Haydn's Sunrise, Beethoven's ShadowAudiovisual Culture and the Emergence of Musical Romanticism

Haydn's Sunrise, Beethoven's ShadowAudiovisual Culture and the Emergence of Musical Romanticism

Deirdre Loughridge

Print publication date: 2017

ISBN: 9780226337098

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

This book is about the changing audiovisual culture of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century, and its significance for the emergence of musical romanticism. The period from Haydn’s early career to Beethoven’s maturity – roughly 1760 to 1810 – witnessed the cultural diffusion of visual technologies such as magnifying instruments, peepshows, shadow-plays and magic lanterns. From their initial homes in fairgrounds, laboratories and popular scientific literature, these devices moved into domestic spaces, public spectacles and the basic vocabulary of a wide range of discourses, including the language used to discuss music. This book trace the processes of dissemination and reception by which these devices facilitated changes in musical perception. Through relations that include analogy, substitution and accompaniment, the conjunctions of visual technologies and music helped cultivate new modes of listening. They also promoted notions of extending the senses and mastering invisible forces as alternative frameworks to mimesis and expression for making sense of music. By showing that musical romanticism embedded aspects of audiovisual culture, this book addresses one of the grand narratives of music history: that by aligning music purely with the ear and purging its material dimensions, romanticism spurred the development of a culture of serious music. Instead, this book shows how pivotal texts of musical romanticism evidence the entwinements of sight and sound, looking and listening, from which music gained status as the most metaphysical and otherworldly of the arts.