Recommended books on Music Hall
(Links to performers)
The heyday of the British Music Hall was from the 1890s up to the second World War. It was the most popular form of entertainment for ordinary people, at least until sound films began in the late 1920s. Most of the leading music hall performers made gramophone records, and I am making a small selection of recordings available as mp3 files: you should be able to play them within the web page they appear on. If you would like to download them you can do so from this page.
The 78s from which these files were made were mostly played with a 2.8 thousands-of-an-inch truncated elliptical stylus, equalized to constant amplitude plus a very considerable treble boost followed by a steep cut above 4kHz. I applied more bass cut than I would normally do, in order to keep the intelligibility as high as possible after the encoding process. They were transferred to Sony MiniDisc, using a J-500 machine, and some of the sample clips have internal edits made using the MiniDisc machine.
The records were mastered using SonicWORX® Artist Basic on a G3 PowerMac. The resultant files were converted to RealAudio using the RealAudio Encoder 2.0. and to mp3 using SoundJam™ MP (a Macintosh program which is now discontinued: in OSX its encoding functions have been taken over by iTunes.)
I have written some technical notes on the reproduction of 78 rpm records.
I have written a separate page listing recommended books on music hall.
Jose Garriga has provided information, including track listings, on a number of CDs of music hall recordings. There is some good material here and his listings are very useful.
The British Music Hall Society "strives to preserve the history of Music Hall and Variety, and to recall the artistes who were part of that scene. It also continues to actively support and encourage the entertainers of the Present." Members receive a copy of the Society's own magazine - "The CALL BOY" - which is published four times a year
To the best of my knowledge and belief all the audio material included on this site is in the public domain. The recordings are certainly all old enough to be out of copyright and I have researched the rights on the material where possible and confirmed that the copyright has lapsed. Anyone feeling they have a legitimate claim on the performance right of any item should me and if their claim seems valid I will remove the item in question pending investigations.