This is one of 804 articles in my book Now and Then Again, The Way We Were and the Way We Are. The book is available from Amazon for $16.95 also as an ebook from itunes, Kobo, and Inktera for $9.99. Also from Tolino in Germany. It’s fixed format so it’s better with a tablet, laptop, or computer. There are more articles from the book on another blog here.
All Shook Up
“We remarked with pain that the indecent foreign dance called the [Viennese] Waltz was introduced (we believe for the first time) at the English court on Friday last … it is quite sufficient to cast one’s eyes on the voluptuous intertwining of the limbs and close compression on the bodies in their dance, to see that it is indeed far removed from the modest reserve which has hitherto been considered distinctive of English females. So long as this obscene display was confined to prostitutes and adulteresses, we did not think it deserving of notice; but now that it is attempted to be forced on the respectable classes of society by the civil examples of their superiors, we feel it a duty to warn every parent against exposing his daughter to so fatal a contagion.”
— From a report on the Prince Regent’s grand ball, The Times of London, July, 1816
The American Federation of Musicians vowed never to play ragtime music at their national meeting in 1901. Ragtime was considered low music by some and was sometimes attacked with a whiff of racism.
The Commissioner of Docks in New York City forbade it in summer pier concerts and the Superintendent of Vacation Schools in New York would not allow ragtime in school music programs..
Thomas Preston Brooke, conductor of the Chicago Marine Band, made music history in 1902 by giving a ragtime only concert at the Cincinnati Zoo, which was so popular he gave two ragtime concerts a week after. Brooke gave a passionate defense of ragtime in the Chicago Tribune in 1902, saying that ragtime was not a fad, that it “pleases the God-given sense of rhythm”, and it will last “for centuries to come after we have been forgotten.” Continue reading