Nicholas Dixon (Howard Essay Winner 2010-2011): Victorian Parlour Music

Nicholas Dixon, a student in the MVI, gave a lecture on Victorian Parlour Music based on his winning entry to this year’s Howard Essay Prize. Illustrating his points with music examples, he gave us a fascinating introduction to the nature and characteristics of this hugely popular, and largely forgotten, genre, explaining how it is as important to our understanding of the Victorians, as, for example, the Beatles are to the 1960s, or jazz to the 1920s. A wide discussion ensued, focusing on areas such as the songs’ musical, as opposed to historical, importance, and the relationship of parlour music to more working-class types such as music hall.

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