Making Light

Haydn, Musical Camp, and the Long Shadow of German Idealism

Book Pages: 408 Illustrations: 22 illustrations Published: February 2018

Author: Raymond Knapp

Music > Popular Music, Theater and Performance > Theater

In Making Light Raymond Knapp traces the musical legacy of German Idealism as it led to the declining prestige of composers such as Haydn while influencing the development of American popular music in the nineteenth century. Knapp identifies in Haydn and in early popular American musical cultures such as minstrelsy and operetta a strain of high camp—a mode of engagement that relishes both the superficial and serious aspects of an aesthetic experience—that runs antithetical to German Idealism's musical paradigms. By considering the disservice done to Haydn by German Idealism alongside the emergence of musical camp in American popular music, Knapp outlines a common ground: a humanistically based aesthetic of shared pleasure that points to ways in which camp receptive modes might rejuvenate the original appeal of Haydn's music that has mostly eluded audiences. In so doing, Knapp remaps the historiographical modes and systems of critical evaluation that dominate musicology while troubling the divide between serious and popular music.


Making Light will surely spark many fruitful and interesting discussions, and lead to ever clearer and more meaningful ways of looking at performance.” — Michael E. Ruhling, Haydn

“As a writer and thinker, Raymond Knapp is a congenial musicologist—eschewing the obscurities of hard theoretical labor and preferring colorful insights. Highly recommended.” — M. Dineen, Choice

"I recommend Making Light strongly; it is provocative, stimulating and overflowing in original and insightful argument. [Knapp] moves the study of Haydn in a new direction, while developing new ways of understanding how idealistic perspectives on music have shaped the values attached to different forms of music-making." — Derek B. Scott, Popular Music

"A rich and timely study. . . . Readers interested in fresh approaches to Haydn’s catalogue or camp in American musical culture will find Making Light an intriguing study of marginalized musical features across canonic boundaries."
  — Jon Churchill, Current Musicology

"Making Light is a truly provocative book that offers an astounding assessment of Joseph Haydn's legacy in American musical culture. In a sweeping tour de force, Raymond Knapp draws tantalizing parallels between the composer's enigmatic eccentricity and the critical aspirations of high camp. Rich in analytical and historical detail, this timely study argues that Haydn's humane humor prefigured the rebellious impulses that punctured the prevailing aesthetic pretensions of musical idealism by advocating an Aristotelian sense of human flourishing." — Berthold Hoeckner, author of Programming the Absolute: Nineteenth-Century German Music and the Hermeneutics of the Moment

“In this extraordinary book Raymond Knapp touches on just about every repertory in play in musicology, bringing an increasingly disparate and splintered field into a single conversation firmly focused on what really counts in the study of musical life in American society. Knapp's breathtaking scholarship and cutting-edge arguments are sure to create conversation; he makes you want to talk about his book. Making Light is a stimulating and bracing read.” — Todd Decker, author of Who Should Sing "Ol' Man River"? The Lives of an American Song


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Price: $29.95
Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Raymond Knapp is Professor of Musicology and Academic Associate Dean at the Herb Alpert School of Music at the University of California, Los Angeles, the author of The American Musical and the Performance of Personal Identity, and the coeditor of The Oxford Handbook of the American Musical.

Table of Contents Back to Top
List of Musical Examples  ix
Preface  xi
Acknowledgments  xvii
About the Companion Website  xxi
Part I. Approached the Absolute
1. Idealizing Music  3
Part II. Haydn's Difference
2. Entertaining Possibilities in Haydn's Symphonies  53
3. Haydn, the String Quartet, and the (D)evolution of the Chamber Ideal  101
Part III. New World Dualities
4. Popular Music contra German Idealism: Anglo-American Rebellions from Minstrelsy to Camp  137
5. "Popular Music" qua German Idealism: Authenticity and Its Outliers   221
6. Musical Virtues and Vices in the Latter-Day New World  253
Appendix A. More Extended Musical Examples  279
Appendix B. Listing of Video Examples from Films  293
Notes  295
Bibliography  343
Index  367
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-6950-9 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6935-6
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Funding Information

This title is freely available in an open access edition thanks to generous support from the UCLA Library.