Candace Bailey


Throughout the nineteenth century, the education of young gentlewomen almost always included music lessons, with piano lessons being the most frequently recommended. The social context for these young women pianists, “piano girls,” has been described in several modern works, particularly since Arthur Loesser’s seminal work Men, Women, and Pianos: A Social History.1 In the 1980s, Judith Tick made the term “piano girl” a familiar one in musicological studies, and since that time the idea of the piano girl and her role in society has been explored by others.2 Most of these studies describe the social phenomenon of the piano girl, but how she played, whether the repertory differed based on occasion, and the extent of application has yet to be fully considered.