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Title: The tunebooks of J.B. Malchair, Oxford, c.1760-1812
Author: Little, Alice
ISNI:       0000 0004 8502 9055
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2018
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From at least 1760, when he moved to Oxford, the German-born musician and artist, John Malchair (1730-1812), collected tunes of various nations. His sources ranged from printed books to acquaintances at the University and even, on one occasion, the whistling of a man in the street. Over the next thirty-five years, Malchair assembled four volumes of tunes, only the third and fourth of which are extant. Malchair's third tunebook is titled 'Vol. 3d: The Third Collection of Tunes'; his fourth tunebook is called 'The Arrangement', and in it he 'arranged' about 500 tunes already known to him into three categories: Welsh, Irish and Scottish. This thesis will describe Malchair's collecting habits in the context of collecting in Britain in the eighteenth century, and the publication of collections of tunes, as well as providing a more detailed focus on these activities in England. Malchair created a title page for 'English Tunes' within 'The Arrangement' but added no music to this section of the manuscript, yet there are several 'English' tunes that have been included in other sections. In addition, there are a number of apparent contradictions, such as where the same tune is included under two different national headings. I will explore a range of examples in order to explain Malchair's scheme of national categorisation, and consider Malchair in relation to those among his contemporaries and near-contemporaries who also addressed questions of national categorisation in music. Malchair's tunebooks are different from most others, while also growing out of a shared pre-existing and widespread culture of tunebook-keeping and personal music-collecting. I will argue that this difference stemmed from the fact that his tunebooks were not for personal music-making, as was usually the case, but instead formed a 'collection'. I will posit two hypotheses: first, that Malchair's purpose in collecting was to compare tunes as he found them (rather than editing them) and thereby to identify the 'best' version; and, second, that Malchair's aim in categorising his tunes was to demonstrate the characteristic music of each nation, and that in categorising he was primarily concerned not with geographical origins, but rather with national style.
Supervisor: Aspden, Suzanne Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available