Library Collection

Parlour Music Collection

Our 38 volumes of sheet music, vocal and instrumental pieces were published around the turn of the 19th century.  In March 1912 The Guildford Institute Librarian welcomed the 50 specially-produced bound volumes as “a good addition to the library”. A century later, this collection is a nostalgic reflection of a more leisured age, when people indulged in music-making in their parlours as amateur singers and pianists.

Much of the music consists of songs and piano music, produced by the publishers Cassell and date from about 1905-1908. Also known as “Music in the Home”, each cost only 2d., so there was a large market for them. Lavish illustrations adorn the covers.

The songs were sometimes sourced from operas and religious works but most were independent and the names of librettists and composers appear repeatedly. There are also patriotic songs and some from the musical theatre.