Item #1003673 American dance orchestra signs, in original wooden case. EPHEMERA.
American dance orchestra signs, in original wooden case
American dance orchestra signs, in original wooden case
American dance orchestra signs, in original wooden case
American dance orchestra signs, in original wooden case

American dance orchestra signs, in original wooden case

United States: late nineteenth century. Six wooden signs, measuring 2 x 12.25 inches, hand-painted in crimson and green on both sides, with wire loops for hanging; string cords (likely renewed). Housed in original hinged and fitted wooden carrying case, measuring 3.5 x 3 x 12.75 inches, hand-painted in crimson and green, with monogram “AEO” to lid. Original clasp present but not functional; minor rubbing to paint.

Six hand-painted signs used by an American dance orchestra to alert the audience to the proper steps. John Spitzer observes that in nineteenth-century New York, “hundreds of orchestras played on a daily basis in theaters, restaurants and beer gardens, concert halls, circuses, and amusement parks. The ubiquity of the orchestra in nineteenth-century American cities forms a striking contrast to the rather narrow range of venues to which twenty-first-century orchestras are confined.” Each sign features the name of a different dance on each side: Polka, Schottische, March, Quadrille, Waltz, Mazurka, Varieties, Gavotte, Lancers, York, Triange, and Selection. These social dances reflect the midcentury influx of immigrants, especially Germans, who shaped the popular American musical scene. While the orchestra that commissioned these signs is unknown, the carrying case bears the initials “AEO.” See also: American Orchestras in the Nineteenth Century, ed. Spitzer, Chicago, 2012. A wonderful musical and typographic artifact.

Price: $1,600.00

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