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Music and the New Global CultureFrom the Great Exhibitions to the Jazz Age$
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Harry Liebersohn

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780226621265

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226649306.001.0001

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An English Craftsman Discovers World Music

An English Craftsman Discovers World Music

Chapter:
(p.47) 2 An English Craftsman Discovers World Music
Source:
Music and the New Global Culture
Author(s):

Harry Liebersohn

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226649306.003.0003

A. J. Hipkins started out as a piano tuner who taught himself equal temperament tuning and became the leading British authority on string and keyboard instruments as well as an advocate for musical instruments and traditions from around the world. His horizons expanded as he met Chopin and championed the expressive style of his music versus the virtuoso but mechanical fashions of his time. His research recounted but criticized the development of the piano as a history of mechanical progress; at the same time he prized early music and the expressive qualities of historic instruments. Members of the Arts and Crafts movement including Lawrence Alma-Tadema welcomed Hipkins into their social circle; Hipkins commented on the role of musical instruments in Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s paintings. Hipkins was a musical instrument adviser to the Colonial and Indian Exhibition of 1886. Drawing in part on its displays, Hipkins produced an illustrated picture volume of early modern and extra-European instruments that made the case for valuing worldwide musical traditions. He also helped Charles Day with the writing and publication of his book on Carnatic music. Hipkins’ rejection of evolutionary schemas and relativization of Western harmony were notable elements of his advocacy of non-Western music.

Keywords:   A.J. Hipkins, equal temperament, Arts and Crafts movement, Carnatic music, early music historic instruments, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, Colonial and Indian Exhibition of 1886

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