Object of Interest: The Serinette

Music instruments of the 18th century – the harp and the piano for genteel young ladies come to mind, the violin for young Arthur Wellesley, flutes and pipes for rustic dances. But is that really all that was popular during that time? Well, I came across an interesting piece (see photo) at the section for musical instruments of Deutsches Museum / Munich. It is a type of mechanical musical instrument consisting of a small barrel organ and some pipes. But what exactly is it – a simple music box? There wasn’t a description added to the instrument, but having the year 1813 written on it, it naturally interested me. I did some research and found out more:

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One Dance, Many Dangers: the Waltz during the Regency Period

May I have the pleasure of this Waltz? It is the most controversial dance of the Regency Period. That the Waltz was considered scandalous certainly isn’t new to you. But there were more reasons than too much intimacy between the dance partners that made people turn up their noses at the Waltz. Among the despisers was e.g. Lord Byron who can hardly be counted among the moralisers of the age. So what was wrong with the Waltz? Continue reading

Six Reasons Why You Should Take Part at a Jane Austen Ball

JA 1 Music fills the ball room. The English chamber orchestra The Pemberley Players strikes up. About 100 persons dressed in historical costumes dance the elegant formations of the opening polonaise, smiling and greeting each other. A glittering ball set in the Regency period begins: We are at the Grand Jane Austen Ball, pretending to have travelled in time back to Regency England.

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Anna and the Mystery of the Triple Minor (Part 1)

In this post:
The truth about longway dances of Jane Austen’s time
How to perform a longway dance in a historically correct way
Tips for depicting a ball in your novel
Preview: Dance instruction and music to come in part 2

Dear Regency Enthusiast

A couple of weeks ago I took part in a workshop in Old English Country Dances*. First-hand experience of the culture and techniques of the regency era can be very enlightening for writers (see my post on Five Methods of Research). Indeed I came across very helpful facts – and a dark secret of contemporary country dance teaching. Fancy that: All the longway dances from Jane Austen’s time are today deliberately taught historically incorrect. Shocking! Why are the dances usually done incorrectly? How were they really performed? And what should you know to when you write a scene with a ball for your novel? Continue reading