Sheet Music with Phonograph Connections

Sheet Music Cover Art and Titles related to the Phonograph


By Doug Boilesen, 2006

The phonograph and sheet music have a close relationship since early popular music was normally sold as sheet music to the public before any recording of it would be heard.

The following show examples of an even closer relationship between music publishing and the phonograph with images of a phonograph on the sheet music cover and/or music which included "Phonograph" in its title, e.g., At Home, With My Pathé Pathéphone; The Song of Mister Phonograph; Phonograph March Brillante; The Phonograph Waltz, etc.


The Song of Mister Phonograph, G. Schirmer 1878

Courtesy Library of Congress - LISTEN



Phonograph March Brillante, White-Smith Music Publishing Co. Boston 1878 (imprint of this sheet music and Marie Rôze is 1906)

Courtesy of The Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection, Johns Hopkins University



Engraving (hand-colored) of operatic star Marie Rôze recording on an Edison tinfoil Phonograph from Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, April 20, 1878 - illustrated by Thure de Thulstrup (PM-1804)


The Phonograph. Five Easy Pieces for Piano, Oliver Ditson & Co., New York, 1878 - Courtesy Library of Congress



Phonograph Waltzer

Engraving of message being sent from Paris to Peking via tinfoil phonograph circa 1878

Courtesy of Antique Phonograph Monthly (Allen Koenigsberg) and John Reid (Issue No. 77, 1988)



Strauss' Phonograph Waltzes, Julius E. Mirsalis, Philadelphia, 1878

Courtesy Library of Congress, Music Division (1)

The Phonograph Waltz, A. MacGruthar, Orange, N.J. 1890 - Dedicated by Permission to the Inventor, T.A. Edison

Phonograph Galop, M.H. Fox (c.1893)

The Edison Phonograph Polka, Lyon & Healy, Chicago, ILL., 1894

Artist: Engraving by Walker Bros., Chicago, 1894 - Courtesy


The Phonograph Humourous Song, Willcocks & Co., (Limited), London, 1895 - Courtesy Library of Congress


Foxy Grandpa, D. H. Woolf, Kansas City, MO 1905 (PM-0790) - Phonographia Sheet Music Collection


The "Record" Lancers, Francis, Day & Hunter, London 1906, Artist: Sidney Kent, 1906

Courtesy of The Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection, Johns Hopkins University - LISTEN



Hoop-e-kack, Walter Jacobs, Boston, Massachusetts, 1909 - Artist: Starmer

Courtesy of Sheet Music Collection - York University

LISTEN to Indestructible Cylinder Record No. 1113 - Banjo solo by Vess L. Ossman



Uncle Silas, Vandersloot Music Pub. Co., Williamsport, PA., 1913 (PM-0791) - Artist: W. J. Dittmar

Phonographia Sheet Music Collection



They Start the Victrola (and go dancing around the floor), Maurice Abrahams Music Co., New York 1914 (PM-0784)

Phonographia Sheet Music Collection



At Our Little Tango Party, Maurice Richmond Music Co., New York City 1914 - Illustration by Edward H. Pfeiffer (PM-0789)

Phonographia Sheet Music Collection


If I Were a Big Victrola and You a Little Talking Machine, The John Franklin Music Co., New York, 1915

Courtesy of The Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection, Johns Hopkins University



When I Hear That Phonograph Play, M. Witmark & Sons, New York 1918

James Francis Driscoll collection of American sheet music



Melodious Jazz, Waterson, Berling & Snyder Co., New York 1920 (PM-0347)

Phonographia Sheet Music Collection


LISTEN to Noble Sissle sing "Melodious Jazz" on vertical-cut Pathé 22357, recorded circa March 1920



Oh, What a Dance (When I Dance with You), Jerome H. Remick & Co., New York 1920



Sonora, “The Melody Beautiful, ”Sonora Phonograph Company Inc. 1920 (PM-0788)

“Music Hath Charms.” Lyrics by Sewall D. Andrews, music by Walter J. Hamlin.

