The ballad-singer in Georgian and Victorian London

Publication Type:



Cambridge University Press,, Cambridge, United Kingdom ;, p.1 online resource (2021)

Call Number:




(OCoLC)fst00825896, (OCoLC)fst00862898, (OCoLC)fst01119301, Ballads, English., Civilization., Dissemination of music, England, fast, History and criticism., History., Music, Singers, Singers., Social aspects, Street music


Includes bibliographical references and index.Introduction -- Representations : Seeing the Singer -- Interlude I. 'Oh! Cruel' -- Progress : Ancient Custom in the Modern City -- Interlude II. 'Lord Viscount Maidstone's Address' -- Performance : The Singer in Action -- Interlude III. 'The Storm' -- Repertoire : Navigating the Mainstream -- Interlude IV. 'Old Dog Tray' -- Conclusion."In this book, I seek to write the history of the ballad-singer: a central agent in numerous cultural, social, and political processes of continuity, contestation, and change across western Europe between the later sixteenth and the late nineteenth centuries. The English term 'ballad-singer' appears to have been an invention of the 1590s, and in the Victorian period it began to lose coherence among a raft of alternatives, all of which denoted something slightly different: chaunter, patterer, long-song seller, street vocalist, busker. For the three centuries in between, however, its usage remained remarkably consistent, referring to a low status and low income individual of questionable legality, whose primary occupation was the dissemination of printed songs, generally by direct sale for small change, in public places, primarily the street, and who sang these songs as part of the process. In the period under discussion in these pages, ballad-singers' songs' musical notation was almost never printed, the words being set instead as verse (often accompanied by image), leaving the onus upon the seller to supply - and sometimes even to choose - the tune"--Description based on print version record and CIP data provided by publisher; resource not viewed.