Allison Kessinger Dr.

Stroeher Music 621 15 September 2013 Source Report II “Opera”, 18th Century The New Grove Dictionary of Music This entry describes opera of the 18th century as an intersection of several different intellectual art forms. It provides a history of the subject, and also comments on the 19th and 20th century views of the subject, and their traditional methods of approaching it. The author speaks out against attempting to study 18th century opera as a series of evolutionary connections, saying that this “historiographical convention … imposes an artificial unity on the subject.” The author believes that many see 18th century opera as a mirror of 18th century society and ideals, and as a pre-Enlightenment practice rigorously controlled by the aristocratic class. He asserts that this is not the case, that it was actually an outlet for controversial ideas and fantasies. As opera became more popular, it became a useful tool for the advancement of artistic, intellectual, and political trends, including Enlightenment ideals. Overall, the author seems to view 18th century opera in a very intellectual light, and as a driving force of the promotion of revolutionary thinking. The New Grove provides an extensive bibliography for this entry, and provides a few end notes. Although this entry contains more of the author’s personal bias than the other sources, it is well supported by documentation, and not unreasonable.

it focuses more on the distinguishing characteristics of 18th century opera and of the history of the subject itself. corresponding to the text. Instead of tracing the evolution of all types of opera simultaneously through the 18th century. A majority of the sources used are in English. it seems to approach the subject using the method that the author of the New Grove entry so strongly discouraged. In fact. This seems to indicate an entirely different approach than that used by the first two authors. It treats the progression of opera during this century as a kind of self-contained phenomenon rather than attempting to view it in context of the time period. or differences in interpretation caused by the cultural divide.The New Harvard Dictionary of Music This entry is more fact-oriented than the entry in the New Grove. It is possible that some bias in the article may come from differences in translation. It would be more helpful to the reader if the bibliography were arranged in the same manner as the entry. it is categorized by subgenre and related topics rather than by time period. rather than the society and circumstances that produced it. which seems strange for a music encyclopedia meant for German-speaking reader. While the primary entry in the New Harvard is arranged by time period. the bibliography is arranged by topic. the entry traces each sub-genre and topic through its entire history. as found in the MGG. The bibliography is also arranged by sub-genre and related topics. There is also an inclination to discuss 18th century opera in terms of entertainment value rather than intellectual value. Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart: Allgemeine Enzyklopädie der Musik This entry is arranged differently from the previous two entries. .

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