Thursday, 4 July 2013

Sheet music

I love the graphics on these two pieces of sheet music, picked up from a second-hand bookshop in Cornwall some years ago - one of those places where you get sore knees from looking through boxes on the floor, a cricked neck from trying to see what's on the unfeasibly high top shelves, then come out covered in dust, sneezing and coughing and with that damp smell still lingering in your nostrils for the next week.  But it's worth it.

This one's from 1922:

And this is dated 1938:

I adore the typography, the shapes, the flat colours.  Must get them framed.


  1. Fabulous. With Elmer and Fisher collaborating !

  2. Sheet music artwork was the LP sleeve of its day and would often, I'm guessing, be better than the dots contained within; I don't know your two tunes but I'm intrigued by the 'novelty' strapline.

  3. They're great, aren't they?

    John, I agree, and as for the 'Novelty' element, maybe it has something to do with the lyrics:

    Down in the hall the old oak clock
    Fills the house with its tic-a-tic tock
    All through the night the hands go round
    While everyone is sleeping safe and sound.
    In the hall at midnight nobody's about
    All the doors are bolted and the lights are out
    Not a single sound but tic-a-tic-a-tock
    All the house resounds to the the RHYTHM OF THE CLOCK
    Soon there comes a rumble underneath the floor
    Squeaking up the chimney and scratching at the door
    Crowds of little mice are running in a flock
    Dancing up and down to the RHYTHM OF THE CLOCK
    On the mantle shelf they romp around
    Till all the pretty knick-knacks are on the ground,
    On the curtain pole they hop and run
    And scramble up the bannisters to join the fun.
    All at once the cat comes creeping down the stairs
    Sees the mice parading and takes them unawares
    Little mice and big mice scatter at the shock
    Not a sound again but the RHYTHM OF THE CLOCK.
    Come and watch the mice at play,
    You have never seen such a fine array
    Soldiers answering the call
    Marching in a troop round and round the hall
    First to left and then to right
    On and on they go till they're out of sight
    Like an army in the night
    To the swinging of the pendulum they're marching.

    (It kind of tailed off at the end, did they run out of rhymes?!)

  4. I don't think the inter-war years, especially the 20's, can be beat for style and design.

  5. Glad you guys like them too. Yeah, I agree about 20s style.

  6. Love those kind of Aladdin's Cave shops. These are wonderful.

    1. Yes I love those shops but they have to be messy and disorganised for the full effect, don't they?!

  7. Sounds like my kind of shop! I've picked up a few pieces of sheet music along the way, for reasons similar to your own - they just look great. I'm a bit of an ephemera sucker though. I have a steadily increasing pile of antique adverts, flyers, photos and other bits & bobs that I plan to get day!

    1. Wow, the ephemera you have sounds great.
      It sounds as if you're a bit like me though with the "must... one day" thing...?

    2. Yep, I have a lot of things I must get around day!


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