The Euterpeiad

(New York, 1830-1831)

Prepared by Mary Wallace Davidson and Ruth Henderson
Online only (2017)

The Euterpeiad [EUP], a bi-monthly musical journal consisting of twenty-four issues, was published in New York between 15 April 1830 and 1 April 1831. It was one of several early American short-term music periodicals offering valuable insight into the musical life of its time, but is not to be confused with the earlier The Euterpeiad, or Musical Intelligencer, published in Boston, 1820-1823. The New York journal was published by George W. Bleecker, a local bookstore owner, who employed various printers. Charles Dingley, later associated with The Family Minstrel and other similar publications, was editor for the first series; John Thomas edited the next five issues (13-17) and was succeeded by James Boardman for the final seven (18-24).

The issues of the first series commence with a masthead giving the date and issue number. Each of these issues contains between eight and ten pages of prose and poetry texts with sheet music positioned in the center of the issues. In the second series, the masthead and numbering of issues are abandoned and the issues begin with the sheet music compositions. A note about the publisher at the conclusion of a page indicates the last page of each issue. Four more pages are added in the second series. To carry out its purpose as “a paper devoted to the interests of music,” the journal included essays on topics pertaining to music; reviews of books, printed music, concerts, and dramas; biographical sketches; anecdotes; domestic and foreign news; editorials; letters to the editor; and two to four pages of new or original music usually arranged for voice, piano, or organ. A department for fine arts and literature was initiated with the second series.

Special features included a series of four lectures on music history by composer William (Wilhelm) Iucho for the young ladies of the Brooklyn Collegiate Institute, extracts from Thomas Moore’s Life of Lord Byron, and a war of words was waged between anonymous contributors B. and Germanicus in the pages of The Euterpeiad and the New York Mirror. The disagreement was over a biographical sketch and technical analysis of soprano Elizabeth Ferron. Boardman’s travelogue during the time of Napoleon’s exile, “Reminiscences of Interesting Scenes and Periods, or Scraps from the Portfolio of a Travelling Bachelor,” is featured in the last nine issues.

Coverage of musical events in New York includes reviews of concerts by touring musicians; local music societies, such as the New-York Musical Fund Society and the Sacred Music Society; benefit concerts; and opera, including performances of Rossini’s The Barber of Seville (in English), Weber’s Der Freischütz, Boildieu’s John of Paris, and the American premiere of Cinderella, Lacy’s adaptation of Rossini’s music. Occasional reports from other American cities feature reviews of concerts or opera in Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington, and New Orleans. News of musical events in Europe are reprinted from other periodicals, usually the London Harmonicon, or reported by correspondents; London and Paris are most closely followed, but occasional Foreign Musical Reports include news from a number of cities.

The articles contained in The Euterpeiad are written by its editors, various contributors, authors of articles reprinted from other contemporary journals, and writers of letters to the editor. The copy on which the RIPM publication is based was photographed from the collection of the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, Harvard University, and the Library of Congress.