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Title: How To Get the Most Out of Your Victrola

Author: Victor Talking Machine Company

Release Date: December 3, 2016 [EBook #53656]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


Produced by Juliet Sutherland, ellinora and the Online
Distributed Proofreading Team at

Transcriber Note:


How to get the most
out of your


Dog listening to Victrola
“Victrola” is the registered trade mark of
the Victor Talking Machine Company
designating the products of this company only
Victor Talking Machine Company
Camden, N.J., U.S.A.



Period Victrolas are now obtainable in twelve of the principal types, namely: Empire, Chippendale, Louis XV, Louis XVI, Jacobean, Gothic, William and Mary, Adam, Sheraton, Chinese Chippendale, Queen Anne, Japanese Lacquer, and the Hepplewhite shown above. There are also two other variations of each type which are available, but in every case Period Victrolas are made to order only.

How to get the most
out of your


Today, when for the first time you have brought a Victrola into your home, we wish it were possible to show you how much this, the most versatile and so the most satisfying musical instrument in all the world, can be made to entertain, to console and to inspire.

To say that the Victrola offers you, your family and your friends “all the music of all the world”—is to dismiss the subject with an entirely inadequate phrase and so this booklet has been prepared to offer certain suggestions for your greater enjoyment of this, your newest and we verily believe your happiest possession.

Victor records represent a moment of inspired achievement in the life of some great artist. The skill, the art and the “atmosphere” of the Metropolitan Opera House and the concert halls of the world are brought into your home. They are no longer things to be enjoyed only at great intervals on rare occasions—they may become an integral part of your life and they are available at a moment’s notice.

Intimately associated as we are with the development of the Victrola, yet we are fully conscious of the wonder of it and we, no less than our customers, have learned that amid “the daily round of irritating concerns and duties” we have only to turn to the Victrola in order to be once more in love with life and its beautiful, blessed burdens. We believe, utterly, that no matter with what delight you may have anticipated the possession of a Victrola, you will still have fallen far short of complete realization of its possibilities—of the extent to which through the whole scale of human emotions its music may become woven into the fabric of your spiritual life and your physical well-being.

Caruso portrait


The keenest of all impressions are those we receive first, and so we would urge with all earnestness that your first selection of records should contain at least some of the world’s “big” music.

Art is art, no matter what form it may take, and those who are sincere in their musical opinions will no more despise the lighter and more popular music than they will despise good music which is the product of other kinds of feeling and other rhythms. In certain moods and at certain times there is as much “inspiration” to be derived from ragtime as there is from a Beethoven symphony or the thunderous emotions of a great opera. Each produces its effect in its own way and each supplies a very real human need; but because they are so different in the form of their appeal, they need to be treated somewhat differently.

The fact of the matter is that popular music is usually built up on one of a few well-recognized formulæ. It does what you expect it to do. Not consciously, but by association, we have learned to accept certain “patterns” in music as we have learned to expect certain patterns in clothes. Since there is nothing essentially different in any of them, they are easy to learn and so—easy to get tired of.

There is, however, a very real pleasure in “picking up the tune.” For a few days we are quite happy in whistling or singing the new song—but once the new popular song is learned—then what? Your own experience will tell you—and that is why we urge that in your first collection of records you secure a number of the classics or semi-classics with which you are familiar.

Farrar portrait


Familiar! That is precisely the point. Theodore Thomas once said that “popular music was familiar music,” and that is the unassailable truth. A Beethoven symphony may be as popular as “The Rosary” when enough people have become as familiar with it, and yet it may be a classic of the classics.

Parenthetically it might be said at this point that for those who do not sing or play, the Victrola is by far the quickest and simplest medium through which to “pick up” the new music.

To illustrate by a concrete example, “So Long, Letty” or “Tipperary” will keep a family full to the brim with bright, pleasant, joyful emotions for quite some little time. It may be days or weeks. It might even be months, but Clement’s record of the Berceuse from Jocelyn, Elman’s record of the Schubert Ave Maria, or any one of a thousand we might mention, will smooth the wrinkles from your brow, the troubled furrows from your mind, ten years from today as surely as they will now.

When the music of all the world is at your disposal it is almost impossible to refrain from bathing heart and soul and body in it, but remember that to become saturated with anything is to lose the fine edge of enjoyment. With too frequent use the most valuable remedy may lose its healing virtues. Definite, measurable, physical effects may be produced by music, and the gist of the matter is that one should become familiar enough with music to understand and enjoy it, but never familiar enough to induce the loss of its effect. Hear it when you need to hear it, and it will continue to be a thing of joy not for days or weeks, but all through the years.

Galli-Curci portrait


Personal taste varies more perhaps in music than in any other art, but in a general way it follows much the same broad channels, and in any case the Victor Record Catalogue, since it actually does contain almost all the music of the world by the world’s greatest exponents of musical art, is a treasure house of untold satisfaction and gives the widest possible scope for personal selection.

