Music in London 1800-1851 is a five-year research project (2013- 2018) funded by the European Research Council, based in the Music Department at King’s College London.
The project is headed by Principal Investigator Roger Parker and comprises a team of dedicated scholars, including three full-time research fellows, three research associates, an administrator and a large number of visiting scholars.
Music in London 1800-1851 is an attempt to rewrite the history of music in early nineteenth-century London, emphasising the city’s unique position in European musical culture. In the process it will attempt to create models for an approach to music history that is firmly centred on social and political meanings, and that creates an extensive dialogue between music history and related disciplines. The project’s driving rationale is that musical activity in the city should be addressed in the broadest possible manner and from an interdisciplinary perspective. Subject areas will include common musicological ports-of-call such as concert music, operatic entertainment, chamber music and religious music. But other activities, less often considered, will also be central to the project: the phenomenon of street music; the emerging category of popular music (from ballad-singing and popular theatre to music hall entertainments and promenade concerts); working men’s musical organisations, both choral and instrumental; music education among both elite and non-elite groups; the musical press; music aesthetics and historiography; listening practices; the emergence of ethnomusicology; instrument-making and sound production.
Throughout its five-year programme, the project will host a large number of events, including reading groups and conferences. Reading groups usually take place on a weekly basis, and frequently involve guest participants, often discussing their own work in the field. Conferences occur between four and six times a year, and typically take the form of group discussion of pre-circulated papers. In most cases, the papers are then prepared for publication.