American Musicological Society

Capital Chapter

Officers Meetings Membership Awards

Fall 1998 Program and Abstracts


9:30-10:00: refreshments

Morning Session

  1. Mark Katz, "The Phonograph, Bringing 'Good Music' to the American Home, 1900-1930"
  2. Renee Lapp Norris, "Black Opera: The Antebellum Blackface Minstrel Show and European Opera"
    11-11:15 break
  3. Glenn G. Caldwell, "Harmonic Tonality in the Theories of Jerome-Joseph Momigny: Factor 1 -- The Grand Musical System"
  4. Anthony R. DelDonna, "An Archival Study of the San Carlo Opera Orchestra in the late 18th Century"

12:15-1:30: Lunch [and officers meeting]

1:30-2:30: Business meeting; the business meeting will include a 30 minute open discussion moderated by Robin Armstrong, who last year chaired the panel on diversity in the classroom for our January meeting. She and other members of that panel will be presenting a similar workshop for CMS the week after our meeting This will be an opportunity for all, hopefully also our student members, to address how we experience diversity in our classrooms, how this seems to affect job markets especially in terms of what students and faculty need to be able to cover, and also to talk about how we see our chapter in relationship to the National AMS directive toward diversity. This discussion is intended to help us all understand "what's happening out there."

Also as part of the business meeting we will need to address certain issues around funding for our student representatives, and matters pertaining to our by-laws. So we encourage all to attend! Afternoon Session.

We will offer a 10 minute break if possible between the business meeting and afternoon session.

  1. John Ware, "A New Look at Some Old Counterpoint"
  2. Richard Wexler, "In Search of the Missing Movements of Ockeghem's Requiem"
Closing Remarks


The Phonograph, Bringing "Good Music" to the American Home, 1900-1930
Mark Katz, University of Michigan

When the phonograph began entering American homes early in this century, it was quickly realized that the technology was a perfect tool for bringing "good music" to the American family. "Good music," which typically denoted Western European art music, was valued as a civilizing agent and positive moral influence, and its appreciation by the masses was considered crucial to making America a musical nation. Portable, relatively inexpensive, and always on call, the phonograph made this goal conceivable: poor music lovers could afford to hear opera, rural residents could bring orchestras and virtuosi to their homes, and the children of all Americans could be introduced to the classics.

This paper examines the role of the phonograph in edifying the American home, and by extension, America at large. In doing so, it will consider attitudes towards the social value of music, the state of music in the American home, and the differing characteristics of live and recorded music. It will also examine the long-standing and heated debate over the phonograph's impact on home music making. This work draws upon a variety of primary sources, including statements by phonograph owners, music and phonograph journals, housekeeping magazines, and phonograph advertisements.

Mark Katz is a doctoral candidate at the University of Michigan. He currently lives in northern Virginia, where he is completing his dissertation on the influence of sound recording on the reception, performance, and composition of music in the early twentieth century. He expects to receive his Ph.D. in March, 1999. "Black Opera;" The Antebellum Blackface

Minstrel Show and European Opera
Renee Norris, University of Maryland, College Park

American blackface minstrels employed materials from European opera in a variety of ways, including the comic forms of parody and burlesque as well as simple borrowing. The minstrels implemented various musical and textual devices to accomplish their appropriation. Parodies of European opera retained at least the melodies of the original versions and the dramatic context was usually preserved; other aspects, such as complicated ensemble parts, were simplified. An example is "The Phantom Chorus: A Parody from La Sonnambula," the 1848 sheet music version of which quotes the melody and accompaniment of a piano/vocal version of La Sonnambula. The minstrel parody maintains the dramatic context of the original. "A fosco cielo," but presents it in comic form. Another example of minstrels' methods of appropriation is the retention of poetic rhyme. This is most readily evident in parodies of English opera, for instance "De Lip Hung Down," a minstrel parody of "The Heart Bowed Down" from Michael Balfe's popular opera The Bohemian Girl.

This study assesses blackface minstrel parodies and burlesques of European opera in antebellum America, both defining their specific role in minstrel performances and considering them within the more general framework of the distribution and reception of opera in the United States. It not only focuses on a repertoire neglected by twentieth-century scholarship, but also explores the minstrel show as a reflection of antebellum society. Particular areas of significance are minstrels' opera appropriations as vehicles for expressing frustration toward non-native entertainment forms, opera's increasing associations with the upper classes during the 1850s, and the consideration of opera appropriations in the context of minstrelsy's central fact: parody of the black race. Discussion of these issues in an essential aspect of this project that will aid the understanding of the "Americanization" of European opera through the blackface minstrel show.
Renee Lapp Norris is a graduate student completing her Ph.D. at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Harmonic Tonality in the Theories of Jerome-Joseph Momigny: Factor 1 - the Grand Musical System
Glenn G. Caldwell, Associate Professor of Music, Western Maryland College

This paper briefly examines the harmonic theories of Jerome-Joseph Momigny (1762-1842) and evaluates his understanding of tonality as a complex of tones organized around a tonic or key center. Though much attention has been given to Momigny's theoretical writings on rhythm and form, a careful investigation of his harmonic theories is lacking. The principal sources used to study the development of his harmonic theories are the Cours complet (1803/1806), articles in the Encyclopedie methodique (1813/1818), and La seule vraie theorie de la musique (1822).

