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The Alpine-themed song

Wise, T The Alpine-themed song , in: The European Salon : Nineteenth Century Salonmusik, 2-4 October 2015, Maynooth, Ireland. (Unpublished)

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My paper discusses a staple of the salon, the Alpine-themed song, which emerged in the early nineteenth century. Typically based on picturesque lyric imagery and Ländler rhythms, this barely remembered repertoire was dismissed as trivial music by proponents of absolute music; yet it is significant for a number of reasons. For example, it was popularised by prominent female singers of the day, many of whom had to give up their opera careers after marriage but continued singing in salons and on tours to the United States. Such luminaries as Henriette Sontag and Jenny Lind, whose names and pictures appeared on the printed sheet music when it was published in the United States gave added interest to this material and helped promote this music to the domestic market. These songs likewise provided a transition from vocal music associated with high art, such as opera and oratorio, into the burgeoning forms of popular music. That repertoire found favour with performers of more modest talents and provided an entry point into the domestic sphere. Additionally, these Alpine-themed songs provided perhaps the most important vehicle for the introduction of Alpine folk yodelling into European singing. While yodelling was ultimately rejected by “serious” art music, its introduction into a lighter, more “popular” music for domestic consumption had an enormous impact in the United States, where the Alpine technique was taken up in a broad range of musical genres. The paper discusses a number of prominent female singers associated with yodelling, an aspect of their careers which conventional music histories by and large ignore, details of the repertoire and its ultimate importation into America, and posits reasons for the rejection of both the music and the yodel technique from European art music by the middle of the nineteenth century.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Schools: Schools > School of Arts & Media > Arts, Media and Communication Research Centre
Funders: Non funded research
Depositing User: Dr Timothy E. Wise
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2015 16:27
Last Modified: 01 Dec 2015 16:27

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