The Victrola is not one instrument, but all of them. It is a voice, a violin, a trombone or a symphony orchestra, according to your will, and in making a selection of records full advantage should be taken of this most extraordinary privilege.

Making up a Victrola program for the entertainment of friends calls for just the same variety and emotional balance as the professional musician strives to introduce into his own programs, but in this, you as your own concert manager, enjoy a degree of latitude wholly beyond the reach of any single artist and any manager, for every branch of music, every type of music and every medium of musical expression may be brought into play by the simple expedient of having a sufficiently large and sufficiently varied collection of records.

In giving operatic programs or in playing operatic records for your own satisfaction the Victrola Book of the Opera will be an added source of pleasure and satisfaction, for it affords a clear, concise understanding of all the well-known operas, both as to music, plot and dramatic action.

Then, too, the pleasure you derive from operatic records may be similarly heightened by listening to the music with a libretto, which gives the foreign words used by the singer and an English translation of them.

Gluck portrait


Those who are unskilled in languages usually experience some difficulty in pronouncing the names of composers, artists, operas and opera characters, and there is an undeniable satisfaction in being able to pronounce such words correctly. This is really much simpler than it seems and the list of such names furnished at the back of the Victor Record Catalogue together with the additional pronunciations given in the Victrola Book of the Opera and given also from time to time in the monthly supplements to the Victor Catalogue will be sufficient for most purposes.

We should like you, our newest customer, to realize that these suggestions we offer for your consideration are not mere hypothetical estimates, but conclusions proven by the sifted experience of years. We present them to you in order that in your home the Victrola shall be all that it may so easily become.

Seated woman listening to Victrola

The Love Duet from Faust

The Love Duet from Faust

The sheer ecstasy of the passion which may bless or may utterly destroy has never been put into music more clearly than it is in this exquisite duet in “Faust,” and the Victrola enables you to hear this music sung by two of the great artists of our generation.

The Opera

The Opera

Grand Opera is unquestionably the most stupendous experience available to the music-lover, just as it is the ultimate ambition of those upon whom has been bestowed vocal talent in high degree.

Splendor of music, magnificence of production, are not the only elements which enter into the making of Grand Opera. The glamour of living romance is woven into it as well. Petrograd, Paris, London—scarcely a great love affair nor a great state intrigue, but some of its scenes have been enacted in the corridors of some one of the world’s great Opera Houses. The passion and pain, the splendor and the treachery of passing generations in many lands form part of the unconscious atmosphere of Grand Opera.

Just as there are some concert pieces with which every concert-goer is assumed to be familiar, so there are certain operas which form a basis for discussion among well-informed music-lovers. These are: Faust, Il Trovatore, Aïda, Mme. Butterfly, La Bohême, Lucia, Rigoletto, Tannhäuser, Lohengrin, La Tosca, Don Giovanni, Cavalleria Rusticana, I Pagliacci, Carmen.

There are many more which constitute part of the regular operatic repertoire, but to have a well-established viewpoint on these is to be capable of passing judgment on the rest. The Victrola, which permits one to repeat some aria, duo, trio, chorus or whatever it may be, at will, affords an infinitely better opportunity to develop a discriminating taste in such matters than can be had by systematic attendance at Grand Opera performances—which obviously is quite impossible for the majority of music-lovers.

McCormack portrait


The keenest enjoyment of Grand Opera music, or for that matter, any other kind of music, comes to those who listen to it with some sort of definite conception as to what it is all about and the methods employed by the composer and the artists in telling the story.

Grand Opera is drama done in music instead of spoken words. In a novel the author makes his characters do their own talking; he also describes what they do and how they are dressed, but more than that, he devotes pages to telling you what they thought. He tells you of the mental struggles that caused them to do or to refrain from doing. It might not be amiss to say that this is substantially what the orchestra does in Grand Opera—and so there is much more to listen to besides the “song” itself.

The song itself and the purport of it must be understood if one is to get the greatest amount of enjoyment out of it. Play “Celeste Aïda,” for instance, to someone who knows nothing of the opera. The sheer melody of it will make an unquestionable appeal, but that appeal is ten times more vivid when one knows who “Heavenly” Aïda is and why her heroic lover bursts into song.

Opera is drama—that must always be borne in mind, and the “test” of good operatic music is that the music shall illustrate accurately, forcefully, beautifully, not the facts, but the mental conditions and the emotions of the spirit which are sought to be portrayed. The facts are taken care of by the action of the plot just as they are on the dramatic stage, and over and above the satisfaction derived from listening to the music there is a delightful and limitless exercise for the intellect in seeing with what amazing subtleties of sound the composer has sketched the spiritual struggles of Thaïs or the Toreador.

