Music in London, 1800-1851
Start date: May 1, 2013,
End date: Apr 30, 2018
This project aims to construct a wide-ranging interdisciplinary history of music in London in the first half of the nineteenth century. It will be original in method and scope, will generate a series of book-length publications, and is intended to serve as a model for a new kind of music historiography. Past histories of Western music-making have mostly focussed on elite culture, and have tended to write about music in relative isolation from the other arts and humanities. Our project will take as its focus musical activity in a period and a city which, for both material and aesthetic reasons, offers excellent opportunities for exploring a broader and more inclusive kind of history. Music-making in London functioned as a widely-based industry, providing much professional employment and featuring in the education of many an amateur; it also contributed to private and public enjoyment, became a source of boredom and occasional irritation, and fostered the creation of a host of cultural, political and imagined communities. A history that takes seriously all these functions could enable twenty-first-century scholars from many fields to understand better music’s affective presence in nineteenth-century society. It could also, by considering in detail an unprecedentedly wide range of genres and activities, find fresh relevance for musicology alongside work in other disciplines.
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