'Magnificence of Promises': novelty instruments in concert in Britain, c1750–1800

Durkin, Rachael (2023) 'Magnificence of Promises': novelty instruments in concert in Britain, c1750–1800. Early Music. caad012. ISSN 0306-1078 (In Press)

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1093/em/caad012


In this article I explore the occurrence and use of novelty musical instruments in the latter half of the eighteenth century, arguing that these instruments were used as a means of self-promotion for the performer, and in some cases were intrinsically linked with their identity as immigrant musicians in Britain. I start by outlining music marketing in the eighteenth century, followed by what novelty means in the context of musical performance. I then move to consider, firstly, imported musical instruments which existed in reasonable numbers in Britain, focussing on the mandolin, English guittar and viola d’amore; and secondly, the more fleeting inventions to grace British concert rooms and theatres, and draw attention to the sociocultural forces which may have encouraged their development. I conclude this article with a tangential look at the inventions of Charles Clagget, and surmise that even with the best marketing and inventions, the majority of novelty instruments were only ever destined for public performance as promotional tools, and not to be brought into the home for domestic music-making.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: English guittar, viola d’amore, englische violet, mandolin, novelty instruments, organology, Georgian concerts, Charles Clagget
Subjects: W300 Music
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Humanities
Depositing User: John Coen
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2022 09:05
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2023 10:45
URI: https://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/48616

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