Melba portrait


Most people love opera for the “tunes” that are in it and broadly speaking, there are two kinds of tunes used in opera: the dramatic aria, and the bravura aria. A dramatic aria, such as “Un bel di vedremo” from Mme. Butterfly, is a lyric outburst of intensely emotional character, arising naturally from the dramatic situation. A bravura aria is simply a vocal display piece. In the older operas more attention was paid to the singing than to the plot and elaborate display pieces (usually for the coloratura soprano) were invariably included. Compare “Un bel di” with the “Mad Song” from Lucia and you will readily see the difference.

Each individual music-lover will want to make his own selections of operatic records, from the Victor Record Catalog and the Victrola Book of the Opera, which can be obtained from the nearest Victor dealer. In the Victor Record Catalog, which is alphabetically arranged, will be found all the more important selections from practically all the big operas that the world has ever known. These are listed under the name of the opera and specially listed under the name of the artist in the Red Seal (pink sheet) section. In passing, however, we may say that the following are among many operatic numbers which deserve a place of honor in every collection: “Vissi d’arte,” from La Tosca; “Alerte” final trio from Faust; “Soave fanciulla,” from La Bohême; the “Miserere,” from Il Trovatore; “Sextette from Lucia”; “Bel di vedremo,” from Mme. Butterfly; “Vesti la giubba,” from Pagliacci; the Quartette from Rigoletto; the Habanera from Carmen; “Celeste Aïda” from Aïda; “Del tempio al limitar,” from Pearl Fishers.

View of Orchestra

The Symphony Orchestra

If you limited the number of colors that a painter might use on his palette, he might, if he were a great painter, produce masterpieces of art; but give him unlimited scope in the choosing of his pigments and you might reasonably expect the highest possible achievements.

The symphony orchestra as it is constituted today is the most ambitious and the most perfect musical “instrument” in the world. It combines all the existing types of instruments and so can readily achieve all the possible varieties and shades of tone colors. The analogy between the organist and the symphony orchestra conductor is fairly close, and to think of a symphony orchestra, consisting of a hundred or so of the most skillful players obtainable, as a single instrument, is quite permissible.

Here, again, a recent achievement of the Victor laboratories has opened up a vast field of musical satisfaction for the music-lover. Until recently it seemed impossible to make satisfactory records of a complete symphony orchestra. The tones and overtones developed in some measure by every one of the scores of instruments would persist in getting in one another’s way to such an extent that worthy reproductions could not be obtained. We have, however, just recently produced records of complete symphony orchestras, which represent one of the most far-reaching achievements in many years, and as time goes on we shall continue to produce more.

Thousands of honest souls despising cant in any form are continually asking, “How am I to listen to music in order to get the utmost out of it?” and since the symphony orchestra is the highest instrumental development of music, and consequently the most complex, it is in listening to the symphony orchestra that this need is most acute.

When all the splendid pageantry of opera is spread before one’s eyes, there are plenty of clues, and the emotional struggles of even fictitious humans can never be entirely beyond our ken. A symphony, however, has no recognizable background of creatures made in our own image and laboring under our own frailties, so necessarily it must be listened to in a more impersonal way.

A symphony has form and design and “color,” just as has a painting. The essential difference between them as works of art is that the picture “stands still” while you look at it, whereas the symphony does not. An even closer simile would be the moving picture, for in that just as in the symphony, you must know and remember what has gone before in order to realize the significance of what comes in the middle or at the end. At the “movies” you are dependent upon your eyes—at the symphony concert you must depend upon your ears.

The form of the symphony has been pretty thoroughly established. It consists of four movements. The first an allegro, or quick and energetic movement, the beginning of a psychological “picture”; the second, an andante, or slow movement which may represent hopes, fears, aspirations; a scherzo, or brisk, exhilarating movement of merriment, madness or strife; and a finale, the tragic or triumphant outcome.

short bar of music for theme of Beethoven C Minor Symphony


The theme of the entire Beethoven C Minor Symphony consists of three short notes of the same pitch and one longer note a little lower in pitch, and the “design” of that symphony is the manner in which this same theme is built up and elaborated by repetition in different keys, rhythms and speeds, and also in the manner in which it is contrasted with other themes.

Few symphonies are as logically constructed as the C Minor of Beethoven, and as a rule new themes are chosen for each movement. Each movement is complete in itself, but sympathetically related to the others. The great thing in listening to a symphony movement is to listen for repetitions of the chief themes or melodies. These themes are often greatly changed in various ways in the course of a movement, as it is part of the composer’s task to get variety of treatment with unity of idea. But he invariably contrives to give due prominence to his chief themes, and half the joy of listening to a symphony lies in recognizing the principal themes as they emerge from the mass of sound, clothed perhaps in new harmonies, or new instrumental effects.

As to “color”—we are told that all the colors we see are mere vibration. We realize easily enough that music is vibration, and it doesn’t require any very great stretch of the imagination to see the difference in (tone) color between the violin and the piccolo.

