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  • "Vibrating through all its breadth":Musical Fiction and Materialist Aesthetics in the Strand Musical Magazine

The aims of the Strand Musical Magazine were largely practical in nature: articles and advertisements provided information about concerts, festivals, and other events on the Victorian music calendar. Yet, as this essay argues, it also (perhaps unwittingly) participated in key nineteenth-century aesthetic and scientific debates about music's ties to the human body. In several of the short stories published in the Strand Musical Magazine, characters cry, throb, convulse, quiver, and sweat while playing or hearing music. These corporeal events correspond with emerging acoustical and physiological science that understood music in terms of sound waves and bodily vibrations. The Strand Musical Magazine conceived of music not as an intangible, transcendent phenomenon but as a material force rooted in the science of sound.

The aims of George Newnes's Strand Musical Magazine were largely practical in nature.1 Though the periodical ran only briefly—appearing in six installments from January 1895 to December 1897—its few volumes were staggeringly rich, each with over 500 pages of material about musical life in nineteenth-century Britain.2 Edited by the French-born music publisher Emile Hatzfeld, it printed articles about the lives of composers, accounts of the history of English musical institutions, notifications of upcoming concerts, portraits and photographs of eminent musical figures, sheet music for dozens of original compositions, and illustrated fictional works by a variety of relatively unknown or anonymous writers.3

As Hatzfeld wrote in his introductory essay for the first volume, the magazine's primary aim was to communicate information about concerts, lectures, and other musical events to the British public—material that Hatzfeld expected would "prove highly interesting to the general as well as to the musical reader."4 The magazine would also disseminate sheet music at a relatively low price: "The Editor desires to point out that, apart from the literary matter and illustrations, the public will be able to secure, for sixpence, through the medium of the magazine, twelve songs and pieces of music which, in sheet form, would cost about a guinea."5 Indeed, the Strand Magazine advertised that the Strand Musical Magazine could be purchased for sixpence at "any Newsagent, Bookseller, or at the Railway Bookstalls" or for ninepence "by post."6 Readers of the magazine would [End Page 1] thus have relatively easy and affordable access to a collection of popular and classical scores by a variety of composers, such as Maude White, Ignacy Jan Paderewski, and Franz Behr, that they could play at home.

As Hatzfeld's introduction indicates, the Strand Musical Magazine also had a nationalistic aim—to highlight British prowess in the field of classical music. Many thought of nineteenth-century Britain as a "land without music," as the German critic Oscar A. H. Schmitz wrote in 1914.7 Many in the English musical world were perturbed by Britain's perceived backwardness in classical music, especially compared to continental musical powerhouses like Germany and Austria.8 Hatzfeld, however, insisted that the "British are a music-loving people."9 The opening article of the magazine's first volume was a history of the Royal Academy of Music by the composer and scholar Dr. A. C. Mackenzie, who emphasized the "strides which English music has made."10 The magazine's fifth volume likewise includes an interview with the singer Plunket Greene, who asserts that "English musical taste, too, … is unquestionably improving."11 By disseminating musical information and musical scores, as well as highlighting the rich history and promising future of Britain's musical communities, the Strand Musical Magazine served to assert British musicality to the larger world and to improve the musical awareness and skills of the British public.

As this essay argues, however, the Strand Musical Magazine also moved beyond the practical realm and towards emerging philosophical and scientific understandings of music.12 The short stories in the magazine particularly demonstrate a preoccupation with sound as a physical entity that acts on the human body—a notion that fascinated many nineteenth-century scientists and intellectuals. In several of the short stories, we see characters viscerally affected by sound: both performers and listeners cry, throb, convulse, quiver, and sweat while playing or hearing music. These instances, I suggest, reflect a contemporary Victorian interest in—and growing understanding of—the physics and physiology of music. Nineteenth-century thinkers in the burgeoning fields of acoustical science and physiological aesthetics discovered that sound was a physical entity that produced material waves and vibrations, exerted kinetic and potential energy, and ignited sensations in the human body. Victorians began to understand sound's ability to penetrate the human ear, activate the nerves, precipitate bodily convulsions, and cause the heart rate to rise and the skin to sweat.

