Norges musikkhøgskole Norwegian Academy of Music
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Sigrid Egtvedt: Flute playing in Norway around 1800.

The project describes the musical practice related to Jacob Aall (1773-1844) and his private collection of flute repertoire.

Field of study: Performance Practice


Title: «I played him to sleep on my flute». A study of musical practice in Norway based on Jacob Aall's (1773-1844) collection of flute music (translated from Norwegian)

Jacob Aall was the owner of Næs Iron Work ("Næs jernverk"), and a politician. Aall played the flute and had a large collection of flute music. This collection is the starting point for the study of musical practice in Arendal around 1800.

The aim of this project is to describe the musical practice linked to Aall's collection of flute music by studying this musical practice in relation to the repertoire in the collection as well as contemporary contextual conditions. This will also provide an example of how the flute was in use in Norway at the time.

Egtvedt has reconstructed the collection as it was described in 1818 and examined traces of musical practice in Aall's home and among the social elite of Arendal's citizens.

Musical practice is studied on an individual and local level, while also describing this musical practice as part of a larger, continental dilettante practice. Egtvedt uses Bourdieu's conceptual apparatus to analyze the material and understand the dynamics of the practice, which is described as a field with given rules of the game, governed by the mechanisms of habitus and capital.

When the collection is understood as part of this musical practice, together with contextual conditions that illuminate how the collection was used, it becomes possible to discuss questions such as: Who played together with Aall? What was the process of music making? What musical skills did the amateur musicians have? Why did the practice cease?

By understanding how the repertoire has been used, the aim is to provide a deeper understanding of an almost forgotten repertoire.

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Published: Oct 17, 2016 — Last updated: Mar 13, 2023