Miss Elena Pons Capdevila

Supervised by

  • Stephen Rose First/primary/lead supervisor


Research interests

I recently finished my PhD thesis on late eighteenth-century keyboard arrangements as published in England and Germany. My research interests are in publishing practices, domestic music-making and the musical classics in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Arranging the Canon: keyboard arrangements, publishing practices and the rise of the musical classics, 1770-1810.

The rise of arrangements was central to musical life in late eighteenth-century Europe. Opera arias were published in piano-vocal scores, symphonies were circulated in keyboard versions, and arrangements were used for entertainment and education, and for the repeated performance of larger works. Because of their nature, arrangements pose a challenge to the work concept as well as to the notion of authorship, contributing to the debates that currently emerge when performance is conceptualized as a source of meaning. Furthermore, the study of arrangements problematizes not only the concept of the 'authentic' text but also the values that support notions of the musical canon.

This thesis aims to investigate various aspects of keyboard arrangements of orchestral and vocal music, in England and German-speaking lands between 1770 and 1810. Firstly, it examines the discourse surrounding arrangements using as evidence numerous unexplored reviews and prefaces of printed music. Secondly, it explores the place of arrangements in economic history and the history of consumption, situating them within publishing practices and music collecting (uncovering an unstudied collection of a female amateur musician, Maria Halsted Poole). Thirdly, the thesis examines the technique of arrangement, exploring the difficulties in balancing fidelity to the original with idiomatic keyboard writing. Finally, it explores arrangements of Haydn music as an example of the confluence of some of the aspects discussed in the rest of the thesis, with particular emphasis on the ways in which Haydn’s music was appropriated for and by English audiences. This thesis shows how the study of the conception and dissemination of arrangements allows for a better knowledge of publishing practices and of the reception history of musical works and offers new ways to analyze the rise of the musical classics.


Teaching Assistant:

A Short History of Music (2014-2015)

Music History Studies (2015-2016)

Other work

Research Assistant:

Open Music Library Project (July-September 2015)

Research Assistant:

British Library / Royal Holloway - Project: A Big Data History of Music (March-September 2014)

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ID: 17725863