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Cultivated by HandAmateur Musicians in the Early American Republic$
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Glenda Goodman

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190884901

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190884901.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 07 March 2021

Learning Music

Learning Music

(p.61) 2 Learning Music
Cultivated by Hand

Glenda Goodman

Oxford University Press

As the eighteenth century witnessed an expansion of educational opportunities, learning to read and write music imbued amateurs with erudition and discipline. Printed instructional volumes utilized archaic abstract visualizations that encouraged a cerebral approach to learning music, and singing school classes relied on rote memorization of the “rules of music.” The potential drudgery of this approach was mitigated by the sociability of the schools. By the end of the century, volumes of instruction for instruments were increasingly available to American amateurs; these, too, relied on charts that abstracted musical knowledge. The expansion of secular instrumental instruction shifted the emphasis of education from piety (for sacred singing) to refinement. Even as printed instructions pushed toward standardized “rules,” manuscript music books reveal that amateurs embraced a wide range of literate practices, from quite rudimentary to highly advanced. Manuscripts also reveal individuals’ gradual improvement in the technical ability, aural skill, and knowledge of musical vocabulary.

Keywords:   music literacy, music education, singing schools, instruction books, female seminaries, Catharine Akerly, Jonathan Shipley Copp

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