ABSTRACT

This chapter is an initial attempt to sketch out some possible methods for exploring a topical perspective on texts and performances of music written or arranged for string instruments.1 In the eighteenth century, topics are specific references (military music, hunting, specific dance genres) which can be used dramaturgically to create additional meanings – whether layers of irony, emotional complication, or social comment. An examination of topics in historical performance reception, or of the performing instructions added to musical texts in the manner so characteristic of the nineteenth century, has not hitherto been attempted. Hentschel and Kreutz have begun to explore this, but from the point of view of an empirical study in music psychology, mapping written reactions to music onto a range of printed nineteenth-century sources.