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Music to Drink Your Blood By

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"The First Polka," with fangs from the Public Domain. Prints and Photographs Division.

Are you a night person? Do garlic cloves make you break out, or worse?  Does Team Edward mean anything to you? If your answer to any or all of these questions is yes, you may enjoy “Vampire Polka,” by a composer known only as “Four-Eyes.”  Whatever societal anxieties may be behind the twenty-first century thirst for vampire stories, the thirst is indeed timeless: this blood-curdling piece for piano was published in 1850. From Music for the nation: American sheet music, 1820-1860 in American Memory, which also offers the similarly themed “Stride la vampa (Forth stalks the vampire),” H. Millard’s arrangement of an aria from Giuseppe Verdi’s Il  Trovatore.

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