About the decline of the British ballad in the 1890s:-
There are other factors to consider, however, not the least of which concerns the improvements made in the comfort and safety of bicycles. The attraction bicycling held for young women in the 1890s created growing resentment in the music trades, culminating in a welter of anti-cycling propaganda in 1896. Here is an examle taken from the Musical Times of that year:
We may point out that a new and msot formidable enemy of the pianoforte has arisen of late in the bicycle. . .there are literally thousands of young ladies whose leisure hours, formerly passed in large part on the music-stool, are now spent in the saddle of the 'iron bird' … proof positive is afforded by advertisements which announce the sale of pianofortes by individuals at great sacrifice on the ground that their owners are 'going in for cycling'.
Attempts were made to dissuade women from cycling by appealing to their concern for health – 'the rapid passage through the air my be a positive source of danger' – or by appealing to their vanity – 'the bicycle hand … becomes flattened, bulges out at the sides, gets lumpy and out of shape, and the fingers become crooked.; The last bit of 'expert' advice issued from the United States where cycling was also turning women away from music during their leisure hours. It would be wrong, therefore, to see the bicycle as something only threatening the profits of the British music trade. The situation was obviously being exaggerated since there still remained an enormous demand for teachers of music (particularly piano teachers), the number of 'music masters' almost doubling between 1881 and 1911, according to census figures. These teachers were forced to compete in a 'payment by results' environment where the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music developed a system of graded examinations.. However, their pupils were now able to gain good passes on all of the exams by restricting their learning to a few pieces a year. In 1899 the British Medical Journal voiced their concern not against cycling but against too much piano practice, suggesting it was responsible for 'the chloroses [green sickness - a form of anaemia] and neuroses from which so many young girls suffer'...
I would have thought a young middle-class woman would have leisure for both bicycling and piano, since during bad weather she could play the piano. However, it may have been part of the general hostility towards girls cycling at the time.
I did the Royal Schools of Music grades during my youth and I think they were a menace because you only did concentrate on about three pieces.
Also The Singing Bourgeoisie: Songs of the Victorian and Drawing Room and Parlour is probably sound about the actual musical quality of drawing room songs but is otherwise a bit glib in which it derives songs from the economic sub-structure. I bought it thinking it was a collection of songs.