When you can recognize these various elements in their varied forms and recognize the different “voices” of the orchestra, you will have learned how the musical “fans” derive the maximum of mental satisfaction from the symphony and for the reason that any obscure passage may be repeated as often as necessary it is obvious that the Victrola must be of great assistance in developing a genuine sense of discrimination.

Among the Symphony Orchestra records listed in the Victor Catalogue, we suggest that you make a point of hearing the Lohengrin Prelude, the Tschaikowsky Symphony in F Minor, the Brahms Hungarian Dances, the Surprise Symphony, the Poet and Peasant Overture, the Mozart G Minor Symphony and the “Invitation to the Waltz.”

Band Music

Band Music

Strange—but in all the varied development of music and musical instruments nothing quite touches our primeval spirit like the beating of the drum. Rhythm—it was the first music and it will be a dominant factor in the last, no matter how we may dress it up or refine it to suit our “civilized” ears.

The small boy deaf to any other musical appeal, races down the street at the first blare of a band. In some measure we are all children to the last, and so it is that the music of the band sets our hearts and feet to beating out its gallant measures. Moreover such music produces definite measurable effects on the body, and it is well known that men march further and with less fatigue to the music of a band than they can without it.

In composition the band is not far removed from the orchestra, except that woodwind instruments, such as flutes and clarinets, take the place of strings, but the result is that the band in its own field of music more particularly stimulates activities of the body where the symphony orchestra makes a stronger appeal to mental activity.

There are hundreds of records of band music made by the most famous bands in the world, which will be found in the Victor Record Catalogue under “Bands.” But as a working nucleus, the following selection of double-faced records may be welcome to those who are beginning to form a collection: Aïda Grand March and Rondo Capriccioso, Vessella’s Band; Lights Out and Washington Post, Victor Military Band; Stars and Stripes Forever and Fairest of the Fair, Sousa’s Band; Chopin’s Funeral March and Cujus Animam, Pryor’s Band; Marsovia Waltz and Amina, United States Marine Band and Pryor’s Band.

Chamber Music

When you hear a violin solo played with lots of “double stopping” you find that the air develops a new richness of tone color, for the violinist is playing the “air” notes and certain other harmony notes at the same time. This is substantially what happens in the quartettes and trios. One instrument or voice plays or sings the air while the others play or sing harmony parts, and in the smaller groups of instruments, where there are only three or four “parts,” it is easier to follow the work of each instrument and consequently it is easier to get the musical “pattern” of the selection.

The basis of chamber music is the string quartette, comprising two violins, viola and ’cello. These instruments are, of course, alike in character, but each has its own peculiar quality of tone. Other effective combinations are violin, ’cello and piano; flute, violin, ’cello and piano; and additional instruments heard with the string quartette.

It would be a mistake, however, to think of the string quartette as being elementary—for it is one of the richest and most satisfying branches of musical art.

A special interest attaches to all the smaller combinations of strings, and the Victor Catalogue contains many selections by such small combinations, among which the following are perhaps worthy of special attention: The Mendelssohn Canzonetta, the Quartette in G Major, the Minuet of Boccherini and Tschaikowsky’s “Andante Cantabile.”

String quartet performing

Side Portrait of man

Piano Music

The piano is a solo instrument that provides accompaniment for other instruments and for itself, and it is so exceedingly successful in this respect that it must be regarded as the basis of things musical. To the composer, the chorus master, the vocal teacher, as well as to the pianist, the modern piano is a necessity, because it is the one instrument on which all the harmony parts can be elaborated with comparative ease.

Apart from its use as an accompanying instrument, the piano is one of the most satisfactory of solo instruments. It is a complete orchestra in itself. A greater volume of solo music has been composed expressly for the piano than for any other instrument. Schumann, Liszt and especially Chopin, for instance, wrote music for the piano which sounds as well on no other instrument and so it is with great pleasure that we offer truly worthy piano records, thus opening up a vast field of new musical delight.

The tones played by the piano are produced by a hammer striking a string. They therefore develop their greatest volume at the moment the strings are struck, and immediately begin to diminish. They can be sustained to some slight extent only—as compared with instruments that are played with a bow. Among piano records of special interest are the following by that “maestro” among pianists—Paderewski: The Nocturne in F Sharp Major, the Polonaise Militaire, the Etude in G Flat, his own Minuet and the Cracovienne Fantastique, as well as the “Seguidilla” and Waltz Etude in D Flat by Cortot.

Violin Music

Band Music

There is one very marked physical difference between the violin group of instruments and all others—with one exception which is negligible for the moment—and that is that the tone and the pitch are controlled wholly by the player.

In other instruments there are keys, pedals, frets or some other means of assisting the player to maintain the pitch. The violin has a plain fingerboard, strings, a bow and—the fingers of the violinist. What kind of tone will you get out of it? Will your tone be true to the pitch? That depends on you. And because of these things the music of the violins is more intimate, more personal than that of any other instrument.

