Ora Frishberg Saloman

in The Oxford Handbook of Transcendentalism

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780195331035
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks


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This article talks about the contributions of the Transcendentalists to the genre of music in America. Though there were slight differences in their opinions, they were all in favor of music. Henry David Thoreau experienced music as a vital gateway to the physical and then to the spiritual universe. Transcendentalists proposed that music be regarded as an art, a language, and a prophecy. Its dual capacities, according to them, were “to hallow pleasure and to naturalize religion.” John Sullivan Dwight, the foremost of those who contributed to the American concert music advocated the formation of harmonious bonds between individuals and community through music as one way toward the amelioration of society. Transcendentalists tried to attract and retain excellent performing musicians who would reside and give concerts regularly in the United States despite poor working conditions and a lack of social status then endured by musicians.

Keywords: instrumental music; John Sullivan Dwight; concert music; spiritual universe

Article.  2899 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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