Exhibitions, music and the British Empire

Publication Type:



Kirby, Sarah


The Boydell Press,, Volume [30], Woodbridge, Suffolk, United Kingdom ;, p.xiii, 246 pages : (2022)

Call Number:



(OCoLC)fst00918097, (OCoLC)fst01030444, (OCoLC)fst01030893, 19e siècle., 19th century., Aspect social, Exhibitions, Exhibitions., fast, Grande-Bretagne, Great Britain, Histoire, History, Music, Musicologie, Musicology, Musicology., Musique, Social aspects, Social aspects.


Includes bibliographical references (pages 215-236) and index.Introduction -- 1. Exhibiting music -- 2. The musical object -- 3. Sounding instruments -- 4. Museums and the history of music -- 5. Performance, rational recreation, and music for 'progress' -- 6. Music for leisure and entertainment -- 7. Nationalism and music -- 8. Curating non-Western musics -- 9. Performing non-Western musics -- Conclusion: exhibitions and their musical legacies.International exhibitions were among the most significant cultural phenomena of the late nineteenth century. These vast events aimed to illustrate, through displays of physical objects, the full spectrum of the world's achievements, from industry and manufacturing, to art and design. But exhibitions were not just visual spaces. Music was ever present, as a fundamental part of these events' sonic landscape, and integral to the visitor experience. This book explores music at international exhibitions held in Australia, India, and the United Kingdom during the 1880s. At these exhibitions, music was codified, ordered, and all-round 'exhibited' in manifold ways. Displays of physical instruments from the past and present were accompanied by performances intended to educate or to entertain, while music was heard at exhibitors' stands, in concert halls, and in the pleasure gardens that surrounded the exhibition buildings. Music was depicted as a symbol of human artistic achievement, or employed for commercial ends. At times it was presented in nationalist terms, at others as a marker of universalism. This book argues, by interrogating the multiple ways that music was used, experienced, and represented, that exhibitions can demonstrate in microcosm many of the broader musical traditions, purposes, arguments, and anxieties of the day. Its nine chapters focus on sociocultural themes, covering issues of race, class, public education, economics, and entertainment in the context of music, trading these through the networks of communication that existed within the British Empire at the time. Combining approaches from reception studies and historical musicology, this book demonstrates how the representation of music at exhibitions drew the press and public into broader debates about music's role in society--back cover.