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The Type-Writer’s Lully-Bye, by office boy

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Click image to view larger file. “The Type-Writer’s Lully-Bye”, from The Illustrated Phonographic World, September 1894.


This may well be the earliest typewriter composition, published in The Illustrated Phonographic World, September 1894. The melody is a bit odd. First, the key signature is not properly notated (the flat is in the wrong place), and, second, the tune resolves in a strange place (eighth note, E). The notation for the fifth note is confusing — I’m guessing it’s an A — and the accidentals give the tune an eerie sound. As for the meter: Moonlight Sonata? — that would be painfully slow.

One other detail, the lyrics don’t match the tune at all. Try singing it.

Is “The Type-Writer’s Lully-Bye” a joke? My impression is that the whole affair is humorous, the effort of a well-meaning “office boy,” whose typing skills perhaps outmatch his compositional skills. After all, how is one to sing, “With a, q, w, e, and then r, t,/ And y, u, i, o, p;”? — I have no idea. That line is hard to say, let alone sing.

The ornamentation around the tune — typewriter keystrokes — is cute, so I will call this tune the “QWERTY song.”

The lyrics are thoughtful:

© 2018, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

{ 1 comment… add one }
  • Bill M December 20, 2018, 11:16 am

    No relation to the Moonlight Sonata that I can tell. The composition is quite confusing as no standard method of composition exists that I can see, at least as to any music I’ve read, played, or even attempted to arrange. I hope the writer was better at typing than music.

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