Eldon House Sheet Music

A sheet of handwritten music.
Music from the Eldon House collection

Country of Origin: Canada
Year: ca. 1860-1859
Materials: Paper and Ink 

A collection of over 40 hand-inscribed songs of sheet music was discovered in the Eldon House collection and digitized through 2014. The music dates from the 1830s through 1850s and has been housed in a large hard cover folio. The collection is attributed to Charlotte and Eliza Harris, both of whom were musically inclined.

Each piece of sheet music has been written by-hand.  This detail in itself is of interest: certainly “printed” sheet music was produced and available in pre-confederation Upper Canada. The identity of who transcribed the pieces in the Harris Collection is undetermined, yet at times, an indication is given on the front-piece.  Several songs have an inscription of who “gave” the song to the Harris women and in what year the gift took place. Several possibilities of the transcriptions themselves exist: they may have been inscribed by the Harris women, having borrowed originals from friends and acquaintances; or the transcriptions may have been bought locally in London from music professionals – piano tuners and instrument dealers often stocked a large variety of imported scores and sheet music to meet the appetite for Parlour Music.