Chapter

Invisible Instruments

John Graziano

in American Orchestras in the Nineteenth Century

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780226769769
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226769776 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226769776.003.0005
Invisible Instruments

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New York featured no fewer than seven theaters in which dramas and comedies were conducted, and almost all of them employed an orchestra. Orchestra leaders normally contracted to stay at one theater for a season, or for multiple seasons, although frequently moved to a different house at the end of a season. It is observed that when a better-paying job was offered, players were allowed to opt out of their contracted performances in the theaters. Theater orchestras, a significant component in the production of plays, held together scene changes and ends of acts, and underscored dialogue as needed. Until 1890s, pit musicians were still underpaid. Theater musicians were looked on with disdain by many in the entertainment profession.

Keywords: theater orchestras; New York; plays; pit musicians; theater musicians

Chapter.  9462 words. 

Subjects: American Music

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