|Diane's Antique Book Collection|
Invitations to sing or play.- Never exhibit any anxiety to sing or to play. You may have a fine voice, have a brilliant instrumental execution, but your friends may by possibility neither admire nor appreciate either.
If you intend to sing, do not affect to refuse when asked, but at once accede. If you are a good singer, your prompt compliance will add to the pleasure of your friends, and to their regard; if you are not, the desire to amuse will have been evinced, and will be appreciated.
Kind of songs and style of singing.- Do not sing songs descriptive of masculine passion or sentiment; there is an abundance of superior songs for both sexes.
If you are singing second, do not drag on, nor, as it were, tread upon the heels of your prima; if you do not regard your friend’s feelings, have mercy on your own reputation, for nine or ten in every party will think you in the wrong, and those who know you are singing in correct time will believe you ill-natured, or not sufficiently mistress of the song to wait upon your friend.
If playing an accompaniment to a singer, do not forget that your instrument is intended to aid, not to interrupt; that is, to be subordinate to the song.
If nature has not given you a voice, do not attempt to sing, unless you have sufficient taste, knowledge, and judgment, to cover its defects by an accompaniment.
When at concerts, or private parties where music is being performed, never converse, no matter how anxious you may be to do so, or how many persons you may see doing so; and refrain from beating time, humming the airs, applauding, or making ridiculous gestures of admiration.
Thornwell, Emily, THE LADY’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE ETIQUETTE, New York, Belford, Clarke & Company, 1884