An examination of the Strand Musical Magazine reveals how the fictional stories in each issue foregrounded the relationship between music and the body.13 The stories' attitudes towards embodied sound are ambivalent. While some texts highlight the pleasures of embodied music, others reveal its dangers. Taken together, the stories provide a more nuanced understanding of the mission of the Strand Musical Magazine. Newnes's periodical not only had its finger on the pulse of musical goings-on in England [End Page 2] but also engaged with new discoveries about the physics and physiology of sound.

More broadly, this essay suggests that by offering fictional portrayals of embodied sound, the Strand Musical Magazine perhaps unwittingly intervened in a key nineteenth-century aesthetic and philosophical debate. The materialist understandings of music articulated by many of the fiction writers who contributed to the magazine represent a stark departure from what Emma Sutton has called "musical idealism."14 This late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century tradition, supported by philosophers, critics, and composers such as Immanuel Kant, Arthur Schopenhauer, John Ruskin, and Richard Wagner, purported that music was sublime, celestial, and transcendent—a patently immaterial art form. The Strand Musical Magazine, however, implicitly aligned itself with the mid- to late nineteenth-century discourses of materialist aesthetics championed by thinkers such as Alexander Bain, Grant Allen, and Vernon Lee.

In the pages that follow, I first offer a brief overview of nineteenth-century sound science as well as Victorian debates about physiological aesthetics, particularly as they relate to music. I then show how a selection of stories in the Strand Musical Magazine absorb and adapt conversations about music, physics, and physiology. By publishing these fictional works, Hatzfeld not only offered readers a practical guide to Victorian musical life but also contributed to key nineteenth-century debates about the nature of music itself.

Music and Physiology in the Nineteenth Century

Debates over the materiality of music—and, more broadly, the role of the body in aesthetic production and reception—circulated throughout the nineteenth century. Many Victorian thinkers maintained the values of musical idealism. As Sutton writes, "From the celestial music of classical philosophy and platonic theology, music has been characterized as the least material art, a perception that became increasingly emphatic in Romantic fiction and aesthetic theory in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. … Music was represented as incorporeal and ethereal."15 Nineteenth-century philosophers such as Schopenhauer, author of The World as Will and Idea (1819), maintained that music was unrelated to the material world. Victorian thinkers like Ruskin were also suspicious of materialist understandings of music that reduced it to "mere sensual gratification, not even acting on the feelings."16 Similarly, Wagner sought to distance his work from the sensual realm to preserve music's status as a "higher" art form.17

During the same time period, thinkers in the burgeoning field of physiological aesthetics began to conceive of art as something experienced primarily in and through the human body. As Nicholas Dames and Benjamin [End Page 3] Morgan have pointed out, Victorian scientists and philosophers became increasingly preoccupied with the physiological basis of artistic production and reception, as evidenced by the experiments and writings of George Henry Lewes, Alexander Bain, Grant Allen, and Vernon Lee.18 Allen, for instance, argued that the aesthetic appreciation of an art object was directly proportional to the number of nerves involved in an individual's perception of it.19 Philosophers like William James and Friderich Nietzsche also believed that artistic reception was inextricable from the actions of the human body.20 Nietzsche, for example, observed that "art reminds us of states of animal vigour; it is on the one hand an excess and overflow of blooming physicality, on the other, an excitation of the animal functions through the images and desires of intensified life—an enhancement of the feeling of life, a stimulant to it."21

