A collective biography of forgotten female hit-makers of the Victorian parlour.

Too often, advocates for female composers insist on seeking out symphonies and string quartets, ignoring the one genre where women reigned supreme.

Parlour songs were the pop hits of the Victorian era – and some of the biggest hit-makers of the day were female. Barred from positions in universities, cathedrals and orchestras, this intimate, home-based musical genre was their only outlet. Sadly, their extraordinary contribution has largely been forgotten, overlooked by historians and marginalised in the timeline of music.

Now, British-Canadian singer Patricia Hammond is putting the record – or, rather, the sheet music – straight, telling tuneful tales of political reform, personal empowerment and the unique role women played in a fascinating period of British and American musical history.

‘Superb, well-researched … Hammond makes a strong case for this “domestic” music, having sifted through the archives – including her own impressive collection of parlour sheet music – to tell the stories of this overlooked genre and its talented composers.’
– Claire Jackson, BBC Music Magazine

‘Patricia Hammond rescues the songs and lives of female composers from ephemera, sheet music and weekly magazines. In doing so, she gives us a new insight into these working women and challenges the dismissal of their music as homely or amateur.’
— Dr Debbie Challis, Cultural Historian and writer

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