The Music of Caledon: Victoriana

in Daily Programme

by Elrik Merlin on Monday, 23 June, 2008

Being a steampunk Victorian nation in Second Life, the people of the Independent State of Caledon enjoy several diverse styles and genres of music as can be seen from the Radio Riel programme schedule for this week.

Today’s programme, presented by Elrik Merlin, attempts to give you a feeling of just one of them: the popular music of the Victorian and Edwardian eras, from the waltzes of Strauss and his contemporaries that drew throngs to the dance-halls, to popular ballads sung in the music-halls by the top artistes of the day and subsquently published as sheet music for families and friends to perform for themselves with voice and piano at soirées in the withdrawing-room at home. But there is also a good deal more.

To visit the music- or concert-hall was initially the only way to hear the great performers sing their familiar songs. But around the turn of the 19th/20th century, recordings began to be made in quantity and affordable machines using both cylinders (the phonograph) and flat discs (the gramophone) began to become popular. Now listeners could hear the leading artistes of the day at home without leaving their seats.

Just as there had been complaints that publishing sheet music would stop people attending the music-halls to hear live music (it did the opposite), now music publishers complained that the gramophone would stop people buying sheet music, as later the record companies would complain that playing records on the radio would stop people buying them. Again, of course, the opposite was the case — it was ever thus.

So in today’s programme we will hear modern performances of the popular ballads and dance music of the Victorian and Edwardian eras, together with a wide selection of original recordings of great music-hall and other late 19th/early 20th century recording artistes taken from the original 78 rpm records and phonograph cylinders.

This week’s programming on Radio Riel is produced in celebration of the Fifth Birthday of Second Life (SL5B) and can be heard on our Main Stream, It also provides the soundtrack to Caledon’s own SL5B Exhibit: simply press Play on your embedded music player when you visit:


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