Library and Archives Canada
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The Virtual Gramophone
Canadian Historical Sound Recordings


First World War Era

The First World War was a turning point in Canadian history. It was also an important era in the development of the music and recording industries in Canada. The Great War saw an outpouring of patriotic songs and sentimental ballads urging support for soldiers, sailors, and airmen, combined with heart-felt concern for the families waiting on the home front. This era also marked the beginning of great changes in popular music, with the rise of vaudeville, the song-writing of Tin Pan Alley, the start of the dance-band craze, and the rise of jazz. Canadian singers and songwriters were leaders of this musical generation.

Visitors to the Virtual Gramophone website can consult 1500 cataloguing records in the database, and 350 digitally-restored audio recordings, documenting recordings featuring Canadian composers and performers released during the Great War. In addition there are a series of articles and images explaining the period and the music, as well as biographical sketches of the major Canadian musical personalities. Of particular note is the extensive coverage for Canada's premier entertainment troupe of that era, the Dumbells.

About the Music of the First World War Era

Biographies of First World War Era Musicians