17 May 2018 from 16:15 to 18:00

Utrecht Colloquia in the Musicologies 2017-18

Lecture by Frank Hentschel : Historical Music Psychology: The Case of the Hymnic

Beethoven piano concerto 3 cadence (Original score)
Beethoven piano concerto 3 cadence (Original score, Wikimedia)

Frank Hentschel (University of Cologne) will hold a lecture titled Historical Music Psychology: The Case of the Hymnic. Below you will find the abstract. 

We take music’s expressive power for granted. Yet, for musicological research this aspect poses many puzzling problems. One of them is how to approach the effect of music historically since satisfactory sources about music’s emotional qualities are rare and test persons cannot be involved. Also, I’m very cautious of transferring results of recent music psychology or cognitive musicology back to the 19th century. Therefore, if we would like to understand the expressive qualities of music as experienced by its contemporary listeners, we are in need of a kind of historical music psychology.

In my paper I’ll try to present a method inspired by systematic musicology, yet clearly being historical that hopefully offers a solution to that problem. By way of example I will concentrate on musical sections that I call ‘hymnic’ and on their contemporary perception. The works stem from Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Bristow, Saint-Saëns, Tchaikovsky and many other composers. In a final step I’ll ask for possible reasons for the dissemination of the ‘hymnic’ in 19th-century-music drawing the attention to contemporary historical events linking the expression type of the ‘hymnic’ to nationalism, religion and imperialism.

Frank Hentschel

Frank Hentschel studied Musicology, Philosophy and German Literature in Cologne and London, then being fellow of the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes. From 1995 to 1999 he was “Wissenschaftlicher Mitarbeiter” at the Thomas-Institut at the University of Cologne. After obtaining his PhD in 1999 he was “Wissenschaftlicher Assistant” at the Musicological Institute at Free University Berlin. He received awards for his master’s as well as for his PhD theses. In 2003/2004 he was visiting scholar at Harvard University Cambridge, MA, with a Feodor Lynen-scholarship of the Humboldt-Foundation. After his “Habilitation” at FU Berlin he became Associate Professor at the University of Jena (2007), then at the University of Gießen (2007-2011). In 2011 he was appointed Full Professor at the University of Cologne. Since 2017 he is member of the Academia Europaea.

His research areas embrace medieval music and mostly music theory, music of the 19th and 20th centuries, including film music. In particular he is focussing on social, political and ideological meanings and workings of music. Also, he is especially interested in questions of methods and theory of science. More recently, a focus on the history of emotions emerged.


Upcoming event 

Colloquium Dr Kyle Devine (University of Oslo) on 7 June 2018, 4.15 pm Janskerkhof 13 - Stijlkamer (0.06). Information t.b.a.

Start date and time
17 May 2018 16:15
End date and time
17 May 2018 18:00