Another interesting fact concerning the violin is that while almost all other instruments have been improved upon, the violin alone has undergone no change and no improvement since Stradivarius put by the last violin he was to make. That was about 1737. And so the violin may be regarded as the one accomplishment of human craftsmanship that has reached perfection.

Perhaps it is because of these things that violin music occupies a quite unique place in human experience. There is nothing more deeply thrilling than the violin’s low-pitched “G” string and nothing quite so light-hearted and fairy-like as the “E” string. With such a range from grave to gay there is never a human mood nor emotion but what the violin can reach and express it more keenly than any other single instrument—and in the form in which we have it today it has been the sharer of our joys and sorrows for more than two hundred years.

Consciously or unconsciously we feel the need of some standard of comparison, some sort of yardstick by which we may measure human achievements, and this seems to be especially so in all instrumental music.

No one would have any very serious difficulty in telling why he found enjoyment or dissatisfaction in the recitation of a poem, but it is just as easy to pass judgment on the playing of a violin solo. The enunciation of the words and their pronunciation—the intelligible or muddled treatment of the phrases, the use of pauses, the pitch of the voice and its dramatic shading would all have something to do with your opinion of a recitation, and those are much the same standards by which the technical and interpretative skill of the violinist are to be determined. The performance is good or bad, depending upon how well or ill it meets much the same requirements that you would impose upon the “reader” of the recitation. It is easier in the case of the poem, because we all get a good deal of practical experience in the delivery of words, whereas most of us have had no experience in the delivery of musical tones.

To recognize these various effects and to appreciate the influence they have on the interpretation of the music, is to enjoy an added pleasure in the world’s best violin music, practically all of which will be found in the Victor Record Catalogue by world-famous artists.

If the Victrola, reproducing the music of the violin in all its exquisite beauty, could do no more than that, it would justify its existence by that one service alone; but shut your eyes and the Victrola becomes whatever instrument you may wish it to be, including the most wonderful of all—the human voice.

Whatever other records you may select, we feel very sure you will find untold satisfaction in any of the following. The Caprice Viennois, the Schubert Ave Maria, the Scherzo Tarantella, the Humoresque, the Mendelssohn Concerto, the Nocturne in E Flat and Moszkowski’s “Guitarre.”

Sacred Music

Woman listening to organist playing

In the Dark Ages, when only might was right, it was the church that kept music alive. And today humanity responds more universally, perhaps, to the appeal of “the good old hymns” than to any other one type of music.

No one will seriously deny that music is a necessary element in our lives when it can produce in the same listener the highest spiritual exaltation as well as the most frivolous gaiety. The inspiration to strive for an ideal—the will to be better than we really are—these things come to us most readily through music and afford an adequate refuge from the world, the flesh and the devil—the triad which gives battle in every heart.

Sacred music in all its many forms occupies a quite special position and carries a quite special significance. In all of it there is the same basic effect on the mind and one must be cold as ice not to feel the thrill of the full choir, the magnificent choruses of oratorio.

All of these things are part of what the Victrola brings into your home and into your life. Reverence or the brimming over of one’s faith does not manifest itself only under specially consecrated roofs, and in these exalted moments it is good to know that the Victrola brings to you not only the music of the church but the music of all faiths.

It would be exceedingly difficult to suggest records of hymn tunes which would be of equal interest to everybody, but the Gluck and Homer Duets, the Crucifix, the Palms, Élégie, the Angel’s Serenade, the Mascagni Ave Maria and the record of Come, All Ye Faithful, in which chimes are used, are among those which make a very general appeal.

Concert Songs

Woman holding flowers standing by piano

There are those who will tell you that the highest achievement of vocal art is the concert song, and much may be said in justification of such a statement. Certainly, on the concert stage, art is shorn of accessories. There are no borrowed effects and no borrowed interests. The composer, the accompanist and the soloist stand alone at the bar of public opinion and it would seem quite reasonable to suppose that only a consistent excellence on the part of all three would be sufficient to win the world’s acclaim.

One thing is very certain, that the concert song, like the violin solo, is a complete musical composition in itself. One needs to know no “context” for there is none, and so none of its effect is lost. However that may be, opera and the symphony are available to only those who live in the big cities or near enough so that frequent visits are possible, and so it happens that for the majority of us a concert is about the biggest musical experience we can attain. For that reason, if for no other, concert songs mean more to the great majority than does any other form of music.

One’s enjoyment of any concert can be vastly increased by a little preliminary knowledge of the forthcoming program gained by means of the Victrola and while it would be quite impossible to offer a list of all the concert songs which are available in the form of Victor records, the following will unquestionably satisfy the most discriminating taste: “Voce di primavera,” “Ah, Moon of My Delight,” “Leggiero invisible” (Bolero), “A la Luz de la Luna,” “Oh, That We Two Were Maying,” the Lullaby from Jocelyn, “Caro mio ben,” “Le Nil” and “The Cry of Rachel.”