Because various meanings are associated with the word tonality, this paper adopts a conventional model; it defines tonality as a system which embraces the twelve major and twelve minor keys, the scales that these keys define, the harmonic functions of the chords found in these keys, and the possible use of key interchange (modulation). This definition, when applied to Momigny's harmonic theories, shows that he embraced a "modern view" of tonality even though his theories were established in the early Nineteenth-Century.

Tonality, as presented in Momigny's theories, is based on four factors. This paper deals with the first which Momigny calls "The Grand Musical System". It is a 27-tone key system comprised of three genera, the diatonic, chromatic, and enharmonic. In Momigny's harmonic theories altered tones in harmony are not necessarily factors that determine a change of key; they may be tones "borrowed" from the chromatic and enharmonic genera that enrich the key. In determining the function of altered chords in a phrase, one has to suspend judgment until the end of the phrase. If the phrase cadences on the tonic or dominant of the prevailing key, all altered chords that appear within the phrase merely serve to expand the key. The Grand Musical System, then, allowed Momigny to create every altered chord type that we recognize today as belonging to modern tonality.

The contribution of this paper is that it presents Momigny's concepts as significant in the history of Western music theory. His Grand Musical System is important because many of his contemporaries saw modulations where he saw tonicizations. Even Fetis (and other notable theorists) understood Momigny's harmonic theories to be "novel" but too controversial.

Glenn Caldwell is Associate Professor and Acting Chair of the Department of Music at Western Maryland College, with a specialty in music theory and composition.

An Archival Study of the San Carlo Opera Orchestra in the Late-Eighteenth Century
Anthony R. DelDonna, Georgetown University

The construction of the Teatro di San Carlo by the Neapolitan royal court in the early-eighteenth century resulted in the establishment of precedents that effected significant changes in performance practice of the period. Chief among them was the continued employment of a large orchestral component not only for the opera season but also for related spectacles and balls. Although fluctuations in the size and instrumentation of the ensemble have been noted by such scholars as Ulisse Prota-Giurleo and Michael Robinson, few detailed studies of the San Carlo orchestra have ever been undertaken. This lacuna may be attributed to the fragmented state of archival materials pertaining to Neapolitan theatrical life.

This paper examines surviving archival documents spanning the years 1781-1786, contained in the State Archives of Naples. These records include detailed information documenting the varied function of the orchestra, its instrumental content and subsequent growth as well as recording the rates of pay to all performers. Most importantly, these documents allow a more comprehensive view of the late-eighteenth century orchestra and reveal fundamental aspects of performance practice and operatic production.

Anthony DelDonna is Lecturer in Music History and Music Theory, Georgetown University: Department of Art, Music, and Theater. He is currently preparing the critical edition of Pietro Alessandro Guglielmi's azione sacra Debora e Sisara for the Comune of Massa-Carrara through a research grand from the Italian state.

A New Look at Some Old Counterpoint
John Ware, Virginia Union University

In most sixteenth-century counterpoint courses the accepted norm is still the technique and style of Palestrina. For many, it is not easy to deal technically with music which does not fit that style. In this paper the element of dissonance treatment is taken as a point of departure from the Palestrina style in exploring music of the early Renaissance, and a method is demonstrated for dealing with "problem" passages where density of dissonances may obscure their placement or even their nature. Tinctoris was the first theorist to state standards for treatment of dissonance; his highly detailed directions (which he himself observed), while reasonably current for the 1470's, were largely irrelevant a century later when Palestrina was writing. Tinctoris's observations concerning various composers show that Johannes Ockeghem was regarded as one of the great masters of the time; even so, he did not escape Tinctoris's gentle criticism. The style of Ockeghem, then, is posited as one to examine from a time when dissonance treatment was first being dealt with theoretically. Almost halfway between Ockeghem and Palestrina stand the works of Pierre de la Rue, a younger contemporary of Josquin des Pres. Various excerpts from Ockeghem and La Rue are examined, not with a view to defining norms of their style, but to demonstrate ways to analyze some of the more complex passages in terms of dissonance.

John Ware is a composer, performer and historian who has taught in Indiana, Wisconsin, Tennessee and Virginia. Currently he is chairman of the Fine Arts Department at Virginia Union University in Richmond. Some of his recent compositions are named after daylilies, which he raises and hybridizes at his home in Mechanicsville.

In Search of the Missing Movements of Ockeghem's Requiem
Richard Wexler, University of Maryland

It has been noted in the recent literature that the scribe who copied Ockeghem's Requiem Mass into the Chigi Codex left blank openings after the offertory, possibly to accommodate a Sanctus, an Agnus Dei, and a communion, none of which was subsequently entered in the manuscript. No other Mass for the Dead surviving from the period lacks these three movements.

Since it is inconceivable that any liturgical service at which the Requiem was sung would have concluded with the offertory, several commentators (including this one) have assumed that either Ockeghem's Sanctus, Agnus Dei, and communion were somehow unavailable to the scribe of the Chigi Codex and are now lost, or else the composer meant for them to be sung in plainchant. However, the style of Ockeghem's Requiem, as well as that of other Masses for the Dead composed not long afterwards, suggests alternative possibilities. Stylistic traits found in the so-called Missa in agendis mortuorum, for example, a compilation of movements for the Requiem Mass assembled by the Spanish musician Juan Garci'a de Basurto that includes the opening duo of the tract of Ockeghem's Requiem, tend to support such inferences.

Richard Wexler is professor of music at the University of Maryland College Park.



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