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Material Texts: Glenda Goodman (Music, Penn): “Copying Music: The Politics of Amateur Music-Making in 18th-Century America”
Monday, November 21, 2016 - 5:15pm to 6:30pm

Class of 1978 Pavilion
Sixth floor of Van Pelt-Dietrich Library

Please join us Monday, November 21st, for the next meeting of the Workshop in the History of Material Texts. We will convene at our usual time and place: 5:15pm in the Class of 1978 Pavilion in the Kislak Center on the 6th Floor of Van Pelt-Dietrich Library. 

We will be welcoming Glenda Goodman (Music, Penn) for a talk entitled “Copying Music: Print, Provincialism, and Periodicals in the Early American Republic” Glenda writes:

When the American publisher Isaiah Thomas announced his new venture, The Massachusetts Magazine, in 1788, he promised his subscribers a regular supply of newly-composed pieces of music. This was a bold pledge, since most belles lettres periodicals featured compositions that had appeared in print elsewhere, usually from European publications. Thomas’s gamble paid off: the magazine was able to recruit local composers to supply music. What is striking is not just the repertory he secured, but his strategic use of a “new” music printing technology to mark his decisive break with European materials. Thomas advocated for typography and eschewed engraving (the technology used almost exclusively in America heretofore). His success with typographical music printing caught on. Ultimately he helped to start a curious printing revolution in post-Revolutionary America—one that brought back an archaic technology and presented it as vital and new.


This talk comes from my book project, tentatively titled Cultivated by Hand: Labor, Gender, and Amateur Musicians in the New American Republic. The book looks at the material and social practices of amateur music making, drawing on the experiences of a select group of men and women, and in particular, on the manuscript books into which they copied music. My Material Texts presentation is excerpted from the first chapter, which assesses the idea of “copying” music in several guises.

Historical musicologist Glenda Goodman is an assistant professor of music at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on the social and cultural history of music-making in early America, and her articles have appeared in both musicology and history journals (including the Journal of the American Musicological Society, the William and Mary Quarterly, and forthcoming in the Journal of the Society for American Music). Her work has been supported by numerous fellowships and grants, including a dissertation fellowship with the U Penn McNeil Center for Early American Studies and the Mellon Fellowship in Critical Bibliography at the Rare Book School. Glenda’s work has been awarded several prizes, including the Society for American Music’s Wiley Housewright Dissertation Award for her 2012 Harvard dissertation. Before coming to Penn, Glenda was an ACLS New Faculty Fellow in the History Department at the University of Southern California.