As historians, literary critics, and sound theorists such as John Picker, Jonathan Sterne, and Robert Michael Brain have suggested, these new physiological discourses quickly began to permeate the nineteenth-century musical world. Scientists from both England and the Continent, such as John Tyndall, Edmund Gurney, Lord John Rayleigh, and Hermann von Helmholtz, were beginning to think about music as an entity comprised of waves and vibrations with measurable physical properties. Tyndall, for instance, discovered that sound could be propagated through the air in waves comprised of a series of tiny particles (figure 1). According to Tyndall, scientists could measure the length of a sound wave "from condensation to condensation, or from rarefaction to rarefaction."22 Similarly, Helmholtz studied the ways sound penetrates the atmosphere and affects material objects. In his 1863 work On the Sensations of Tone, Helmholtz introduced the notion of sympathetic vibration—the idea that sound waves can cause nearby bodies such as strings, bells, and glass to vibrate at the same frequency as the tone emitted. Sympathetic vibration explains why, for instance, an opera singer's voice can break glass.23

Acoustical scientists also described hearing as a complex physiological process rooted in the tiny nerves, muscles, membranes, and hair fibers of the human ear. Tyndall wrote about Corti's organ, a structure in the inner ear comprised of a series of tiny hairs which activate the auditory nerves that transmit sound to the brain.24 He compared Corti's organ to a "lute of 3,000 strings."25 Helmholtz also proposed that the hair-like nerve fibers in the cochlea, the inner cavity of the ear, behave like strings of a "nervous piano" that vibrate sympathetically to sonic events.26 Moreover, he suggested that the sounding of a tone causes "twitching," "agitations," "irritation," and "twitterings" of the nerves and muscles of the human body.27 Similarly, Gurney wrote that "in melody … there is perpetually involved something more even than a suggestion of movement, namely, [End Page 4] a direct impulse to move; which is not only felt but constantly yielded to in varying degrees."28 Music enacted similar effects on the human brain, particularly with regard to memory. For instance, Victorian physiologists introduced the idea of what we now call the "earworm," the experience of getting a song stuck in one's head. Hermann Ebbinghaus described the human capacity for "involuntary memory retrieval," the recollection of a song or melody that one heard in the past.29 Similarly, Gurney described the power of music to "[get] into the blood and [cling] to the memory."30

Figure 1. John Tyndall, Sound (London: Longmans, Green, 1867), 3.
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Figure 1.

John Tyndall, Sound (London: Longmans, Green, 1867), 3.

While some scientists did not differentiate between music and sound, others emphasized the specific capacity of music to incite uniquely powerful bodily sensations. Tyndall wrote that noise is produced by an "irregular succession of shocks," while a musical tone is produced by the consonant, periodic motion of sound waves.31 Likewise, in his 1877 work The Theory of Sound, John William Strutt, the third Baron Rayleigh, suggested that music results from the rapid and regular vibrations of the air, whereas "noise" results from slower and more irregular vibrations.32 Tyndall and Strutt argued that music could enter the human ear—and affect the human body—with more potency and regularity because it involved more regular vibrations of the air and more consonant sound waves.

While many thinkers and artists hailed such materialist understandings of aesthetic experience, others condemned them for their alleged devaluation of the mysteries of art. According to Brain, "This domain—art—held a hallowed place in the moral imagination of the nineteenth century as the critical refuge of voluntarism, intentionality, and freedom of the will … The invasion of science into aesthetics threatened the system of détente between the two cultures and all the cherished assumptions it upheld."33 In 1817, an anonymous critic wrote in the London Examiner of the "invasion of the region of aesthetics by natural science."34 Others were skeptical of the basic tenet of physiological aesthetics: that the human body is innately susceptible to an external influence. In his 1895 book Degeneration, for instance, Max Nordau argued that passive bodily responses to music degrade the individual to the status of a primitive creature: "It is a descent from the height of human perfection to the low level of a mollusk."35 [End Page 5]

Despite these objections, new discoveries in the field of acoustical science and physiological aesthetics began to enter the Victorian popular imagination. Members of the British intellectual community read works of acoustical theory and attended lectures on sound science in London. Lecture series such as the Royal Institution's "Friday Night Discourses," at which both Tyndall and Helmholtz presented, provided a platform for sound theory to reach wider audiences.36 Periodicals also transmitted sound science to the wider public. Summaries and reviews of works by Tyndall, Helmholtz, Gurney, Allen, and others frequently appeared in popular periodicals such as the Fortnightly Review, the Westminster Review, Nature, and Mind.37 Charles Darwin, Max Müller, Sigmund Freud, and Albert Einstein likewise praised and engaged with the ideas of Helmholtz, Tyndall, Gurney, and others in scientific magazines and journals.38

