The Power of PasticheMusical Miscellany and the Cultural Identity in Early Eighteenth-Century England

The Power of PasticheMusical Miscellany and the Cultural Identity in Early Eighteenth-Century England

Alison C. DeSimone

Print publication date: 2022

ISBN: 9781942954774

Publisher: Liverpool University Press

Abstract

In eighteenth-century England, “variety” became a prized aesthetic in musical culture. Not only was variety—of counterpoint, harmony, melody, and orchestration—expected for good composition, but it also manifested in cultural mediums such as songbook anthologies, pasticcio operas, and public concerts. I call this trend of producing music through the collection, assemblage, and juxtaposition of various smaller pieces “musical miscellany”; like a jigsaw puzzle, the urge to construct a whole out of smaller, different parts reflected a growing desire to appeal to a quickly diversifying England. This book explores the phenomenon of musical miscellany in early eighteenth-century England both in performance culture and as an aesthetic. Musical miscellany, in its many forms, juxtaposed foreign and homegrown musical practices and styles in order to stimulate discourse surrounding English musical culture during a time of cosmopolitan transformation as the eighteenth century unfolded.