Thesis ID: CBB679560387

The Early Pianoforte School in London’s Musical World, 1785–1800: Technology, Market, Gender, and Style (2019)


Clark, Katelyn (Author)
Clark, Caryl (Advisor)

University of Toronto
Clark, Caryl
Publication date: 2019
Language: English

Publication Date: 2019
Physical Details: 242

The late-eighteenth century was a period shaped by curiosity and fast-paced industrial, technological, and social growth in London. Collaborations between musicians and artists were frequent, and the boundary between musical understanding and “natural philosophy” was fluid. While market forces contributed to the popularity of the pianoforte in London, the technological development of the instrument and its multinational professional players performed key roles in the genesis of a London school of piano composition. This dissertation studies major factors that contributed to this evolution in pianism, focusing on matters of technological progress, collaboration, and stylistic revision in professional practice. I contend that a dynamic “early” London pianoforte school flourished from approximately 1785–1800. My goal is to insert new players and contexts into an incipient London-based pianoforte school so as to better understand how the early English piano functioned within its local market during this period. I examine the work associated with a cosmopolitan group of influential pianists, composers, and visual artists who were active in London during the 1780s and 1790s, including Joseph Haydn, Sophia Dussek, Theresa Jansen, and Francesco Bartolozzi. To elaborate further upon the work of these individuals, I study the increasingly innovative and responsive pianos that developed locally. In Chapter 1, I trace the history of the piano in England through Charles Burney’s writings, relevant patents by builders including those of Sébastien Érard, and documents from the Broadwood company archives. Chapter 2 develops our understanding of the English piano’s striking point through the collaborative work of Broadwood and scientists Tiberius Cavallo and Edward Whitaker Gray. Chapter 3 considers the rich evolution of Haydn’s compositional style through connections to London-based pianists Theresa Jansen and Maria Hester Park, and visual artists Francesco Bartolozzi and Thomas Park. Chapter 4 focuses on the short-lived music periodical Pleyel, Corri, and Dussek’s Musical Journal, and considers composer representation and marketing for the London audience in the 1790s. Through this dissertation, I demonstrate that shared stylistic principles and collaborative efforts forged strong connections among piano builders, musicians, and artists within the city’s vibrant urban environment of the late-eighteenth century.

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Authors & Contributors
Barbieri, Patrizio
Brancacci, Aldo
Dasgupta, Deepanwita
Feldman, Martha
Finger, Stanley
Gallo, David A.
British Journal for the History of Science
Tarikh-e Elm (The Iranian Journal for the History of Science)
History of Psychology
Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society
Perspectives on Science
University of Chicago
University of Chicago Press
Boston University
Johns Hopkins University Press
Reaktion Books
Gangemi Editore
Musical instruments
Music, electronic
Science and music
Music theory
Franklin, Benjamin
Galilei, Galileo
George III, King of England
Haydn, Franz Joseph
Mesmer, Franz Anton
Mozart, Wolfang Amadeus
Time Periods
18th century
17th century
19th century
20th century
16th century
20th century, early
London (England)
Great Britain
Académie Royale des Sciences (France)

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