Sound science also made its way into the classical music world. According to Rosemary Golding, acoustics became a crucial component of university-level music study. The Oxford music professor William Crotch, for example, regularly incorporated discussions of sound science into his lectures.39 Likewise, John Donaldson, a professor at Edinburgh, lectured and tested his music students on acoustical science.40 Textbooks such as Sedley Taylor's Sound and Music: A Non-Mathematical Treatise on the Physical Constitution of Musical Sounds and Harmony, Including the Chief Acoustical Discoveries of Professor Helmholtz (1873), which contained in-depth discussions of the theories of Helmholtz and Tyndall, were distributed to students at the Royal Academy of Music.41 John Broadhouse's "The Student's Helmholtz" (1881), which contained a summary of On the Sensations of Tone, was required reading for music students at Oxford.42 As a result of these new scientific conversations and their proliferation throughout British society, the Victorian period came to be defined as an "Ausculative Age," an era of "Ensoniment."43 It is not surprising, then, that readers of the Strand Musical Magazine—the niche audience cultivated by Newnes—would have been familiar with and interested in these debates. I next explore how these new materialist understandings of music permeated the magazine's fictional content.

The Strand Musical Magazine and Embodied Sound

The Strand Musical Magazine rarely dealt explicitly with acoustical science. Despite its exhaustive accounts of music events in London and informational articles on composers, concerts, and instruments, the periodical's six volumes contain no mention of Tyndall's music demonstrations at the Royal Institution, Helmholtz's sound experiments, or the acoustical studies of music students at Oxford and the Royal Academy. The word "science" never appears in the journal, and the word "acoustic" occurs only [End Page 6] infrequently.44 Yet the periodical's informational articles do indicate some underlying awareness of contemporary sound science. In an article on Plunket Greene (1897), an unnamed interviewer asks, "Is it nervousness that causes your hand to shake when you are singing?"45 Greene replies, "Oh, no, it is simply the vibration caused by the mere act of singing," an answer that suggests an understanding of the physiological effects of sound and tone production.46 Likewise, Fred S. Leftwich's article "Violins and Violin-Creators" (1896) notes that for some violins, if the "vibration is all in a certain measure checked … the sound is choked."47 In a similar vein, Edwin Holland's article "Voice Production" (1897) talks about the "diaphragm, lungs, windpipe, larynx" and the role of breathing in causing vocal chords to vibrate and produce sound.48 Thus, though these works only obliquely refer to embodied sound, they do suggest a basic awareness of the ties between music, physics, and physiology—ties that emerged more forcefully in the Strand Musical Magazine's fictional works.

The short stories in the Strand Musical Magazine fit the genre of what Paula Gillett calls "musical fiction," works that center on musical characters, themes, or events and presuppose readers' knowledge of or interest in musical culture. According to Gillett, such stories were prominent in periodicals and were "enormously popular" during their time.49 Here I deal with four works of musical fiction published in the Strand Musical Magazine, all of which reflect broader preoccupations with the materiality of music.

