1914 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1987), 96; Russell discusses music and morals at 17–59.

(124.) Words and music by George Ware (London: Hopwood and Crew, 1885); reprinted in Garrett, Sixty Years of British Music Hall, n.p.

(125.) Words by Fred Murray and Fred W. Leigh, music by George Le Brunn (London: Francis, Day and Hunter).

(126.) “Conspiracies of Meaning,” 150, and Popular Culture and Performance in the Victorian City, 136.

(127.) Minutes of Evidence Taken before the Select Committee on Theatres and Places of Entertainment, 23 May 1892, 330.

(128.) Quoted in Sterling Mackinlay, Origin and Development of Light Opera (London: Hutchinson, 1927), 227.

(129.) Alexandra Carter questions the evidence for the immorality of these dancers, in Dance and Dancers in the Victorian and Edwardian Music Hall Ballet (Aldershot, England: Ashgate, 2005), 112–21.

(130.) Bracebridge Hemyng, “Prostitution in London,” in Henry Mayhew, London Labour and the London Poor (London: Frank Cass, 1967; originally published London: Griffin, Bohn, 1862), 4:210–72, 243. Hemyng mentions the brothels of St. James's at 246–47.

(131.) Jane W. Stedman, W. S. Gilbert: A Classic Victorian and His Theatre (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996).

(132.) See Reginald Allen, The Life and Work of Sir Arthur Sullivan: Composer for Victorian England (New York: Pierpont Morgan Library, 1975), 33–35.

(133.) Sullivan, “About Music,” reprinted in Arthur Lawrence, Sir Arthur Sullivan: Life Story, Letters, and Reminiscences (London: James Bowden, 1899), 261–87; quotation from 285. John Ruskin was more cautious, arguing that music in her “health” was a teacher of “perfect order” but in her “depravity” was also the teacher of “perfect disorder and disobedience, and the Gloria in Excelsis becomes the Marseillaise.” “Queen of the Air” (1869), quoted in Meirion Hughes and Robert Stradling, The English Musical Renaissance, 1840–1940: Constructing a National Music, 2nd ed. (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2001; originally published 1993), 4.

(134.) Words by E. Newton, music by Arthur F. Tate (London: J. H. Larway).

(135.) Words by Samuel Mitchell, music by Charles Pratt.