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Today in Music History
A Daily Look at Music History For Violin Students
A Look at What Happened on Today's Date
Long, Long Ago . . . Or Maybe Just Last Year
TODAY IS
February 21
Can You Guess?
We read that Karl King bought a cornet.  Most people don't know the difference between the cornet and the trumpet.  One is "mellow" whereas the other is "bright" and "piercing." Can You Guess which is which?

Look at the Bottom of the Page for the Answer
.

They Look An Awful Lot Alike, Don't They?
What Else
Happened
Today?
1727 - Premiere of J. S. Bach's Sacred Cantata No. 52,  Ich habe genug.

1893
- Andres Segovia, Spanish guitarist and teacher, was born.

1923
- Zvi Zeitlin, US violinist and teacher, was born.

1941 - Debut of the New York City Opera. They performed Puccini's Tosca, featuring American singing sensation Dusolina Giannini in the title.

1961
- NYC debuts of Marilyn Horne and Joan Sutherland at Town Hall in a concert performance of Bellini's Beatrice di Tenda for the American Opera Society.

2002
- Premiere of Joseph Schwantner's September Canticle- In Memoriam. James Diaz with the Dallas Symphony, conducted by Jesus Lopez-Cobos.
Karl King
1891-1971
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Circus Spectacular
Some of Karl King's Best
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Circus Music Carl King
Karl Lawrence King was born in Paintersville, Ohio, February 21, 1891.  You may not recognize his name, but I'll bet that if you've been to a circus you've heard some of his music!

King's family moved to Canton, Ohio. The town had a band, and Karl loved the music.  When he was 11 he sold newspapers until he had enough money that he could buy a cornet, and he began taking lessons. He soon changed to the euphonium and played in the Canton Marine Band, a band of boys about his age.
Karl's only formal music instruction consisted of four piano lessons and one harmony lesson from William Bradford, a musical show director.  King's formal education ended after the eighth grade, and he became an apprentice to learn the printing trade.  But his love of music caused him to spend many evenings composing.  He had several pieces published while still in his teens.

King first played professionally with the Thayer Military Band of Canton and the Neddermeyer Concert Band of Columbus.  At age 19, Karl joined Robinson's Famous Circus as a baritone player. Over the next several years he played baritone with the Yankee-Robinson, Sells-Floto, and Barnum & Bailey Circuses. In 1913 he wrote Barnum and Bailey's Favorite, which became one of the most popular marches in the world. It was soon adopted as the theme song of that circus.  Click HERE to hear it!  (courtesy of KarlKing.us)  In 1914 King became bandmaster of the Sells-Floto and Buffalo Bill Wild West Combined Shows.  Then he was Bandmaster of Barnum & Bailey's Greatest Show on Earth. His wife, Ruth (Lovett), played calliope for the show.

In 1919 the Kings returned to Canton where he directed the Grand Army Band of Canton, Ohio, and in 1920 Karl King gave up circus life when he became conductor of the Fort Dodge (Iowa) Municipal Band. The band soon became a popular fixture at state and regional fairs, rodeos, and expositions. He held the position for more than 50 years.  After his death the band was renamed the Karl L. King Municipal Band of Fort Dodge. King also founded a music publishing company.

King's expected the very best from each of his musicians, and had a profound effect on them, especially the high school students.  Many became professional musicians, music educators and even bandmasters.  King became popular with the media due to his wit, personality and his way with words.

In all, Karl King published over 200 marches, and became known as America's March King.  He also composed more than 100 other pieces including waltzes, overtures, intermezzos, serenades, dirges, rags, and galops.

He was president of the Iowa Bandmasters Association and the American Bandmasters Association. Phillips University granted him an Honorary Doctor of Music, he was elected to the Academy of Wind and Percussion Arts, and to the Society of European Stage Actors and Composers. The Kappa Kappa Psi National Honorary Band Franternity gave him their Distinguished Service Award. In 1980, the National Band Association listed King in the Hall of Fame of Distinguished Band Conductors.

In 1966, King said, I've sung my song. It was a rather simple one; it wasn't too involved; I'm happy about it. In the last couple years . . . I've run out of tunes. When I ran out of tunes, I believed it was time to quit, and I'd like to recommend that as a matter of policy to all other composers.

Karl King died in Fort Dodge on March 31, 1971.
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A Page With Samples of
Karl King's Music
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Sheet Music by
Karl King
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Did You Guess?
A cornet's conical bore gives it a more mellow tone than the trumpet.  There is less blowing resistance, and the cornet is softer than the trumpet.  By the way, the cornet is on the right, the trumpet is on the left.  Click the pictures for better pictures and descriptions of the two.