Book Series Speculum musicae, vol. 46

Popular Song in the 19th Century

Derek B. Scott (ed)

  • Pages: 384 p.
  • Size:210 x 270 mm
  • Illustrations:31 b/w, 26 tables b/w.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2022

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-60078-9
  • Hardback
  • Available

The volume focuses on historical and cultural environments of 19th-century popular song


“This is an outstanding collection of essays and should serve as an inspiration for those working on any aspect of nineteenth-century song anywhere.” (Paul Watt, in Music & Letters, 104/2, 2023, p. 315)

“This is an outstanding collection of essays and should serve as an inspiration for those working on any aspect of nineteenth-century song anywhere.” (Paul Watt, in Music & Letters, 14/02/2024, p. 315)




Derek B. Scott, Professor emeritus, University of Leeds, has published extensively on music and cultural history. 19th-century popular music has long been one of his primary research interests. His first book The Singing Bourgeois (1989) focused on the drawing-room ballad in the UK and USA. A later book, Sounds of the Metropolis (2008) argued that the 19th century witnessed a revolution in European and American popular music


Many new and exciting kinds of popular song emerged in the 19th century, and the contributors to this volume place the development and reception of these songs in their social and cultural context. The chapters are grouped into four parts. Part I investigates border crossings: an internationally known gondola song, popular songs in the Southern United States, the impact of American music in Germany, and Brazilian music in Europe. Part II concentrates on public and private spaces: the cabarets of Montmartre, salons in Berlin and Prague, popular songs and the church organ, and theatre songs in Portugal and Spain. Part III takes up the subject of social struggle: German protest songs, Hussitism and Czech songs, and Antebellum American popular songs. Part IV is concerned with matters of cultural identity: songs of Flanders, songs of the Russian ‘Slavic spirit’, urban songs in Greece after the War of Independence (1821), and rural and urban Serbian songs. Taken as a whole, the chapters reveal the importance of understanding different historical and cultural environments when investigating the subject matter, structure and meaning of 19th-century popular song.


Derek B. Scott
Introduction: The New Popular Songs of the Nineteenth Century

Part I: Cultural Transfer

 Henrike Rost
 ‘La Biondina in Gondoletta’: The Transnational Success Story of a Popular Gondola Song
Chloe Valenti
Between Opera and Popular Song: The Transformation of ‘Va pensiero’ in Victorian Britain
Candace Bailey
Opera, Lieder, or Stephen Foster? Popular Song in the Antebellum US South
Tobias Fasshauer
«Wenn das Banjo zittert»: Americanism in Popular Songs of the Wilhelmine Era
Flávia Camargo Toni
The Twenty modinhas for Voice and Piano by Sigismund Neukomm and Joaquim Manoel Gago da Câmara: A ‘Transatlantic’ Partnership

Part II: Private and Public Spaces

Michela Niccolai
Montmartre in Its Songs: Between Café-concert and Cabaret (c. 1860-1914)
Anja Bunzel
Popular Song in the (Semi-)Private Domain? Considering the Nineteenth-Century Salon within the Context of Popular Culture
Eva-Maria de Oliveira Pinto
Popular Songs in the Ecclesiastical Context: Discoveries in European and North American Organ Music of the 19th Century
Catarina Ribeiro Braga
The Portuguese Chansonnette at the End of the Nineteenth Century: The New Popular Song or a Mini-comic Scene?
María Encina Cortizo – Ramón Sobrino
Popular Dance Songs in the 19th Century beyond the Spanish Borders: La cachucha and Las habas verdes

Part III: Social Struggle

David Robb
Popular Protest Songs of the German Vormärz and 1848 Revolution
Viktor Velek
Master Jan Hus and Hussitism as the Subject of Czech Social Songs in the First Half of the 19th Century
Wojciech Bernatowicz
«He’s Gone to Be a Soldier in the Army of the Lord»: Politics in the Antebellum American Popular Song

Part IV: Cultural Identity

 Jan Dewilde
«I Know a Song»: Two Popular Flemish Songs about Singing a Song
 Áine Mulvey
Dialect Verse and Songwriting during the Irish Cultural Revival (1891-1922)
Mirella Di Vita
Pesnja e Romans: The Forms of the Russian Art Song at the Beginning of the 19th Century
Avra Xepapadakou
Popular Song in 19th-Century Greece
Marijana Kokanović Marković
Serbian Popular Song in the 19th-Century: Their Cultural and Social Role

Abstracts and Biographies
Index of Names