Perhaps the most celebratory portrayal of embodied sound can be found in C. H. Palmer's "Music Hath Charms" (1896). The story chronicles two families who live in adjacent villages: the Hogbins, who are "comfortable bourgeois," and the de Carteret Canteloupes, who are "aristocrats of intellect and taste."50 The narrator reveals that the wall which separates the two villas is so thin that it "serves to facilitate rather than to obstruct the passage of sound."51 Both families are "addicted to music," but their different musical tastes create a feud "of quite Corsican ferocity," and the thin party wall "[vibrates] through all its breadth to the sounds of strife."52 The story is filled with additional references to objects vibrated by sound and bodies affected by music. In one scene, for example, the de Carteret Canteloupes' daughter Fanny "[ploughs] her way steadily through seventeen pages of a 'Grotesquerie Funambulesque,'" causing Mr. Hogbin to "writhe beneath his evening paper, and finally fling the paper from him in rage and despair," uttering, "this is too much for weak human nature. … I almost wish I had been born deaf."53 The word "writhe" reflects the kinesthetic powers of music, and the fact that Mr. Hogbin does so "beneath his evening paper" directs the reader's attention to his pelvic region and implies a sexual response.54 His "nerves are all on edge-like" after Fanny's performance, and he consequently asks his daughter Caroline to play "something [End Page 7] sensible" to undo the effects of the "Grotesquerie."55 And soon, "under the soothing influence of the 'Yeoman of the Guard,' Mr. Hogbin began to recover his equanimity."56 This moment certainly captures what one of the de Carteret Canteloupes calls Hogbin's "Philistine" nature—he prefers old national tunes to more experimental contemporary works—but it also further showcases his visceral relationship to music, which both arouses and soothes him.

Caroline is also affected by vibrating sound—particularly the cello music played by Wembley, the son of the de Carteret Canteloupe family. In one scene, the narrator asserts, "The first deep groan of the 'cello shook the party wall," making Caroline experience "yearnings of which she had not previously been aware."57 The erotic passion initially ignited by the music—signaled by words like "deep groan" and "yearnings"—soon translates into romantic attachment, and Caroline and Wembley marry at the end of the story. Their marriage begins to repair the resentment between the two families, and they become "quite friendly."58 Music, through its corporeal effects, at first divides, then excites and moves, and finally unifies the characters. Palmer thus not only gives readers of the Strand Musical Magazine a portrait of domestic music life in nineteenth-century England but also highlights concepts from physiological aesthetics and acoustical science.

Other stories in the Strand Musical Magazine suggest more ambivalence about the implications of sound science for understanding musical response. These texts explore the malicious influence of music and its ability to incite dangerous pleasures and loss of bodily control. M. L. Collins's "Arline's Hero—The Story of the 'Bohemian Girl'" (1895), for instance, describes how a young girl named Arline frolics outside her home in Bohemia and is entranced by the songs of gypsies, "instinctively [turning] her steps in the direction of the sound."59 They kidnap her, and she eventually becomes one of the "four best singers" of their tribe.60 The rest of the story concerns Arline's father as he searches for her and ultimately restores her to her "rank, fortune … home, and … loving father."61 Contemporary understandings of the human response to music as an innate, embodied trait are at play here—particularly since Arline is "instinctively" drawn to the music—as are anxieties about humans' powerlessness to resist music's influence. Collins's tale thus echoes the apprehensions of musical idealists—the critics of physiological aesthetics who objected to the principle that humans respond innately and passively to the external influences of sound.

Other stories similarly adopt the trope of music as an overpowering and dangerous physical force. Palmer's "A Fortunate Failure" (1895) features a vocalist named Evelyn Graham whose musicality, the narrative suggests, is problematic on a number of levels. First, Evelyn studies with a professor [End Page 8] who, we are led to believe, hails from the Continent or Eastern Europe, as the narrative draws attention to his vaguely foreign accent when he tells Evelyn that she is making an "imbrovement, distingtly."62 In an early scene, the professor plays for Evelyn and elicits in her a sensual response: "The last chord of the accompaniment vibrated under the Professor's big nervous fingers. … The young girl standing by his side flushed with pleasure."63

Given that this text was released on the heels of George du Maurier's sensationally popular 1894 novel Trilby, which featured the German-Jewish musician Svengali, who mesmerizes the young vocalist Trilby, the vaguely foreign professor here could be seen as a Svengali-like predator—an insinuation that is punctuated when the text likens him to a lion with a "long mane" of hair.64 Here, musical vibration becomes a tool for a dangerous (and foreign) man to excite a bodily response in his female protégé.

