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Sheet Music of the Week: Great Mustaches of the Old Country Edition

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Detail from "The German cake walk, " by Paul Rubens. New York: Sol Bloom, 1903.

In the Muse presumes that the stereotyped Germans pictured in this illustration to Paul Rubens’ composition, “The German cake walk”  are simply performing the titular dance. But the action in this scene is potentially ambiguous. Is the mustachioed man running away from an amorous Fraulein, or simply leading her in an impromptu march? Why does this remind me of the kind of television graphic that announces “We are having technical difficulties?” And isn’t it interesting that the composer of this turn-of-the-century diversion shares a name with star of stage and screen Pee-wee Herman? Cake walk scholars will find a delightful illustration in the Prints and Photographs Online catalog of a cat and dog performing a cake walk of undetermined nationality. Mustache scholars should revisit our previous journeys into the Great Mustaches of the Music Division.


  1. Always appreciative of the GMLOC

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