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    Musicalising history

    Champion, Matthew and Stanyon, M. (2019) Musicalising history. Transactions of the Royal Historical Society 29 , pp. 79-103. ISSN 0080-4401.

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    While there have been growing calls for historians to listen to the past, there are also significant barriers to integrating music in particular into broader historical practice. This article reflects on both the gains and difficulties of this integration, moving from an interrogation of the category of ‘music’ to three case studies. These concern musical terms, compositional practices and cultures from the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries, revisiting some key debates in musicology: first, the highly-charged language of ‘sweetness’ deployed in the fifteenth century; second, connections discerned in nineteenth-century music history between medieval polyphony and contemporary attitudes towards time and authority; and, third, debate over the anti-Jewish implications of Handel’s music, which we approach through his Dixit dominus and a history of psalm interpretation stretching back to late antiquity. Through these case studies, we suggest the contribution of music to necessarily interdisciplinary fields including the study of temporality and emotions, but also explore how a historical hermeneutic with a long pedigree – ‘diversity of times’ (diversitas temporum) – might help to reframe arguments about musical interpretation. The article concludes by arguing that the very difficulty and slipperiness of music as a source can encourage properly reflective historical practice.


    Item Type: Article
    Additional Information: This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication following peer review. It may be used only for personal research and should not be distributed further. The version of record is available online at the link above.
    School: Birkbeck Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences > School of Historical Studies
    Depositing User: Matthew Champion
    Date Deposited: 23 Jul 2019 11:09
    Last Modified: 02 Aug 2023 17:52


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