Domestic Harmonies: Musical Activity in Southwestern Ontario, 1880-1920

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Morrison, Madelaine E.




This dissertation studies domestic musical activity in Southwestern Ontario between 1880
and 1920. It argues that home musical activity was linked to social, cultural, commercial,
and even political influences in the public realm. Using Toronto, Hamilton, London, and
Guelph as sample communities, it investigates the prescriptive discourses surrounding
music making as well as the more variegated realm of actual behaviour. The structure of
the chapters mirrors the study’s overall argument, moving back and forth over the
culturally constituted public-private divide. The discussion considers the influence of
parlour spaces, gendered prescriptions, ideals of refinement, and the mediating influence
of individual personality and situation. It also examines instrument purchase, music
education, sheet music repertoire, and the introduction of the player piano. The final two
chapters of this study address the Great War’s effect on the status quo, stressing themes
of continuity as well as change in musical practices. The dissertation concludes with a
short summary of the post-war decline of both the Canadian piano industry and amateur
music making in general. Unbeknownst to contemporaries, by the year 1920, domestic
musicianship had passed its peak.


Music - Ontario
Canada - History




Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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