Popular Music

Group gathered around piano

Simple, catchy tunes have always caught the public fancy and always will, for the reason that they supply a perfectly natural human need.

That such music should soon lose its charm doesn’t matter much, for the charm is real enough while it lasts. Beauty is only skin deep, so they say; to which one may answer that that is plenty deep enough, and music is only one of Beauty’s many forms. When a piece of music has smoothed out a frown or brought a touch of inspiration into grey lives, it has justified its existence, whether it be a popular song or a symphony.

The Broadway hit, the tingling choruses and solos of the latest musical comedy are as accessible to the Victor owner as they are to the residents of a metropolis and—better yet, they may be enjoyed without the fatigues involved in theatre-going.

Another factor of Victor popular music is that you can get the latest song or dance while it is all the vogue. Each month, each week, each day a vast amount of “popular” music is published which will never become popular, but is thrust willy-nilly on a patient public. Out of this mass the Victor Company selects only the best. The plainsman in Texas therefore can get the music of the moment at the moment just as readily as the office man on Broadway.

Dance Music

Couple dancing

The impulse to dance is spontaneous. It is a manifestation of the joy o’ life that needs some more vigorous means of expression than is provided by speech. To have to wait two weeks for a formal dancing party is to lose that fine edge of impulse, and that is why the Victrola renders an otherwise unobtainable service to the dancers.

No need to rent a hall, engage an orchestra and send out invitations. You may dance when the inspiration seizes you. You may dance the kind of dances that the mood of the moment may suggest for as long a time or as short a time as you may wish.

And—here as in every other branch of musical art, the Victrola offers you the best.

Beside the dancers themselves, there are two other vital factors to be considered—the music and the floor—and you know that your music is right when it is provided by the Victrola. If you happen to live in a fairly large town it is easy enough, of course, to engage an orchestra (at considerable expense and for stated times) which will furnish entirely satisfactory music; but—the Victrola? It gives you the best dance music by the most accomplished orchestras and bands and, when the music is good enough, people can and will dance on a rubber mat or in a city street.

Three or four friends call of a winter evening—nothing simpler than to roll back the rugs and dance—and certainly nothing more beneficial from the mental or physical viewpoints.

Then, too, you may dance to the music of the same orchestra as you would if you lived in the gayest of metropolitan cities.

The Lesser Instruments

Man playing accordion
Woman playing guitar

Human nature is a moody thing—breaking out unexpectedly in unexpected ways, and in an evening’s program it is quite likely that special interest may center on an oboe solo or some other such musical hors d’oeuvre. There are times when one may respond quite vividly to a concertina.

This side of music is also taken care of in the Victor Catalogue. There is, we believe, not one instrument in general use anywhere in the Western world which may not be heard by means of the Victrola, in solos or in small combinations. There are cornet records, trombone, harp, mandolin, guitar, banjo, xylophone, chimes, balalaika, Hawaiian guitars, marimba, zither, cembalom and others, including even the street piano, affording solos in infinite variety and a few such records are highly acceptable additions to any collection.

It is on just such instruments as these that the composer depends for the introducing of special effects. The oboe is curiously suggestive of the East, as castanets are of Spain and the Latin Americas, and when one’s fancy happens to run in that direction such records may easily become sources of untold satisfaction.

All musical composition simmers down to a question of saying the same thing in as many different and interesting ways as possible, and something of this applies to the building up of an evening’s program. A record of Hawaiian guitars included in a program of better music is apt to be quite fascinating and serves to emphasize the tremendous versatility of the Victrola.

How to get the Best Results

Just as there are certain best conditions for all instruments and for the voice, so too there are certain best conditions for the Victrola, and the search for those best conditions will be a source of much pleasurable experimentation. The acoustic properties of no two rooms are exactly alike. They depend on the size and shape of the room, the height of the ceilings and the character of the furnishings, but the Victor system of changeable needles and tone modifying doors afford all the necessary latitude needed to produce the most satisfactory results in any home.

We would strongly recommend that you try all the varieties of Victor Tungs-tone Styli and steel needles with the modifying doors at certain chosen apertures and in the various available rooms until you find the combinations giving the most satisfying results.

In this connection it might be well to point out that a full tone Tungs-tone stylus or needle is particularly suited for a large music-room and that when the Victrola is to be used in a small room or even a room which is comparatively small, the soft tone Tungs-tone stylus or needle very frequently will give better results. It sometimes happens that a particularly good effect is secured by placing the Victrola in a room adjoining the one in which the listener sits, and using a full tone Tungs-tone stylus needle.

The operation of a Victrola is exceedingly simple, but the few prescribed rules should be followed literally until they become a fixed habit.

In starting a record, release the brake and allow the turntable to make several revolutions to attain its full maximum speed. Then take the circumference of the soundbox between the thumb and two first fingers of the right hand and lower gently until the reproducing point comes, gently, into contact with the smooth, shiny rim at the circumference of the record. That is the right way and the only right way to start a record.

