Tui or Parson Bird Prosthemadera Novae Zealandiae. From: 'A history of the birds of New Zealand' by Walter Lawry Buller | OUR Heritage

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Sheet music of World War I


Sheet music relating to WWI (1914-1918)

Hocken Collections' sheet music relating to The Great War of 1914-1918 (WWI) is a select group of (mostly) local songs illustrating the development of attitudes to war. From patriotic, supportive songs that celebrate war efforts, to sombre words and melodies that describe loss and anguish, the music reminds us that war affected all areas of life.

Ideas of nationhood and identity in song further emerged during times of war. Loyalty to the Empire, and national patriotism peaked during wartime; emerging songs both inspired support for the war effort, and emphasised New Zealand's allegiance to their mother country of Great Britain.

New Zealand songs of the First World War have, to an extent, been lost – they are not performed widely, nor have they been recorded for a modern audience. They are sparsely documented, and often, the names of both lyricist and composer have been forgotten - over time the music was discarded or abandoned.

Little information is found on local music around wartime, though early newspapers often had short snippets or advertising about war-era music. Therefore, little information on the sheets is held at Hocken Collections, and often no firm date of publication is available. Regardless, the WWI sheet music collection is significant as it documents the local sentiment of the era.


Various collectors

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Sheet music of Albert H. Light's "In the Firing line." Cover also reads 'Sung with enormous "success" by Abel Rowe and leading vocalists for "The armies of Europe War Film Company."'

Sheet music of Jack O'Connor and Arthur LeClerq's 'Somewhere in France, dear Mother." Front cover also reads: "special revue edition"... featured in Fred Coyne's London revue "Something Doing" on the B. J. Fuller circuit. Seller's stamp reads…

Sheet music of Louis A. Benzoni's 'Back to home, sweet home - and you'.

Sheet music of Jack Caddigan and James A. Brennan's 'Rose of no man's land'

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