The Histories of Charles Burney and John Hawkins: A Cultural Context
Citation:CONWAY, TESS, The Histories of Charles Burney and John Hawkins: A Cultural Context, Trinity College Dublin.School of Creative Arts.MUSIC, 2018
The Histories of Charles Burney and John Hawkins are examined with reference to the observation by Carl Dahlhaus (1983) and Warren Dwight Allen (1939/62) that written history reflects the culture of the age in which it is written, and also reflects the backgrounds and conditioning of its authors. To test that theory the following methodology is used to identify the culture in question and establish the background of the authors. Music in its social context is examined with reference to eighteenth-century perceptions of music as they pertained to Charles Burney and John Hawkins as historians of music. Conditions, ideological and practical, that shaped the writing of their Histories are investigated. The influence of Enlightenment philosophy is examined in its manifestation in English life and letters, as is the contribution of historiographical theory and practice. Previous histories of music are tabulated to facilitate an appraisal of such works and to contextualise the vacuum that Burney and Hawkins aimed to fill. In tracing relevant developments within larger, influential historical movements, significant influences in the seventeenth century and earlier are considered. Practical conditions which played a part in facilitating the writing of the Histories of Burney and Hawkins are examined. In particular, print culture is explored, and, arising from it, the culture of criticism which facilitated comment on the subject of music. Biographies of these two historians are summarised in aspects relevant to their approaches to the history-writing task they undertook. This research finds an ambiguous attitude to music in eighteenth-century society which both authors identified and sought to correct; evidence of Enlightenment values in a humanist approach to historiography and in the empirical approach of both historians; and evidence of the growth of historical consciousness. Ideological differences between the two historians are revealed, with Burney defining music as an entertaining art, and Hawkins insisting on its identity as a science. The ancient/modern music debate fundamentally divides the two authors: Burney was a modernist and Hawkins championed ancient music. In this they reflect different facets of the cultural values of their time, both of which were essential to the establishment of a timeless canon of musical classics. Their divergences of opinion also reveal the influence of the backgrounds of the historians: Burney the socially ambitious professional musician and Hawkins the lawyer and antiquary.
Author: Conway, Tess
Publisher:Trinity College Dublin. School of Creative Arts. Discipline of Music
Type of material:Thesis
Availability:Full text available