Estudos de Música Instrumental: 1755-1840

Project ID: PTDC/EAT-MMU/104206/2008

O projecto científico “Estudos de Música Instrumental, 1755-1840”, enquadrado pela Unidade de Investigação de Música e Musicologia (UnIMeM) da Universidade de Évora com o apoio da Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia, propõe-se estudar

  • fontes e fundos musicais, com consequente catalogação disponibilizada em base digital de acesso livre;
  • os reportórios;
  • a circulação da música e dos músicos;
  • a estrutura dos mercados da música e dos instrumentos em Portugal;
  • os diferentes contextos de apresentação da música instrumental

The instrumental music during the Old Regime has suffered a partial or indirect study, given the greater importance of sacred music and opera in Portugal at this time, which absorbed the majority of musicological research upon this period. In present time, it is therefore urgent to study, in a systematic way, the field of instrumental music during this period. In what concerns the keyboard repertoire of the second half of the 18th Century, the inaccurate bibliographical description and absence of critical studies in Portuguese library and archives has raised some very important questions. In terms of printed keyboard music of this time, we have several sources whose importance justifies his systematic study. We expect that this work will enrich our perception of Southern European Music History in what concerns the keyboard sonata (attributed to Fernandes) and the minuet (attributed to Sá Silva). Concerning musical institutions of the Crown, the research will be oriented towards the following subjects:

  1. The role of instrumental music within the religious ritual at the Royal Chapels and at the Patriarchal Church, including analysis and cataloguing of vocal pieces with peculiar instrumentations (cellos and bassoons obbligatti or wind instruments and low strings) written by A. L. Moreira, J. C. da Silva, A. da S. Gomes e Oliveira, Marcos Portugal, A. Puzzi etc.. The repertoire typical of the Portuguese Royal Chapels in the late 18th century has no parallel in the European musical context. This practice was pursued in Brazil after the arrival of the Royal Family in Rio de Janeiro in 1808;
  2. instrumental music provided by the Royal Band for public official ceremonies, acclamations, royal and religious processions, weddings, baptisms, funerals, and so on. The presence of Military Bands hired by the Court to play in important days will be also considered;
  3. concerts at the different royal venues played by the Royal Chamber Orchestra, chamber ensembles or invited soloists with programs that mix vocal and instrumental music;
  4. finally the private performance of instrumental music by members of the royal family and their training in music and dance as part of their accurate education.

This systematic study should cover two major fields:

  1. the survey and cataloging of a consistent amount of musical sources,
  2. the critical study of the most interesting compositions representing the principal genres of the period.

The critical edition of a representative amount of instrumental repertoire, in an anthology mainly dedicated to keyboard music, will be a major contribution to the actualization of our cultural view about the reigns of D. José, D. Maria I and the period which saw the emergence of Liberalism in Portugal. We also hope that this edition may be a contribution to the renovation of the repertoire. Some of the most relevant sources already identified at the Biblioteca Nacional de Lisboa and Biblioteca Nacional da Ajuda (Alvarenga, Sá Silva) have already been the subject of some partial studies. The research group will systematically identify the relevant sources, digitalize the most important collections and make them available to scholars internationally, through a UNIMeM online database.

Oliveira and Vaz, follow PHD programes focusing on musical philology and critical edition (Universidade de Évora) in Portuguese keyboard instrumental music. In the case of Vaz we underline his practical knowledge of the repertoire, given his reputation as an organist. In our view, it is important to include musicologists who are still preparing their doctoral dissertations and whose degree will be greatly enriched by being included in this project.

The end of the “Ancien Régime” in Portugal was a period of fundamental changes brought about by the import of new cultural practices, including the involvement of women in the promotion of music. It was through instrumental music that the contact was first made with modernity, in a complex context of negotiations that drew their inspiration from the tensions between Luso-Brazilian culture (Nery 2000) and European cosmopolitanism. This project proposes to identify and analyze the various contexts of instrumental music production between 1755 and 1834, specially focusing

  1. the problem of the uses and functions of instrumental music in different contexts and
  2. the processes related to its performance and dissemination. As for the Minuet, the establishment of a significant model with choreographic and musical stability provided the means to its massive vulgarization during the first half of 18th century.

This apparent paradox has stimulated the spread of the minuet as a tool to social mobility, not only in Portugal, but also in other peripheral countries. The confrontation of the actual printed music with some contemporary narratives about musical performances, allows us to detect some tensions within these minuets, as they, not only carry and embody a discourse of an aristocratic and cosmopolitan nature, but also include some obsolete or local features/characteristics that occur as part of the process of his appropriation by the local middle classes.  It is through this last question that we must consider the local edition of manuals for guitar and Portuguese guitar by Portuguese authors from the end of 1780’s. These manuals stabilized and fixed a former repertory of extensive local circulation that was also associated to the theaters  which were incidentally very important to guarantee the popularity of this kind of compositions. Each of these instrumental manuals favored the minuet, considering it as an important resource for social music entertainment events. They were also important tools for progressing in instrumental performance and preparing the player to the technically more demanding sonatas (this is particularly true in Silva Leite’s Book for Portuguese Guitar).

In this case we can consider that the minuet as practice in the 1760’s and 70’s is a sort of preparatory platform, a preparatory gesture to the emergence of instrumental music as a genre with its own functionality. This important role was possible because of the intrinsic cosmopolitan nature of the minuet and its high status. According to this perspective we consider a very important task (attributed to Sá Silva in this project) to focus the minuet in what concerns the study of repertoire circulation, performance context and mutual influence between dance music and instrumental music.

The appearance of new models of sociability and the introduction of new cultural practices and consumerism had a deciding influence on the emergence of the modern age. In Portugal, this process (so far sparsely studied in musicology) is related to the expansion and diversification of the circuits of dissemination of instrumental music that happened in new contexts like private halls or Assemblies of Foreigners (Assembleia das Nações Estrangeiras), where the participation of women had an important role. For instance, in the contexts of private dance and music we know that the instrumental manuals addressed to amateur musicians — and in a large extent to women — as explained by the authors in the presentation texts. The study considering the questions related with gender difference, roles and repertoire in the context of new models of sociability is attributed to Cruz. This study will consider the promotion of balls and concerts (we have important sources in the newspapers of the period), the teaching manuals, music collections and the plays of comic theatre (Teatro de Cordel). These plays have valuable information about the cultural practices of the middle classes in Portugal.

The commercialization and editorial activity specialized in music knows an important development in this period. Albuquerque (2006) made an important catalogue and study of the editorial activity in Portugal, between 1750 and 1834, concerning the commercial routes and its influence in the local taste and is to finish her PHD in this area of studies for the period from 1834 until the end of the 19th century. In continuation of this work it’s expected a further study on the dissemination of instrumental music and a better knowledge of the instrumental repertoire of this period. We consider that her research formation will be greatly enriched by being included in this project.\n With the Napoleonic Invasions in 1807 and the emergence of Liberalism after the first important political confronts in 1820 we observe important changes concerning musical institutions. The decline of the Royal Institutions gives place to alternatives created by musicians like J. D. Bomtempo (1775-1842). The study of this turbulent period will be attributed to Esposito, who has recently finished his PHD Dissertation (2009) concerning instrumental music after 1820. His integration in this research group will allow him the systematic study of the repertoire and orchestral activity.

With these complementary studies the IR, and the research group, expects to achieve a path-breaking history of instrumental music in Portugal between 1755 and 1834. We aim to reveal the cultural type and practice that significantly registers, responds to and reflects the local processes of modernization.