Sing a song of Empire
in Imperialism and music
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There were two staples of song in the second half of the nineteenth century: the drawing-room ballad and the music-hall song. Dave Russell suggests that music hall's 'really close association with the flag' began in 1877 with the threat to Constantinople from the Russians during the Russo-Turkish War. Some performers became particularly associated with patriotic, imperial and military songs. Victorian and Edwardian popular ballads have been a subject of mockery and derision in the second half of the twentieth century, denounced as maudlin, stereotyped and sentimental. Composing music for ballads was seen as an appropriate outlet for female composers, many of them denied other musical outlets. Around the turn of the century there was a 'radical transformation in the aesthetic status of English song' and a conscious effort to develop a tradition of English art song marked by a refined sensibility.

Imperialism and music

Britain 1876–1953


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