By       Message Phil Klein       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

Related Topic(s): , Add Tags  Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It


Author 18

Originally Published on OpEdNews

AFTER THE BALL was written in 1892 by Charles K. Harris. That decade is referred to as "the gay 90's," a misnomer if there ever was one! Of course, the word "gay" originally had a quite different connotation from that of today. The fact is, however, a far more accurate description of the 90's might employ the word "lugubrious," for this was a time when all wore their hearts on their sleeves. Sadness was in vogue, and grown men would weep at a hint of that sentiment in a song's lyrics!

I started playing AFTER THE BALL on the piano at a very early age, and when I discovered its reputation as a monster hit, I could never understand how such a short and simple tune could have made such a splash.

And then I learned that all of the songs of the age had two parts to their structure: the verse and the refrain -- often called the "chorus." The songs usually had many verses, each followed by the same refrain.  

Here's the deal: 

The story of a song (usually sad and lengthy) was related in the verses and, each in its turn, was followed by the same refrain. Eureka! I understood! 

The familiar part of AFTER THE BALL (the chorus) basically says:

"Many a heart is broken -- after the ball." So what was there in its verses that made this song sell five million copies? Nothing like that had previously happened!

The first verse tells of a little niece, sitting on her great uncle's lap. She asks, "Uncle, why did you never have babies?"

Verse 1

He tells her his story. As a young man, he takes his sweetheart to a grand, glittering ball. Soon after their arrival, she asks him to fetch a glass of water for her.


After the ball is over, after the break of morn,

After the dancers' leaving, after the stars are gone --

Many a heart is aching, if you could read them all;

Next Page  1  |  2


View Ratings | Rate It


I have spent a long and interesting life involved in music, as a performer (piano,) educator (at every level from elementary to graduate school,) solo pianist, bandleader, composer/songwriter; entertainer, storyteller and humorist. In my final (more...)

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon Share Author on Social Media   Go To Commenting

The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Related Topic(s): , Add Tags

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)


Total Views: 528