Music and the New Global CultureFrom the Great Exhibitions to the Jazz Age

Music and the New Global CultureFrom the Great Exhibitions to the Jazz Age

Harry Liebersohn

Print publication date: 2020

ISBN: 9780226621265

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

Abstract

This book explores music and globalization since the mid-nineteenth century. Its starting-point is the world’s fairs and other exhibitions that showed off foreign musicians and instruments to mass audiences in Europe and the United States; it ends with the worldwide embrace of new musical genres like tango and jazz. The book’s geographic focus is the Atlantic triad of Germany, Britain and the United States, but it traces the migration of non-Western music into these countries and the musical response to globalization in the metropolises of India and China and remote settlements from South America to the Arctic. The three parts of the book capture diverse dimensions of globalized musical culture: its overlap with the arts and crafts movement, scientific analysis of pitch and scales, and worldwide distribution through the phonograph. The cast of characters who made music global includes familiar names like Thomas Edison and Hermann von Helmholtz, but also A. J. Hipkins, a London piano tuner turned renowned scholar and advocate of musical diversity; Erich von Hornbostel, the refined Viennese who directed the first archive of world music; Nuskilusta, who toured Germany with a Native American music ensemble; and the Indian recording star, Gauhar Jaan. In dialogue with historians, musicologists and social theorists, the book concludes that the new global culture is not a novelty of our own time, but a long-established transformation of modern artistic and intellectual expression that still defines how we think, feel and hear.