This paper provides an overview of electrical pre-loudspeaker sound art in Victorian music halls, focusing on key figures, including one of the first female performers of an electrical musical instrument. Control of “acoustic incidents” separate from the artiste and the employment of artful presentation to create an aesthetic edifice—prerequisites of sound art—are apparent in the entertainments examined here. It is shown that the issues of today's sound art (in reconciling science with art, the coveting of the “active principle,” etc.) were also a concern in these early sound art ventures.
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