Evelyn's music in turn elicits a visceral reaction in her father Colonel Graham, albeit one that is aversive rather than pleasurable. As she plays, a "rapid series of scales caused him to stir uneasily, and mingled with his dreams. A prolonged shake on E flat roused him into consciousness, and he sat up with a yawn. … His ears were being assaulted by a sustained bombardment of vocal exercises."65 Here the text associates embodied music (highlighted by words such as "stir," "roused," "yawn," and "ears") with unbearable physical disturbance ("uneasily," "assaulted," "bombardment"). In order to curtail her singing, Colonel Graham and Evelyn's future husband Charles Langdon arrange for her to perform at Prince's Hall in Piccadilly with the goal of inducing a "bad attack of stage fright."66 This experience does in fact silence her; the narrator asserts that "from that time forward, the gallant Colonel took his siesta undisturbed in the afternoon."67 The silencing of Evelyn, like that of Arline, speaks to the notion that women have a dangerous vulnerability to the embodied power of music.68

Other stories in the Strand Musical Magazine also offer complex meditations on the dual mechanisms of peril and pleasure that music can incite. Such tensions are evident in the anonymously published story "The Forbidden Melody" (1896), which recounts an episode in the life of a female protagonist named Leila, who travels to India and becomes obsessed with a particular melody she heard as a child. In the story's pivotal scene, Leila becomes so entranced by her own performance that she fails to notice the approach of a snake, which then bites her:

She became absorbed in the music. … Unconsciously her fingers began straying in search of the fascinating melody. The old notes came quickly to her touch, and half in a dream she watched her fingers wander lazily over the keys. The music and the memories it awakened absorbed her, so that she did not hear a faint rustling in the shadow, coming nearer and nearer, nor see the long [End Page 9] sinuous body with glittering scales where the fading sunshine fell upon it, gliding slowly over the matting, nor see its wicked upraised head swaying gently to and fro in measured rhythm. The music held her spellbound.69

Paradoxically, the music not only renders Leila vulnerable to the snake's attack but also saves her life. A man from India, referred to in the text as a "native," urges Leila to play the piece again, to draw the snake back to her so that he can extract the venom needed for the antidote to the snake's poison. The text reads, "She understood, and her hands began slowly wandering over the keys. The notes came faint and feeble at first. Every vestige of colour had gone from her face. Her very finger nails were grey, and as she played, her lips moved unconsciously. Her hands seemed to struggle automatically with the keys, but as she went on some of her old spirit began to creep into the music."70 Like the snake, the "native" soon begins to "sway backwards and forwards" to Leila's music and then breaks into a "sort of silent prance, keeping time to the mad air."71 The narrator recounts that the "native was still swaying and bending to and fro to the music, and Leila had suddenly awakened and was playing rapidly. Notes succeeded each other in quick succession. There were strange twists and runs, and many rapid movements, through which the air rain with incessant monotony."72 Leila's performance enables the "native" to get the venom and administer the antidote. Yet, as with Arline and Evelyn, the narrative makes clear that Leila will never play again: "But no further promise was required to keep her from playing."73

In many ways, "The Forbidden Melody" exists in the realm of the fantastic, exotic, and supernatural. Yet it also reveals an engagement with scientific notions of sound's literal effects on the human body. For example, the image of Leila's ability to unconsciously replicate the music of her childhood reflects Victorian ideas about music and involuntary memory retrieval, such as the "earworm." Moreover, the story revisits notions of kinesthetic responses to music. Both the snake and the native "sway gently to and fro" in response to Leila's performance, and music precipitates the automatic, unconscious movements of Leila's body as both her fingers and her lips respond to her production of sound.74 In this story, then, music is both destructive and curative for Leila; it attracts a predator but later restores her vitality and enables her revival. "The Forbidden Melody" thus encapsulates the tensions brought about by the emergence of sound science that challenged beliefs about music as a purely ethereal force.


