Music of Pullman

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At the turn of the 20th century, Pullman-- and particularly the phenomenon of the Pullman Porter-- caught the public's imagination. A journey on a Pullman car summoned up images of romance and adventure. In a rigidly segregated society, Pullman Porters were probably the only African-Americans that most of white society ever truly interacted with. As a result, Pullman Porters were also used in the era's minstrel shows; some of the words and images of the assembled tunes are blatantly racist and insensitive. The mystique and romance of rail travel is described in the sheet music of the period, 1871-1921.

The small image of the musician () indicates that the music has been scanned, optically recognized, and converted into MP3 format; the tunes are also available as MIDI files by clicking here

Music Inspired By Pullman

The Porter in a Pullman Car.
William H. Bray.
Cincinnati: Church, John, 1880.



 (1.7 mb)

Cover page/Page 1 Page 2 Page 3 

Page 4 Page 5  


Corliss Engine March Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 Page 7 Page 8  The Corliss Engine March.
Sep. Winner.
Philadelphia: Sep. Winner & Son, 1877.


(4.1 mb)

P.P.C. Waltz.
Jno. C. Minton.
Cleveland & Chicago: Brainard's Sons, S., 1880.


(4.97 mb)

  P.P.C. Waltz Page 2 Page 3 
  Page 4
Page 5
Pullman Car Song Page 2 Page 3 
 Page 4 Page 5 
Pullman Car (Song).
Chas. J. Miers.
Philadelphia: Lee & Walker, 1871.

(<1 mb)

De Pullman Porters' Ball.
Stromberg, John.
New York : M. Witmark, c1901.



( 1.4 mb)

  De Pullman Porters' Ball Page 2 Page 3
 Page 4
Page 5
Porters on the Pullman Palace Cars Page2 Page 3 Page 4    Porters on the Pullman Palace Cars.
Geo. Phillips.
New York: C. H. Ditson,  1884.

(1.3 mb)

Pullman Porter Blues.
Hamilton, Burton & Clifford Ulrich.
New York : Leo. Feist, Inc., 1921

(2.2 mb)

 Pullman Porter Blues Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 
Pullman Porter Man Page 2 Page 3 Page 4   Page 5 Page 6   Pullman Porter Man.
Behim, Arthur E.
New York : J.H. Remick & Co., c1911.


(1.4 mb)

Pullman Porters Parade.
New York, New York, Maurice Abrahams Music, 1913.



 (1.8 mb)

 Pullman Porters Parade Page 2 Page 3 Page 4
 Page 5 Page 6 
Tourists in a Pullman Palace Car Page 2 Page 3 
Page 4
Page 5    
Tourists in a Pullman Palace Car (Tourists' Polka).
Chas. D. Blake.
Boston: White, Smith & Co., 1880.

(2.5 mb)

Tourists in a Pullman Car.
Geo. Bowron.
New York: Spear & Dehnhoff, 1880.


 (1.6 mb)

 Tourists in a Pullman Car Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Page 5 Page 6 
Palace Car (Sunbeams) Page 2 Page 3 Page 4 Pullman Car (Sunbeams).
Mack, E.
Philadelphia: Lee & Walker, 1872.

(<1 mb)

How The Music Was Encoded

The Pullman State Historic Site owns all of the twelve tunes selected to be a part of this exhibit, so the music was carefully scanned as 300-400 dpi images in TIFF format, no compression. The TIFF images were then "read' into Visiv's SharpEye 2 optical musical scanning software program. Depending on the cleanliness of the original, this process had an error rate of 70-95%, with Pullman Porter Man having only 20 errors and Tourists in a Pullman Palace Car 223. All errors had to be manually corrected, using SharpEye's very nice editing features. All stanzas were inspected on every musical selection.

The assembled OCR score, once corrected, was then exported into MIDI format, where it was then opened up in Myriad's Harmony Assistant program. This was preferred, because it allowed a very sophisticated series of instruments and playback options. We selected instruments that sounded like upright Victorian pianos; in many cases, the lyrics line is played back as a honky-tonk piano, while the supporting bass and treble lines were kept to more sedate parlor pianos. The reverb is what we imagine these tunes would have sounded like had then been played in the Hotel Florence (with its Minton tile lobby) in 1885. The files were then exported into mp3 format.


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More Information About the Pullman Company

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A postcard image of the Pullman Building.

Music Inspired by Pullman

Pullman Porter Man
Behim, Arthur E.
New York : J.H. Remick & Co., c1911.

Edison Films of Pullman Travel

From A Romance of the Rail, 1903