numbers of pianos
were in front parlours through Victorian and
Edwardian times and into the 1920s. Central to home and community
entertainment, they also stoked the flames of love for courting
in the Parlour is a musical and social history that looks affectionately at a period when pianos
were the most cherished domestic possessions in New Zealand and many
Brought to life by contemporary
real-life stories and graphics, Piano in the Parlour recreates a
century of home musical culture between the 1820s and 1920s.
Who played and sang? What did they play; where and how did they
perform? Who looked after them: the music publishers at home and
abroad, entrepreneurs and companies including Charles Begg & Co, the
Dresden Piano Co and Auckland's Eady stores that serviced and sold
pianos, and the old-time piano teachers.
Pioneers would go to extreme
lengths and spend a fortune to put a piano in their homes, as shown
in the Oscar-winning film, The Piano, which was set in New
Zealand. That was
fiction, but similar real-life stories are in this book.
Piano in the Parlour also looks
at how and why piano culture declined in the 20th century.
Words and music (with
chord symbols) are included for 17 songs commonly played and sung in the piano's
heyday: Rule Britannia!, Auld Lang Syne, Home! Sweet Home, Annie
Laurie, Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep, Come Home Father,
Beautiful Dreamer, I’ll Take You Home Again Kathleen, When You and I
Were Young Maggie, On the Ball, Love’s Old Sweet Song, The Holy
City, Waiting at the Church, Keep the Home Fires Burning,
Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Love’s Garden of Roses, Hine e Hine.
Though Piano in the
set mainly in New Zealand, the piano culture was similar elsewhere in the English-speaking world,
particularly in pioneer and post-pioneer societies in the British
Commonwealth and the USA.
• Beautifully produced hardback
edition in full colour
Table of contents: click
here to see the table of contents and more pictures.
here to see the
There are some
books that immediately endear themselves to you like a lost labrador. This is one.
takes a theme (the history of the piano, upright and
otherwise, in the New Zealand home) and plays an absorbing
set of literary variations which combine social history,
music and unabashed nostalgia into a nicely packaged
excursion through the domestic history of the piano.
Written with a
sense of time and place, it would take a hard unmusical
heart to resist this book. There's even a selection of music
from the Edwardian and Victorian parlour – including that
peerless hymn to the benefits of temperance and the evils of
alcohol, Come Home, Father.
MacGibbon could be launching a new piano age.
– 'Book of the Week', The Press, Christchurch
I write to
congratulate you on Piano in the parlour. It is, really, a
very fine coverage of the subject…you’ve drawn on an immense
number of sources, and the quality of your illustrations and
layout for a book of this kind is really impressive.
George Griffiths, Dunedin musicologist
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
JOHN MACGIBBON trained in classical
piano and graduated to playing keyboards in nightclubs and musical
theatre. Still an active pianist, though retired from professional
playing, he has written books on
Scottish emigrants, war history and the sheep industry. He is also a
free-lance writer and book publisher.
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