Lithograph by Hayes Litho Co., Buffalo, N.Y.

Poem inside front cover is titled “The Day,” which describes working people’s hard life by day but relaxing around the phonograph’s dreamy waltzes and gay fox trots at night.

Sonora's trademark was "Clear as a Bell"

Phonographia Sheet Music Collection



Money Song, Bay State Music Co., Brockton, Mass. 1922

Courtesy of The Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection, Johns Hopkins University



At Home With My Pathe Pathephone, Pathe Phonograph Co., Indianapolis, Ind. 1916

Courtesy of The Lester S. Levy Sheet Music Collection, Johns Hopkins University



Maggie Blues, Jack Mills, Inc., New York c.1922 - Artist: Starmer

Courtesy of WIMA Collections: Irish Fest Collection

LISTEN on the Library of Congress National Jukebox

Victor Record 19010 - The Virginians, Isabelle Patricola, Billy Murray 1922-12-20

Label and recording courtesy of Library of Congress



The Broken Record, Chappell & Co., Inc. New York City, 1935 (PM-0541)

Phonographia Sheet Music Collection



"Our Melody The Phonograph Song," Minerva Music, Berlin Germany 1956 (PM-0800)

Phonographia Sheet Music Collection


LISTEN to Guy Lombarbo and His Royal Canadians play Our Melody The Phonograph Song



"Ma-Ma-Maria," Chappell & Co., Inc., New York City c.1941 (PM-0776)

Phonographia Sheet Music Collection



The Fairy Swing piano solo by Louise Garrow, Clayton F. Summy Co., 1950 (PM-1102)

Phonographia Sheet Music Collection



Get Out Those Old Records, Lombardo Music, Inc., New York City, 1950

("those old phonograph records...")



Sheet Music and the Phonograph

The phonograph and sheet music had a close relationship since popular music most often appeared in sheet music before a recording would be heard. The following Columbia Grafonola ad from 1920 shows the latest songs of Jolson, Bayes, Van & Schenck and Harry Fox as examples of the latest songs and most popular artists now available as a record from Columbia. Phonograph companies always liked to emphasize if the artists were exclusive to their label.


Columbia Grafonola, Farm and Fireside Magazine, February 1920




Limitations of "a frozen page of sheet music" overcome by the Phonograph

"The phonograph, too, was providentially suited to jazz and the blues. Music that was so improvised and extemporized was not to be captured on a frozen page of sheet music. The one-time performance, with all its spontaneity and improvisation, had a unique appeal which the record caught. Mamie Smith's "Crazy Blues," sometimes called the first best-selling disk of the blues, was recorded in mid-February 1920 and sold for some months at the rate of eight thousand records a week, mainly to the urban Negro market. It set the pace and revealed the market for "race" records."

Daniel J. Boorstin, The Americans: The Democratic Experience, p. 299

Other Phonosheet Music

The Phonograph (1894) (Written, composed and sung by Arthur Lennard) London: Francis, Day & Hunter

Phonograph March (1894) Geo. Voelker, published by Harry Coleman

Phonograph Polka by J.C. Groene & Co., composed by Clarence L. Parfee (c. 1894)

Graphophone Mazurka (1897) E.H. Frey

And When She Turned the Phonograph. Song and Chorus by John Cook, Howley Haviland & Co., London (1897).

Cover with coin-operated phonograph and words of the song coming out of the horn. See "Phonographica, The Early History of Recorded Sound Observed" by Tim Fabrizio and George Paul, I-36 (Courtesy of Tom and Sandi McCarthy).


Love in a Phonograph, Will A. Hellan & William H. Penn, 1904 ("The preliminary introduction for orchestra or piano included an imitation of a phonograph being wound.")

Sonora (The Senor Plays on His Sonora) (1919) words and music by Bide Dudley

They Start the Victrola (and go dancing around the floor (1914) Words by Grant Clark & Music by Maurice Abrahams


The Victrola in Song. The Talking Machine World, September 15, 1914