Researching Victorian music journals

'Music', in Victorian Periodicals and Victorian Society, ed. J. Don Vann and Rosemary T. VanArsdel (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994), pp. 99–126

More than 200 music journals were published in Britain over the course of the 19th century. In the same period, most daily and weekly newspapers carried a regular column on music, while monthly magazines and quarterly literary reviews published much of the best music literature available, in the form of essays and book reviews. As a window on changing ideas and musical practices by people of more than one social rank, periodicals offer an unrivalled look into the past.

How does a modern reader access all this material? More crucially, how can we measure any one source against such a huge mass, weighing its value and meaning?

This chapter lays out the field, exploring literary types, modern research tools and information sources, suggesting research questions that might guide future work. Also included is an annotated list of fourteen key music journals, with a guide to UK and US libraries holding complete hard copies.

'superb bibliographical survey … indispensable for future music research'

Cyril Ehrlich and Dave Russell, Journal of Victorian Culture

Historic press material on music reflects literary publishing traditions such as anonymous or pseudonymous writing and dependence on trade support from the bookselling industry. Studying it reveals how music journalism developed as a profession and how specialist music readerships were fostered across the 19th century.

The full book is available in paperback here.

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