The Combination of Digital Communications: Music and the Telegraph in the 19th Century



Telegraph, music history, communication


The invention of the telegraph was an offspring of a newly industrialized world and changing economy. It heralded in the race for speed, mass production, mass communication, and convenience. With this changing world came countless ways in which technology impacted society and other fields of study, including the little-investigated relationship of the telegraph with music and musicians in the nineteenth century. While the influence the telegraph had on society can be seen in the music of Hans Christian Lumbye and father and son duo Johann Strauss I and II, music also had a heavy influence on the development of the telegraph, with music theory and the keyboard’s interface finding their way into early designs. Only by examining this uniquely symbiotic relationship can the very lingual aspect of music and the very music-based history of modern communication be fully appreciated.

Author Biography

Margaret-Mary Owens, Florida State University

Margaret-Mary Owens is a recent graduate of The Florida State University with a BM in Organ Performance. She plans to continue her education starting in the Fall of 2017, and hopes to establish a career in teaching, performing, and publishing research on various topics related to the historic organ.


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