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date: 22 January 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter looks into the ways forms of domestic music making encouraged certain modes of listening. Musical intimacy develops and is nurtured among close friends or lovers in a social space of openness and trust. Such an intimate space unfolds in the physical staging of bourgeois private settings: in the typically cozy and cushioned interior of the nineteenth century, often enhanced by dimming lights, as witnessed by documents from the Mendelssohn family, among others. Such a setting allows musicians and listeners alike to indulge freely in “true” musical values. Musicians shun outward virtuosity and listeners concentrate on the music, often developing emotions, associations, and so on in close interdependence with the music. Listening intensely to music arguably originated in such settings, and it was only later transferred to public audiences, such as in the chamber concert. Musical intimacy could also encourage confidential discussion about music, as found in Johannes Brahms’s correspondence.

Keywords: bourgeois private settings, Chamber music, domestic public sphere, Elisabeth von Herzogenberg, Fanny Hensel, Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, history of emotions, Johannes Brahms, musical intimacy, private sphere

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