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Title: The creation of 'ancient' Scottish music history, 1720-1838
Author: Clements, Joanna
ISNI:       0000 0004 0112 3221
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis examines the writing of Scottish music history from the 1720s to 1838. It concludes that the Scottish music histories written over this period were fundamentally shaped by the interaction of ideas about universal historical progress with ideas specific to the Scottish context of the work. Ramsay’s pioneering claims that Scots songs were ancient were supported by parallels between the features of song – simplicity, pastorality and naturalness - and ideas about the nature of the past held more widely. The contrasts he drew with Italian music and English verse further supported his claims in ways specific to the Scottish context. In the later eighteenth century the Enlightenment model of universal historical progress – simple and pastoral societies developed into complex and commercial ones over time - came to underpin the continued perception that Scots songs were ancient. This same universal model underpinned narratives of scalic development, and narratives of preservation. Contemporary perceptions of the place of the Scottish Highlands and rural societies in the universal model of historical progress resulted in the collection of more purportedly historic song from Highlanders and the rural poor of the Lowlands and Borders. These same perceptions also seem to have resulted in the differing use of written sources to create a picture of a gradually evolving Lowland/Border music history and a static Highland music history. Specifically Scottish destructive events were used to explain the lack of other forms of evidence of purportedly ancient songs in the past: the Reformation, defeudalisation, and the modernisation of the countryside form turning points in many of the narratives. Writers’ reasons for writing Scottish music history similarly reveal twin concerns with the universal and the particularly Scottish. In foregrounding the social and cultural factors which underpinned the construction of Scottish music history in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, this study challenges the continued inclusion of elements of the present-day received view. In addition, in demonstrating the parallels between music-historical and historical writings more broadly this thesis enriches our understanding of Enlightenment historical thought.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: ML Literature of music