Visuality And Pictorialism In French Baroque Music
Taking character pieces and operatic symphonies as its focus, this dissertation proposes that visuality constituted a central mode through which musical readers and listeners experienced music in early eighteenth-century France. It explores Enlightenment fascination with the interaction of the visual and aural, and the bearing this preoccupation had on the question of whether music without words was capable of conveying meaning. "Depictive" or "pictorial" music in the eighteenth century has traditionally been thought of as having marginal aesthetic status and historical importance. Part I seeks to recuperate a sense of representational music's significance through a close reading of French treatises of the early eighteenth century, especially those of the Abbé Dubos and Charles Batteux. Part II then turns to the musical product itself, situating early eighteenthcentury French musical publications within the context of the book and engraved print cultures of the time. These findings are brought to bear on selections from the Baussen reprints of Lully's operatic works, with special attention to the ways in which the extensive illustrations of these editions relate to the musical content of Lully's operatic symphonies. Based on historical sources, I then extend these ideas into the realm of French character pieces, as another forum in which the musical amateur would regularly have come into contact with depictive music. After exploring the many potential pitfalls of interpreting titled instrumental works, I trace moments of convergence between the character-piece repertory and the development of the rococo frontispiece and title-page. Chapter Four then offers a case-study of the most fruitful of these visual intersections, proposing a spectrum of ways in which the elaborate titlepages to François Dandrieu's Premier, Second, and Troisième livres de pièces de clavecin relate to their musical contents, while describing a long-term shift in the nature of these relationships from the literal to the metaphorical. Visual culture emerges in these contexts as a critical lens through which the musical consumer made sense of the printed and sonic musical product, particularly in the absence of text or lyrics. The understanding and interpretation of music was thus mediated by multiple levels of visuality, manifest within the composition itself and its physical packaging as a printed product.
pictorialism, visual, French baroque; character pieces, French opera; Dubos, Batteux, Lully, Baussen, Dandrieu
Peraino,Judith Ann; Zaslaw,Neal Alexander; Leppert,Richard
Ph.D. of Musicology
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis