Friday, May 10, 2013

Unusual Artifacts: Sheet Music for The Punch & Judy Man

Sheet Music for "The Punch & Judy Man"
The Victoria & Albert Museum

Rooty Tooty, Rooty Tooty, blame me if you can. 

I'm a broken-hearted, Rooty Tooty, Punch and Judy Man.

Here, we see the illustrated sheet music cover for the song, “The Punch & Judy Man” as sung by George Leybourne and written and composed by R. Coote. This music was published in London by H. D'Alcorn & Co. in the late Nineteenth Century.  

Mr. Punch, by this time, had long been a part of the British art world and had already lent his name to several popular songs.

The cover illustration by Alfred Concanen (1835 - 1886) depicts a fracas at a Punch & Judy show wherein the “Professor” seems to have bested another man who, I assume, started the imbroglio.
  Judy lies on the ground next to the Dog Toby who barks at the fisticuffs.  Mr. Punch and Joey the Clown have been tossed into the air during the melee, but neither seems to mind. 

The caption on the image references the traditional sound made by Mr. Punch, "rooty tooty"--a noise developed in the Seventeenth Century by Punch and Judy Professors who used a device called a "swazzle" (still in use today, and, I can attest, a difficult instrument to learn).  The sound was meant to be instantly recognizable and serve to attract audiences.

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