In stopping the record without the use of the automatic brake, the soundbox should be lifted off and doubled back until it lies on the taper tone arm or other rest provided for it.


The dealer from whom you purchased your Victrola will see that it is properly assembled and that the speed of the turntable is set at 78 revolutions per minute. That is the speed at which all Victor records should be played, and we most strongly advise that the speed regulator be not tampered with under any circumstances, except when it may be necessary to reset the regulator in order that the turntable shall actually turn at 78 revolutions when the soundbox is not in contact with the record.

From time to time it may be necessary to test the speed of the turntable to see that there is no variation from the designated speed of 78 revolutions. This may be done by putting a record on the turntable and inserting a small piece of paper between the record and the turntable so that a portion of the paper protrudes. The actual number of revolutions per minute may then be counted by holding a watch close enough to the turntable so that the eyes may have a simultaneous vision of the paper “marker” and the face of the watch.


Be sure you keep your records in the albums provided for them, for dust or dirt should not be permitted to accumulate in the fine spiral groove which contains the sound wave impressions. Records should be dusted off with a brush or soft rag before and after playing. If this is done systematically and the records kept under cover they will need no other attention, even over a period of many years.


Use Victrola needles or Victrola Tungs-tone Styli. These products are the result of many years’ experience and thousands of dollars’ worth of experimentation. They are built to conform to the exact requirements of our records, which obviously will be better understood by us than by any one else.

A permanent point can be permanent only because it is too hard to wear—in which case it must inevitably wear the records. The Victor system of changeable needles permits you to replace a worn stylus or change a needle instantly with the result that perfect reproduction can be secured at all times without serious wear on your records. The changeable needle system does more than that, for it enables you to use the same discretion in playing records as the artist who made the record would himself use if he knew in just what kind of room he would be required to play.


Keep your records indexed. It is a very small matter, and once the habit is formed it is easy to find the record you want the moment you want it.

Victrola Record Albums consist of ten record envelopes, numbered 1 to 10 and bound into book form. Each album bears a letter of the alphabet. Inside its cover is a printed form to index its contents. Enter here the name of each record and its artists, and the envelope number. You should use, in addition, your Victor Index Book as a “directory” of all your records. If you enter in the Index Book the names of each record and its artists, the letter of the album and the envelope number, it will be an easy matter to turn directly to any record needed.

It will be seen that there are two extensions of the gold circle at the circumference of Victor record labels. On these the album and album envelope should be marked. The return of each record to its proper album and proper envelope is thus assured.


The first essential in the arrangement of any program is—variety. Following a big dramatic number there should be an emotional let down, although obviously it should not be so great as to be incongruous. It is best to go from a violin composition to a song or from a big concerted number like the Sextette from Lucia to some quieting composition for string quartette.

Another important point is that you have music of all possible tone colors to choose from. There are solos by voices of all kinds, but there are also solos by violins, ’cellos, trombones, cornets, flutes, saxophones, harps, xylophones, chimes—in fact, as we have said, solos by every known instrument and other numbers by all the known combinations of instruments are available to the Victrola owner.

With the Victor Catalogue to draw on, one might easily give a more or less formal concert program every night for years without exhausting the possibilities and without any sense of sameness.


The final choice of records must always be left to the individual buyer. We have already pointed out that personal taste differs widely in music, but with the idea of giving you all the assistance possible in a general way, we have compiled a few special lists. The nearest Victor dealer will be glad to give you every assistance in building up your own library of records, and play any records you may wish to hear without obligation.

Man and woman listening to music

Selected Lists of Records

For convenience sake these lists have been prepared with a view to certain specified investments. There are lists figuring approximately $10.00, $15.00, $25.00 and $50.00. Each one may be varied slightly at the discretion of the customer, other selections of similar value being chosen from the Victor Catalogue.


  List Price
Poet and Peasant Overture—Part I
Victor Concert Orchestra
35509 12 $1.35
Poet and Peasant Overture—Part II
Victor Concert Orchestra
’A Vucchella (D’Annunzio-Tosti)
In Italian
Enrico Caruso
87307 10 1.00
Gems from “The Mikado”—Part I (Sullivan) 35551 12 1.35
Gems from “The Mikado”—Part II
Victor Light Opera Company
Roamin’ in the Gloamin’ (Lauder)
Harry Lauder
70061 12 1.25
Cross Bow, The (From “Robin Hood”) (de Koven)
Imperial Quartet
17873 10 .85
Way Down Yonder in the Cornfield
Imperial Quartet
Semper Fidelis March (Sousa)
Sousa’s Band
16190 10 .85
Hands Across the Sea March (Sousa)
Sousa’s Band
Paraphrase on Minuet (Paderewski)
64709 10 1.00
Dinorah—Ombra leggiera (Shadow Song)
74532 12 1.50
Hungarian Dance No. 5 (Brahms)
Philadelphia Orchestra
64752 10 1.00


