At the end of my last blog I referred to a passage in the writings of the French musicologist Lionel Dauriac in which he talks about the “chant intérieure” or internal song which, for many, perhaps most listeners, accompanies any exposure to a musical performance. Roughly speaking, our mind – or rather that inner chamber of the brain that echoes whatever we are hearing externally - sings along in sympathy.
As the old Fiesole Road winds out of the outskirts of the city of Florence, it slowly climbs uphill between dry stone walls and olive groves. Nowadays you would hardly know it was there unless you had reason to seek it out, since almost all the traffic, including the shuttle bus from St Mark’s square in Florence towards the central piazza of Fiesole on the escarpment five miles to the north, takes the far straighter and more convenient motor road constructed in the first decade of the twentieth century. In E.M.
Helen Barlow (LED team member) has written an article about the project entitled 'Listening to the listeners will offer new insights into music', which was published on the website The Conversation on 19 February 2014. You can read it here:
Ivan Hewett (LED team member) has written an article about the project which was published in the Daily Telegraph on 6 January 2014. If you didn’t catch Ivan’s article in hard copy, you’ll find it here (although you’ll miss out on the impact of its full double-page spread glory):
In an overlap between two research projects, I’ve been gathering together some material on listening to 19th-century British military bands. Some of the most interesting episodes come from Britain’s imperial project. Here’s Mrs M. H. Ouvry, the young wife of an officer of the 9th Lancers, writing her diary in April 1857 – amid the first stirrings of the so-called ‘Indian Mutiny’:
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I’ve been looking into Western responses to non-Western music, and on the advice of a sea-faring uncle am now sifting through Captain Cook’s journals of his three Voyages to New Zealand, Tahiti and elsewhere. As always one source has led to another, and it turns outs several other people wrote about the South Sea Islanders and their culture in the late 18th century. Some of them travelled with Cook, some independently. They’re full of comical misunderstandings, fascinated disgust – and also touchingly sincere attempts to understand the Other.
Helen Barlow gave a paper at the Ninth Biennial Conference on Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain, Cardiff University, 24-27 June 2013. Entitled ‘Drove Mrs Bell-Martin to hear the Band’: sources for experiences of listening to music in the long nineteenth century.
We are looking for essentially private and personal experiences of listening to music that are documented, rather than professional music criticism or reviews of performances or recordings. By ‘documented evidence’, we really mean things like diaries, memoirs, letters and oral history – things that are already written down or recorded.