Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist
Look Inside The Musician in Literature in the Age of Bach

The Musician in Literature in the Age of Bach

$47.99 (C)

  • Date Published: July 2014
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107428041

$ 47.99 (C)

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:

Looking for an examination copy?

If you are interested in the title for your course we can consider offering an examination copy. To register your interest please contact providing details of the course you are teaching.

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • Using novels and autobiographies from Bach's Germany, Stephen Rose suggests new ways of interpreting the lives and social status of musicians. The study focuses on satirical novels written by musicians that describe the lives of performers and composers, as well as the autobiographies of Bach's contemporaries. These narratives represent musicians variously as picaresque outcasts, honourable craft-workers, foolish bunglers and respected virtuosos. They probe the lives of musicians considered taboo or aberrant in the period, such as street entertainers and Italian castratos. The novels and autobiographies also reveal two major debates that shaped the mindset and social identity of musicians: was music a sensual or rational craft, and should musicians integrate within society or be regarded as outsiders? Quoting from an array of little-known novels, this book shows how an interdisciplinary approach can transform our understanding of Bach and his contemporaries.

    • Exposes the debates shaping the social status of musicians in Bach's Germany, helping readers to understand why musicians were so controversial in the period
    • Illuminates the lives of low-status musicians such as travelling fiddlers, giving readers a more rounded picture of musical life at this time
    • Includes many translated excerpts from novels and autobiographies, introducing readers to these colourful, gripping and previously inaccessible texts about musicians' lives
    Read more

    Reviews & endorsements

    "Stephen Rose has taken it upon himself in this extraordinary book to ponder and report on some two dozen (for most modern tastes unreadable) German novels from the seventeenth century, works that describe, in often hilarious, often poignant detail, the musician’s life and world at the time. He does this in the service of a larger purpose … Rose maintains early on that 'to grasp how the lives of musicians such as Bach were embedded in the culture and society of their time, a broader range of texts must be investigated'; namely, the literary traditions he then diligently surveys. [He] suggests that many Bach anecdotes, and even some of Bach’s own statements, reflect those traditions. His conjectures are refreshingly bold and provocative and, often enough, plausible … This remarkable volume is replete with fascinating information and thought-provoking ideas."
    Early Music America Magazine

    "A well-presented, lively account of the social position of music and musicians in the later seventeenth century."
    Modern Language Review

    "Rose uncovers the frequently subversive and always compelling rhetorical energy of storytelling by and about German musicians, making their texts accessible and appealing … [He] has made these virtually forgotten novels engaging and instructive. His central questions should influence scholarship on aesthetics in general and on the relationship between sound and text in particular. Perhaps most tellingly, the reader finishes this well-written volume with the strong desire to read the novels Rose discusses."
    German Quarterly

    See more reviews

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2014
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107428041
    • length: 248 pages
    • dimensions: 244 x 170 x 13 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • contains: 6 b/w illus. 4 music examples
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Literary contexts: the German Baroque novel
    2. The musician as picaresque outcast
    3. The musician as honourable craftsman
    4. Musical fools versus virtuosos
    5. From harmony to discord
    6. The first German autobiographies of musicians

  • Author

    Stephen Rose, Royal Holloway, University of London
    Stephen Rose is Lecturer in Music at Royal Holloway, University of London. His research explores German music of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in its social, material and performing contexts. He has contributed to The Cambridge History of Seventeenth-Century Music (2005), The Cambridge History of Eighteenth-Century Music (2009) and An Introduction to Music Studies (2008), all published by Cambridge University Press. His articles and reviews have appeared in many publications including Early Music, for which he is also Reviews Editor, and the Journal of the Royal Musical Association. He is active as an organist and harpsichordist.

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.