Prof. Dr. Anna Langenbruch
Institute of Music (» Postal address)
Music History on Stage: Constructions of the Musical Past in Music Theater
Mozart and the Beatles, Edith Piaf, Stradivari’s violin, Riemann’s Dictionary of Music – historical musicians, events, musical practices and artefacts from music history have been subjects of music theater for centuries. Therfore, music history is not only written and read, but also composed and sung, performed as well as heard. In that sense, historiographical music theater is both an artistic and a historiographical practice that plays an important role in and functions as music history. The Emmy Noether research group “Music History on Stage” explores in which way these two practices intertwine and how people engage with historiographical music theater.
We examine different ways of staging music history from the 18th to the 21st century, e.g. in operas, operettas, musicals or plays with music. As a medium of music history, music theater presents a wide range of subjects from medieval troubadors to present genres like pop, rock, jazz and contemporary art music. Music history on stage is a transnational phenomenon that can be observed in Europe as well as the US, Japan or South America. The research group combines methods of historical musicology – e.g. the study of music theater, music historiography, musical analysis – with research approaches of various other research areas, as for example the history of historiography and the history of knowledge, public history, sound studies, theater studies and ethnography.
Our project aims for a better understanding of musico-historical knowledge production. How do sound and perception, language and performance, art and academia interact within the historiography of music? Thus, the Emmy Noether research group contributes to a new history of knowledge within the arts.
Project term: April 2016 – March 2022