Studying the short stories in the Strand Musical Magazine, then, reveals the periodical's interest in exploring the physics and physiology of music [End Page 10] and the various implications of viewing music listening and performance as innate and embodied phenomena. While the magazine was first and foremost a periodical dedicated to promoting musical culture in Victorian England, references to the principles of sound science, especially the potency of sound waves to evoke visceral, sensual, and affective responses, permeate its stories. Moreover, acoustic principles provided fertile ground for the stories to touch on issues that otherwise might not have found their way into a periodical with pragmatic and nationalistic aims—issues that included the sexual responses of both men and women, anxieties about foreign influence, the dichotomy of embodied pain and pleasure, the patriarchal silencing of the female voice, and the frailty of human consciousness. Just as advancements in sound science threatened the dominant paradigm of musical idealism, the acoustical moments in the Strand Musical Magazine's fictional narratives foregrounded a variety of shifting social concerns—concerns that were, like music itself, inextricable from the human body.

Shannon Draucker
Boston University
Shannon Draucker

Shannon Draucker is a PhD candidate in English at Boston University. Her dissertation project, "Sounding Bodies: Music and Physiology in Victorian Fiction," explores literary responses to emerging Victorian understandings of the science of sound. Shannon recently received a 2017–18 Huntington Library fellowship and was awarded honorable mention in the Midwest Victorian Studies Association's Walter L. Arnstein Prize.


1. Newnes hoped that audiences would respond as positively to his music periodical as they did to the Strand Magazine (Gillett, Musical Women, 73). In his introductory essay, Hatzfeld writes, "The unprecedented success achieved by the Strand Magazine and other publications issued by George Newnes, Limited, affords the most striking evidence that the great public appreciate good and healthful literature, when presented in artistic form at popular prices" (3). The Strand contained advertisements for the Strand Musical Magazine. The January–June 1896 volume, for instance, advertised the most recent issue of the Strand Musical Magazine by listing the musical pieces and "illustrated text[s]" it contained (Advertisement, xxvii).

2. Scholars have speculated as to why the magazine was so short lived. Though Hatzfeld insisted that the periodical would interest both general readers and music enthusiasts, critics have suggested that it likely appealed to a more niche audience (Gillett, Musical Women, 123). Meirion Hughes suggests that it was "directed at a younger female readership," as it offered "a combination of chatty articles (or interviews) on musical topics, short illustrated stories centered on romantic attachments, and a musical supplement" (Hughes, English Musical Renaissance, 97–98). Hughes writes, "The magazine, priced at 6d, aimed to exploit a new younger market for a music journal. The market however seems not to have materialized" (98). Contemporary periodicals contained little information about the Strand Musical Magazine's short run. In the introduction to the Index to the Periodicals of [End Page 11] 1897, a publication produced by the Review of Reviews (originally a joint venture between Newnes and W. T. Stead), the writer and editor Miss E. Hetherington wrote, "Music is less fortunate than art. We have to note the disappearance of the Strand Musical Magazine and the excellent weekly Musician" ("Introduction," vii). Yet Hetherington gives no clues as to the reasons for this disappearance.

3. Hatzfeld was born in France but moved to London in 1878. He founded the publication firm of Pitt & Hatzfeld in London in 1888 for the purpose of printing music sheets ("Pitt & Hatzfeld").

5. Ibid.

6. Advertisement, xxvii. An advertisement in volume 12 of the Strand Magazine also stated that "The Strand Magazine or The Strand Musical Magazine will be forwarded direct from the Offices of George Newnes, Ltd. to any part of the world, post free, for one year, on receipt of 9s" ("Contents for December, 1896," xxxi).

8. For further background on Victorian anxieties about British musical production, see Solie, "No 'Land without Music,'" and Blake, Land without Music.

12. Very little scholarship on the Strand Musical Magazine or on the fictional works published within each issue has been published. Paula Gillett is the only recent critic to discuss the periodical's fiction in her analysis of female musical philanthropy in the short story "Corinna's Concert" (Musical Women, 123).

13. I examined these volumes in person in the Boston Public Library's Music Periodicals Archive, but they are also available in the HathiTrust Digital Library.

15. Ibid., 134–35.

25. Ibid., 234–35. [End Page 12]

27. Ibid., 148. While thinkers like Helmholtz and Tyndall emphasized humans' universal susceptibility to music, other scientists such as Theodor Billroth and Franz Joseph Gall argued that some people were organically primed to react more strongly to musical influence. Gall, for instance, conducted phrenological studies to determine if a proclivity for music resulted in more prominent features in the human skull (van Wyhe, "History of Phrenology").

35. Ibid., 179.

36. As a foreign member of the royal societies of London and Edinburgh, Helmholtz made eight visits to Britain, during which he visited the Royal Institution and the Royal Society of London and attended two meetings of the British Association for the Advancement of Science. Helmholtz spoke at the Royal Institution's "Friday Night Discourses" in 1860 (Cahan, "Helmholtz," 55, 59–60).

37. As Gillian Beer writes, "By the end of the 1870s, Helmholtz is, with Darwin, the recurrent point of reference for writers in Nature and Mind" (Beer, Open Fields, 247). According to Beer, all of the essays in the 1879 volume of Mind, including William James's "Are We Automata?" refer to Helmholtz in some way (247). Sound scientists also summarized and reviewed each other's work. After hearing Helmholtz's lecture in Berlin, for example, Sully published articles about him in the Fortnightly Review and Westminster Review (Picker, Victorian Soundscapes, 90).

38. Most famously, Charles Darwin cites Helmholtz in both The Origin of Species (1859) and The Descent of Man (1871). Max Müller praised On the Sensations of Tone in his 1863 work Lectures on the Science of Language (Beer, Open Fields, 247). Sigmund Freud was also enthusiastic about Helmholtz's ideas; in 1876, he took a class titled "The Physiology of Voice and Speech" with Ernst Brucke, an acquaintance of Helmholtz's from the 1840s. He called Helmholtz "one of my idols" (quoted in Picker, Victorian Soundscapes, 107). In 1899, Albert Einstein wrote, "I admire ever more the original, free thinker [Helmholtz]" (quoted in Picker, Victorian Soundscapes, 84).

40. Ibid., 38.

44. For instance, in volume 2 Kathleen Schlesinger hails the "excellent acoustic properties" of the opera house in Dresden ("Music in Dresden," 175).

46. Ibid.

49. Gillett, Musical Women, 92, 194. Other periodicals such as the Magazine of Music (1884–97) and The Violin Times (1893–1907) also included fiction (92).

51. Ibid.

52. Ibid., 84, 86.

53. Ibid., 84. While it is beyond the scope of the present discussion, the other dynamic at work in this story is its staging of a conflict between high society and bourgeois art and culture. Wembley, for instance, ponders at one point that Caroline is a "daughter of the Philistines" (85).

54. The emphasis here is mine.

56. Ibid.

57. Ibid., 84, 86.

58. Ibid., 88.

60. Ibid., 173. This scene echoes the incident in George Eliot's The Mill on the Floss (1860) in which the heroine Maggie Tulliver runs off with a band of gypsies.

61. Ibid., 174.

63. Ibid.

64. Ibid.

65. Ibid.

66. Ibid., 20.

67. Ibid.

68. For more on Victorian strictures against female musical performance, see Gillett's Musical Women, as well as Phyllis Weliver's Women Musicians.

70. Ibid., 231.

71. Ibid.

72. Ibid.

73. Ibid.

74. The snake's response echoes discoveries by Victorian aurists such as David Tod and William Hyde Wollaston, who argued that many nonhuman [End Page 14] animals in fact possessed quite advanced hearing mechanisms. According to Tod, "The powers of music are very remarkable over a variety of animals. Only witness how fond the lizard is on hearing a lively air,—how he erects his head with one side generally higher than the other, and opens his mouth" (Anatomy and Physiology, 58). In "On Sounds Inaudible by Certain Ears," Wollaston argued that many animals and insects possessed a wider range of hearing than humans. For example, grylli insects, he wrote, display "the faculty of hearing still sharper sounds, which we do not know to exist" ("On Sounds," 314).


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