Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-viii

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Prelude

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pp. ix-2

The history of a country,” wrote the local bookseller Meredith Janvier in an early twentieth-century account of old Baltimore, “is largely written in its songs, since they record and reflect not only the spirit of the times but tell what its people did, how they lived and what they thought about.”1 We began this project convinced...

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1. Drawing Rooms, Taverns, Churches, and Tobacco Fields: Music in Early Maryland

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pp. 3-36

Music is integral to human experience. It may have been especially so during the colonial period in Maryland, when life was limited and difficult for many people regardless of their manner of living. Music expressed the colonists’ thoughts, feelings, fears, and hopes, but it also played a role in many other aspects of their lives.

One must try to imagine the sounds to be heard in the mainland British colonies in, say, 1750. Philadelphia Quakers speak quietly and worship without music, while...

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2. Something for Everyone: Maryland Music from Independence to the 1850s

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pp. 37-73

After the American Revolution and especially after 1815, when a second war for independence ended, musical activities in Maryland reflected a rapidly changing society. Mass production and industrialization brought not only railroads and steamboats but also pianos and improved brass-band instruments. Partisan politics and social issues such as abolition and temperance found expression in sheet music as well as in stump speeches. As immigration added to natural increase, Maryland’s working classes clamored for humorous and patriotic songs, as well as ethnic folk...

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3. Intermission: The Sounds of Civil War

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pp. 74-88

Brass bands, civic and military, performed not only dance music but also public ceremonial music and commercial music of various sorts in antebellum Maryland. People heard bands play on steamship cruises along the Chesapeake, at private resorts like Old Point Comfort and Betterton, and even on trains that employed excursion bands to attract pleasure riders. In addition to concerts, bands performed at public fairs, taverns, circuses, horse races, and Fourth of July celebrations, to which admission was either free or priced to suit the leanest pocketbook. The sounds were...

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4. Toward Union and Concord

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pp. 89-117

During the late nineteenth century, when one could find amateur ensembles in many Maryland communities, Baltimore reigned as the musical capital of the Chesapeake. The city supported a large number of music publishers and instrument makers, especially piano manufacturers. In Baltimore as in other large American cities, people of means welcomed the traveling artists who played music for a living, whether orchestral or “popular,” and benefited from resident theater orchestras.

Small groups made loud music. At the end of the war, still under the tutelage of Otto...

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5. My Maryland

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pp. 118-146

The Beethoven Terrace Orchestra, perhaps Baltimore’s best-known amateur musical group in the late 1880s, grew out of a club that Edwin Litchfield Turnbull had organized at age 16.1 It rehearsed on Saturday nights at Turnbull’s home at 1530 Park Avenue (in the Bolton Hill block known as Beethoven Terrace),2 and kept busy performing benefit concerts in Baltimore and nearby cities, including an event in Pennsylvania that featured the two-hundred-voice York Choral Society....

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6. Musical Airs, Aired Music

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pp. 147-182

Max Strakosch, manager of the exotic Italian Opera and a regular visitor to Maryland’s shores, dreamed in the late nineteenth century of music arriving in parlors by means of telephone wires. This new medium, he prophesied, would make high-quality music readily available—as easily obtained as switching on a gas stove or turning a water spigot. It would put a merciful end to what he called the “torment ... of a million pianos, played upon by the average American girl.”1 Owners of piano factories in Baltimore wouldn’t find Strakosch’s forecast so rosy...

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Coda

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pp. 183-186

Several stellar players from the days of live performance, records, and radio became the closest thing to living legends in Maryland. The incomparable Rosa Ponselle settled into a home in the Greenspring Valley, northwest of Baltimore, and supported local opera until her death in 1981. Eubie Blake put his music to work at benefit performances for the NAACP, the Urban League, and African American youth groups and schools. He continued to play the piano as if age did not matter. In 1973 he performed at the Peabody during an event marking his ninetieth birthday. He died a decade later, a...

Notes

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pp. 187-202

Index

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pp. 203-213