Critical networks

Paul Watt, Sarah Siobhan Collins

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    This article examines the idea of ‘Critical Networks’ as a way of studying the relational structures that shaped music criticism in the long nineteenth century. We argue that the personal, insti- tutional and international networks that supported the dissemination of critical ideas about music are worthy of study in themselves, as they can yield insights beyond prevailing methodologies that centre on individual cases. Focusing on the institutional culture of music criticism means looking beyond the work of individual critics and the content or influence of their views, towards the structures that deter- mined the authoritativeness of those views and the impact of these structures in shaping the operation of critical discourse on music at the time. Examining these networks and how they operated around particular periodicals, tracing transnational exchanges of both ideas and critics, and uncovering the various ideological alliances that were forged or contested within critical networks, can not only provide a thicker context for our understanding of historical ideas about music, but it can also challenge current views about the history of our discipline and the kinds of structures that condition our own ideas about music and music history.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3-8
    Number of pages6
    JournalNineteenth-Century Music Review
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2017

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