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Enlightenment OrpheusThe Power of Music in Other Worlds$
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Vanessa Agnew

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195336665

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195336665.001.0001

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 Argonaut Orpheus

 Argonaut Orpheus

(p.11) Chapter One Argonaut Orpheus
Enlightenment Orpheus

Vanessa Agnew

Oxford University Press

Focusing on Charles Burney's 1772 central European journey to collect material for a general history of music, this chapter shows how travel and musical mapping were co-opted for the making of a German cultural imaginary. It transnationalizes Bourdieu's notion of symbolic capital to show how national cultural identities were mobilized via the figure of the traveler. It was the traveler who was authorized to traverse liminal spaces, compare cultural systems, and exercise aesthetic judgments. German scholars like Christoph Daniel Ebeling, Johann Nicolaus Forkel, and Johann Friedrich Reichardt saw the Englishman's journey as an opportunity to reprioritize German over French and Italian music, and thereby contribute to a German Kulturnation. Yet Burney preferred a protosociological approach to the study of music and this helps explain his negative reception in Germany. The dispute between Burney and the Germans highlights the problems with an epistemology of music based on travel: the unreliability of the musical informant and the social and political uses of music did not ultimately cohere with the kinds of music-immanent criteria upon which the German scholars' project depended.

Keywords:   Kulturnation, travel, instrumental music, transnational, Charles Burney, Christoph Daniel Ebeling, Johann Nicolaus Forkel, Johann Friedrich Reichardt, Argonauts, informant, symbolic capital

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