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The Player Piano and the Edwardian Novel
Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science, Contexts and Cultural Boundaries (KK).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4453-945X
2015 (English)Book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In her study of music making in the Edwardian novel, Cecilia Björkén-Nyberg argues that the invention and development of the player piano had a significant effect on the perception, performance and appreciation of music during the period. In contrast to existing devices for producing music mechanically such as the phonograph and gramophone, the player piano granted its operator freedom of individual expression by permitting the performer to modify the tempo. Because the traditional piano was the undisputed altar of domestic and highly gendered music making, Björkén-Nyberg suggests, the potential for intervention by the mechanical piano’s operator had a subversive effect on traditional notions about the status of the musical work itself and about the people who were variously defined by their relationship to it. She examines works by Dorothy Richardson, E.M. Forster, Henry Handel Richardson, Max Beerbohm and Compton Mackenzie, among others, contending that Edwardian fiction with music as a subject undermined the prevalent antithesis, expressed in contemporary music literature, between a nineteenth-century conception of music as a means of transcendence and the increasing mechanisation of music as represented by the player piano. Her timely survey of the player piano in the context of Edwardian commercial and technical discourse draws on a rich array of archival materials to shed new light on the historically conditioned activity of music making in early twentieth-century fiction.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Farnham, Surrey: Ashgate, 2015. , 222 p.
Keyword [en]
English fiction, music technology, media, innovation, gender
National Category
General Literature Studies Engineering and Technology Music
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-28400ISBN: 978-1-4724-3998-7 ISBN: 978-1-4724-3999-4 ISBN: 978-1-4724-4000-6 OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-28400DiVA: diva2:816875
Available from: 2015-06-04 Created: 2015-06-04 Last updated: 2015-08-25Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf