Egalitarian music education in the nineteenth century: Joseph Mainzer and Singing for the Million

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

In the 1840s, massed singing classes lead by charismatic pioneer music educators such as Joseph Mainzer (1801–1851) sprang up across the United Kingdom. Mainzer was a much respected composer, music journalist, and music educator. Born in Trèves (Prussia), he traveled across Europe and settled in Paris, where he was part of the revolutionary Association Polytechnique that offered free education to the working classes. His mass singing classes were a remarkable success but aroused the suspicions of authorities. Mainzer left Paris for political reasons and moved to England, and after teaching across the United Kingdom, settled in Edinburgh. His arrival in Scotland was greeted with a degree of adulation reserved for celebrities. Across Scotland classes were established to disseminate his new system that was taught in larger centers and most small towns. Although Mainzer’s fixed-doh system did not long survive him and the subsequent arrival of the tonic sol-fa method in the 1850s, his work (and that of others) created an environment in which popular singing classes in schools, churches and the community could flourish. Mainzer was a skilled and charismatic educator. He advocated tirelessly for lifelong music education for all. Mainzer has been overlooked and deserves recognition.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Historical Research in Music Education
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 10 May 2019

Keywords

  • Joseph Mainzer
  • nineteenth century
  • massed singing classes
  • fixed-doh system
  • Singing for the Million

Cite this

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