Hall Center For The Humanities


Silvia Herzog
Music, Wichita State University

"The Musical Entertainer: An Ethnography of Listeners in Eighteenth-Century London"
Past Seminars : British Seminar

Fri., Oct. 29, 2004, 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Location: Hall Center Conference Room
Between 1737 and 1739, George Bickham collected for publication 175 diverse songs for his notably elegant volumes entitled The Musical Entertainer. The songs were published in a lavishly bound two-volume set suitable for upper class consumers, and in four song sets for consumers of simpler means and present a wide range of musical genres, including Scottish songs, English ballads and art songs, and Italian opera arias, all with French inspired illustrations. While on the surface this elaborate musical taxonomy suggests an international polyglot of culture in cosmopolitan London, its real purpose appears to be to establish a kind of shared cultural status among a variety of classes within the broad social landscape of the city. It further suggests that among the many classes of listeners associated with this collection one can locate most of the types of listeners outlined by Adorno, including the expert, the good listener, the culture consumer, the emotional listener, the resentment listener, and the entertainment listener, and that an examination of these ways of listening reveals more than analysis of genre in understanding the significance of this collection. This paper will examine specific songs from the collection to propose ways in which the songs could soften the distinction between class by appealing to shared types of listening, thus creating a shared cultural consciousness among competing social levels. In doing so I will argue that within the eighteenth-century epistemology based on the perception of difference, a taxonomy of this sort reveals the power of music to promote resemblance among English listeners.

Silvia Herzog, Associate Professor, Musicology, Wichita State University received a Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. Herzog's research focuses on Italian and English literature and music of the 16th through 18th centuries. Herzog has taught courses in the history of Western music, world music, and comparative literature and writing at California State University at Fullerton, the Claremont Colleges and the University of Southern California. Herzog is also active in the American Musicological Society, Lyrica Society, Society for Seventeenth-Century Music, and the Eighteenth-Century Society. Publications include an edition of Stefano Landi?s La morte d?Orfeo, published by A-R Editions and a co-authored textbook, Introduction to Research in Music, published by Prentice Hall.

Silvia Herzog, Music, Wichita State University
Oct. 29, 2004
3:30-5:00 p.m.
Hall Center Conference Room
Wk Su M T W Th F Sa

Event Categories

Click for Archived Categories