Musicology, Diplomacy, and International Networks at the Turn of the 20th Century. Discourses, Practices, Events

Urchueguía, Cristina; Napoli, Alberto; Caceres, Maria; Ottomano, Vincenzina; Körner, Axel; Wade, Bonnie; Escrivá-Llorca, Ferran; Sibille, Christiane (23 March 2017). Musicology, Diplomacy, and International Networks at the Turn of the 20th Century. Discourses, Practices, Events (Unpublished). In: International Musicological Society 20th Quinquennial Congress. Tokyo, Japan. 19.-23.03.2017.

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The birth of musicology as a theoretical discipline coincided with the
professionalization of international academic bodies, most famously in
natural and social sciences, but also in the humanities. While presenting
an important example of transnational exchange, such trend in academic
research was directly affected by intergovernmental relations. The
intersections between the beginnings of musicology as a theoretical
discipline and diplomatic relations will be the object of this round table.
The birth of musicology was closely related also to the formation of
modern nation states in an age of increased global exchanges, with
important implications for the internationalization of the musical
repertoire and the music industry. World fairs and exhibitions, and
international political-commercial initiatives shaped these experiences.
Musicologists felt compelled to compare and put order into a previously
unknown multitude of musical practices. Without overlooking the power
dynamics underlying processes of canon-building, traditionally expressed
with the North-South dichotomy, this round table will contemplate
an extended approach to comparativism. We will introduce an East-West
dialectic, conceived both as a geographical framing – including Europe,
Musicology, Diplomacy,
and International Networks
at the Turn of the 20th Century
Discourses, Practices, Events
Prof. Axel Körner, Chair
Prof. Bonnie C. Wade, Respondent
Dr. Ferran Escrivá-Llorca
Dr. María Cáceres-Piñuel
Dr. Vincenzina C. Ottomano
Dr. Christiane Sibille
Prof. Dr. Cristina Urchueguía, Team Leader
MA Alberto Napoli, Coordinator
Asia, America – and a “longitudinal” exchange among different but equally empowered agents, who evaded fixed hierarchies and learned or profited from one another, continuously questioning the concept of a dominating “center.”
Reflecting the complexity of the subject, our panel will include varied topics and disciplinary perspectives. Considering that the transnational flow of music theory and practice serving power relations has been studied in scholarship from Europe outward, in the first presentation Wade will address the adoption of Western theory and practice as a technology for modern nation-building by the Japanese government in late 19th century.
Ottomano will explore the impact of the early dissemination of Russian music in Paris, focusing on the very close relationship between music, culture and political interests in the diplomatic exchanges between France and Russia after the Alliance franco-russe (1894).
Focusing on international organizations dealing with musical questions in the early 20th century, Sibille will analyze their publications and conferences showing the experts’ efforts to gain political relevance, especially by the standardization of their methodological tools. Escrivà-Llorca will then retrace the turn-of-the-century establishment of music divisions in several important European and American institutional libraries, analyzing the diplomatic and philanthropic actions of specific patrons and curators which constituted their pre-Baroque holdings.
Urchueguía will present a case of direct interaction between politics and musicology, discussing the influence of the Spanish regent María Cristina in the preparation of Spanish contributions to the 1892 International Music and Theater Exhibition in Vienna. Cáceres-Piñuel will then assess the role of Guido Adler in the organization of the same event, and its influence on subsequent discourses about music, particularly those referring to ‘national idioms.’
Finally, analyzing musical events at international exhibitions in fin-de-siècle Italy, Napoli will illustrate that consequent musicological writings reflected negotiations between nationalist narratives and local cosmopolitan aspirations.
Körner will lead the following discussion, as a transnational historian particularly interested in the exchange of knowledge and the role of culture in international relations.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of History
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Musicology

Graduate School:

Graduate School of the Humanities (GSH)

UniBE Contributor:

Urchueguía, Cristina, Napoli, Alberto, Caceres, Maria, Ottomano, Vincenzina, Körner, Axel, Sibille, Christiane


900 History
700 Arts > 780 Music




Vincenzina Ottomano

Date Deposited:

22 May 2017 16:09

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:04




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