Music in a Victorian Mirror

Ruth A. Solie

in Music in Other Words

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2004 | ISBN: 9780520238459
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930063 | DOI:
Music in a Victorian Mirror

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This article gives an overview on how magazines spread the musical ideas and information along with feelings and attitudes toward music that affected the culture in England. The professional writing of musicians in magazines lies alongside the same range of other discourses in which music is invoked for various purposes and to various effects. It produces the same kind of transforming reception and offers the opportunity for some insights into the percolation of musical ideas and beliefs through cultural discourse at large. Music is routinely deployed by novelists to depict character, health, and social status. A persistent distinction is made between folk or peasant music and the music of the cultivated tradition, but the relative valuations of those may vary with the fictional situation. The Victorians were clear about the aesthetic and ethical superiority of the “more highly developed” art music repertoire. Several beneficial medical effects are also expected from music, such as in Katherine S. Macquoid's account of “The Little Hospital by the River,” a fund-raising effort for a hospital for children with incurable conditions.

Keywords: musical ideas; peasant music; art music repertoire; musical references; musical literacy

Chapter.  17982 words. 

Subjects: Musicology and Music History

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