Can be compiled by adding the following to the previous $10.00 list
Forget-Me-Not—Intermezzo (Macbeth)
Venetian Trio
17951 10 $0.85
To You—Waltz Serenade (Czibulka)
Venetian Trio
Bonnie Wee Thing (Burns-Lehmann)
John McCormack
64427 10 1.00
Valse Bluette (Drigo)
Jascha Heifetz
64758 10 1.00
Oh, That We Two Were Maying (Nevin)
87525 10 1.50
Secret, Le—Intermezzo (Gautier)
Vessella’s Italian Band
17689 10 .85
Sylvia Ballet (Valse Lento) (Delibes)
Victor Concert Orchestra


Can be compiled by adding the following to the previous $15.00 list
Gems from “In a Persian Garden”—Part I
Victor Opera Company
35441 12 $1.35
Gems from “In a Persian Garden”—Part II
Victor Opera Company
Figlia del Reggimento (Daughter of the Regiment) “To Be Near Her”
In Italian
John McCormack
74221 12 1.50
Serenade (Tosti)
In Italian
Alma Gluck
64399 10 1.00
Capricietto (Mendelssohn-Burmester)
Mischa Elman
64204 10 1.00
Holy, Holy, Holy! (Heber-Dykes)
Trinity Choir
16966 10 .85
Holy Ghost, with Light Divine
Trinity Choir
Midsummer Night’s Dream—Scherzo
Philadelphia Orchestra
74560 12 1.50
Bohême—Racconto di Rodolfo
In Italian
Enrico Caruso
88002 12 1.50
Aïda—Grand March (Verdi)
Vessella’s Band
35265 12 1.35
Rondo Capriccioso (Mendelssohn)
Vessella’s Italian Band


Can be compiled by adding the following to the previous $25.00 list
American Fantasie—Part I
Herbert’s Orchestra
55093 12 $1.50
American Fantasie—Part II
Herbert’s Orchestra
Angel’s Serenade (Braga)
Gluck and Zimbalist
89092 12 2.00
Dream Faces (Hutchinson)
Clarence Whitehill
74451 12 1.50
Viking Song (There Are Steel Ships Wanted)
Emilio de Gogorza
64786 10 1.00
Merry Wives of Windsor Overture
New Symphony Orchestra
35270 12 1.35
Jewels of the Madonna—Intermezzo
Victor Concert Orchestra
Hawaiian Waltz Medley Guitars
Lua and Kaili
17701 10 .85
Kilima Waltz Hawaiian Guitars
Lua and Kaili
Cupid’s Arrow (Eno)
Fred Van Eps
16855 10 .85
Polish Dance No. 1 (Scharwenka)
Wm. H. Reitz
Evening Chimes (Heins)
Violin-Flute-Harp, with Bells
Neapolitan Trio
17523 10 .85
Woodland Echoes (Wyman)
Neapolitan Trio
Oh, Dry Those Tears (Del Riego)
Sophie Braslau
74456 12 1.50
Si vous l’aviez compris—Melodie (Denza)
In French
89084 12 2.00
Tosca—Vissi d’arte (Love and Music)
In Italian
Geraldine Farrar
88192 12 1.50
Indian Lament (Dvořák-Kreisler)
Fritz Kreisler
74387 12 1.50
Canzonetta (from String Quartet in E Flat) (Mendelssohn)
Flonzaley Quartet
64784 10 1.00
Lombardi—Qual volutta
In Italian
Alda, Caruso and Journet
95211 12 2.50
Faust—Salut, demeure (All Hail, Thou Dwelling Lowly)
In French
Giovanni Martinelli
74573 12 1.50
Madama Butterfly—O quanti occhi fisi (Oh Kindly Heavens)
In Italian
89017 12 2.00
Lucia Sextette (Donizetti)
Galli-Curci, Egener, Caruso, de Luca, Journet, Bada
95212 12 2.50
People sitting and listening to music

The Victor Record Catalog A Book that Every Music Lover Will Want

It has required twenty-five years of constant research, of steady application, of tireless effort, and the expenditure of more than eleven million dollars to place this Victor Record Catalogue in your hands.

It contains a special Red Seal Section in which are listed records by the world’s most famous artists. There are brief sketches of the most popular operas and illustrations of scenes from opera. There are also biographies of prominent composers and artists, and within its covers will be found practically all the music of the world by the world’s greatest singers and by every kind of musical organization. We furnish these catalogues free to dealers in Victor products so that on request they may be furnished free to you. So be sure you ask your dealer for a copy.

Victor Talking Machine Company, Camden, N. J., U. S. A., Printed January, 1920
4339 TTXA 1-20

End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of How To Get the Most Out of Your
Victrola, by Victor Talking Machine Company


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