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Evolution and Victorian Musical Culture


  • Date Published: October 2017
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781107020443

£ 94.99

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About the Authors
  • This engaging book explores the dynamic relationship between evolutionary science and musical culture in Victorian Britain, drawing upon a wealth of popular scientific and musical literature to contextualize evolutionary theories of the Darwinian and non-Darwinian revolutions. Bennett Zon uses musical culture to question the hegemonic role ascribed to Darwin by later thinkers, and interrogates the conceptual premise of modern debates in evolutionary musicology. Structured around the Great Chain of Being, chapters are organized by discipline in successively ascending order according to their object of study, from zoology and the study of animal music to theology and the music of God. Evolution and Victorian Musical Culture takes a non-Darwinian approach to the interpretation of Victorian scientific and musical interrelationships, debunking the idea that the arts had little influence on contemporary scientific ideas and, by probing the origins of musical interdisciplinarity, the volume shows how music helped ideas about evolution to evolve.

    • Uses music to reinterpret our understanding of the relationship between Victorian science and the arts, employing interdisciplinary perspectives on musical culture
    • Questions the hegemonic role ascribed to Darwin by post-Darwinian thinkers subscribing to the concept of the Darwinian revolution, thereby introducing readers to the full spectrum of scientific thinking in light of Victorian music
    • Clearly structured by discipline, from zoomusicology to music theology, and accessible to musicologists and non-specialists alike
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    Reviews & endorsements

    '… Zon's engaging, authoritative, far-reaching study will be required reading for those interested in nineteenth-century culture at large. Evolution and Victorian Musical Culture will be of particular value to those researching histories of music, science, aesthetics, pedagogy, or those working at the intersections of these disciplines.' Rebecca Spence, BSLS Review (

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    Product details

    • Date Published: October 2017
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781107020443
    • length: 374 pages
    • dimensions: 253 x 180 x 23 mm
    • weight: 0.91kg
    • contains: 27 b/w illus.
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Zoomusicology
    2. Ethnomusicology
    3. Folk musicology
    4. Music pedagogy
    5. Music biography
    6. Music history
    7. Music theology

  • Author

    Bennett Zon, University of Durham
    Bennett Zon is Professor of Music at the University of Durham, Director of Durham's Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies and Co-Director of the International Network for Music Theology. He is General Editor of Nineteenth-Century Music Review and of the book series Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain. His own publications include The English Plainchant Revival (1999), Music and Metaphor in Nineteenth-Century British Musicology (2000) and Representing Non-Western Music in Nineteenth-Century Britain (2007).

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