Cylinder of the Month

See also the Cylinders of the Month Archive.

For October & November 1996...

(Because this feature was installed mid-October, and because Smoky Mokes is such a super tune,
this time around we'll have a 'Cylinder of the Month-and-a-Half'.)

This month: If you find yourself a bit down, or otherwise just want an Rx for those times you need a boost, take a dose of Smoky Mokes by the Peerless Orchestra – and administer as often as needed!

Smoky Mokes
Company Edison's National Phonograph Company
Cylinder # 712
Category Orchestra
Title Smoky Mokes
Performed by Peerless Orchestra
Circa 1904
Announcement "Smoky Mokes (Cakewalk) played by the Peerless Orchestra.  Edison record."

Prepare yourself for 2 minutes of unbridled good cheer captured on wax:
Perfectly suited for hopping about (when no one's watching).

The Peerless Orchestra was responsible for many of Edison's snappier recordings.

To hear Smoky Mokes  —

To hear an excerpt   —  
For help playing these sounds, click here.

A little background on cakewalks...

The cakewalk, a lightly syncopated musical style (first published in 1892 and predating Ragtime which was first published in 1897), originated with American slaves parodying high society's manners and dress in "cakewalk contests" where, competing for the prize of a cake, participants would improvise fancy footwork in order to be judged the best and "take the cake".

Although 'rag' and 'cakewalk' were semantically confused during the late 1890s and early 1900s, there seems to be a notable textural differentiation in syncopated piano music of this period. Rag's instrumental texture is characterized by shorter note values, full chord sonorties, changes of register, adoption of broken-chord banjo figurations in the treble, and imaginative bass lines in octaves. . . . Cakewalk, on the other hand, is characterized by a lilting, singable treble line of one or two notes, narrow in range, in relatively longer note values accompanied by simple chords of three notes or less, and usually one-note basses in an interminable oom-pah pattern.

Ragtime. Its History, Composers, and Music. Edited by John E. Hasse, New York: Schirmer Books (Macmillan), 1985.

Smoky Mokes was written by Abe Holzmann in 1899.



To hear other examples of wax cylinders, see the

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