Wednesday, April 27, 2016

"Exotic" Songs and Tunes in European Publications 1577-1830


The early decades of the 19th century saw a new enthusiasm for what was called national airs, or - in Germany - "Volkslieder" or "Nationalgesänge". Collections of songs and tunes began to appear and these also included a not inconsiderable amount of - mostly - original music from the more "exotic" places of the world, from the Americas, Asia, Turkey and the Levant, sometimes even Africa and Oceania but also from the European periphery, for example Finland, Russia, the Balkan and Greece (see in this blog: "Melodies of Different Nations": Anthologies of International "National Airs" in Britain 1800-1830 & "Ausländische Volkslieder" in 19th-Century Germany - Some Important Collections 1829-1853).

Where did the editors get these tunes? An important source were reports, ethnographies and histories by travelers, voyagers, missionaries and scholars about foreign and "exotic" countries. These books appeared in Europe in great numbers since the 16th century. It was an immensely popular genre that offered a wealth of information about all parts of the world, the people that lived there and their culture. Some of these works even included original and more or less "authentic" music. Of course the term "authentic" should not be understood in the sense of modern ethnomusicology. What European observers had transcribed and then published may have been only a "pale reflection of the original" (Miller & Chaironpot 1994, p. 138, about one Siamese song in a French book). How much these tunes and songs really were a representation of the real music of those peoples is another question that can't be discussed here. But they were regarded as such.

This seemed to me a very interesting topic. I wanted to know what exactly was available to European readers. What was published, how much musical examples were included in these kind of books? What was used, what was reprinted and republished and what became part of the popular music tradition. Therefore I tried to put together a bibliography of European publications from the 16th century to circa 1830 that included songs or tunes from outside of Europe and from the European periphery. This means: not descriptions of musical performances or musical instrument - that was quite common - but actual music in staff notation. A preliminary version of this bibliography is now ready and is available, but at the moment only at Google Docs:  
The following text is a short overview, a kind of introduction to this topic. 


What was available at that time to Europeans interested in foreign, "exotic" music? Not much, to be true! What was collected and published from the 16th to the early 19th century would fit neatly in a small booklet. For example in the 200 years between Columbus' arrival and the beginning of the 18th century nine original tunes - or better: fragments of tunes - from the Americas were published in only three different books: five from Brazil in 1585 in the third edition of Jean de Léry's Histoire d'Un Voyage Faict en la Terre du Brésil (1585, pp. 159, 173, 279, 286-7), three from Canada in Marc Lescarbot's Histoire de la Nouvelle-France (1617, pp. 728-9) and one more "Chanson Canadoise" in Marin Mersenne's Harmonie Universelle (1636, Vol. 1, pt. 3, bk. 3, p. 148). That was all! Until the year 1800 only 13 more pieces of music - in five different publications - became available (calculated from Stevenson 1968 & 1973, Levine 2002). That is not much, especially if we take into account the great interest for the "New World" and the considerable number of relevant books published during that time. But this was still more than what was collected in other parts of the world. 

From Africa two very fragmentary "tunes" were published during the 18th century: one in Peter Kolb's Caput Bonae Spei Hodiernum (1719, p. 528) and the other in Anders Sparrmann's Resa till Goda Hopps-Udden (1783, Vol. 2, p. 766). More would follow only several decades later, at first in Bowdich's Mission from Cape Coast Castle to Ashantee (1819, pp. 361-9). For a long time one lone song from Persia was available for Europeans, the little piece in Jean Chardin's Voyages en Perse, et Autres Lieux de L'Orient (1711, here Vol. 2, plate No. 26). Only in 1818 German orientalist scholar Joseph von Hammer added one more song in his Geschichte der schönen Redekünste Persiens (p. 272) and in 1842 Alexander Chodzko included 9 tunes in the Specimens of the Popular Poetry of Persia (pp. 583-92). 

Whoever was interested in original Chinese music had to make do with the five melodies in du Halde's Description Géographique, Historique, Chronologique, Politique, et Physique De L'Empire de la Chine et de la Tartarie Chinoise (1735, Vol. 3, pp. 265-7) as well as one single air in the Gentleman's Magazine (27, 1757, p. 33). More would be published only since the 1790s. Tunes from India were first printed not earlier than 1789 in William Hamilton Bird's Oriental Miscellany (available at the Internet Archive) but this publication then set off a big fashion for "Hindostannnie Airs" (see Woodfield 1995, pp. 281-95). 

The countries from the European periphery did not fare much better. In fact for a while it was easier to find Chinese tunes than original music from Finland or the Baltic. The first Finnish tunes were published in 1798 respectively 1802 by the Abbé Vogler and the travelers Acerbi and Skjöldebrand (see in this blog: The Collection and Publication of National Airs in Finland 1795-1900). Very early examples of Latvian and Estonian tunes can be found in Friedrich Menius' Syntagma de Origine Livonorum (1635, see the reprint in Scriptores Rerum Livonicarum II, 1848, p. 525) but more original music by Baltic peasants was only made available much later, in 1777 and 1782, by Pastor Hupel in his Topographische Nachrichten von Lief- und Ehstland (Vol. 2, suppl., Vol. 3, suppl.).

Even modern Greece music was very difficult to find, as Forkel complained in 1788 in his Allgemeine Geschichte der Musik (I, p. 443). The first one to publish an authentic tune had been - only 12 years earlier - Pierre Augustin Guys in his Voyage Littéraire de la Gréce ou Lettres sur les Grecs, Anciens et Modernes (1776, Vol. 2, p. 41). Forkel reprinted this one as well as a few others that had come to light in the meantime (pp. 449-51). 

What was the problem? It was not that the Europeans were not interested in "exotic" music. A lot of music happened to be available that pretended to be "exotic", but it was all created by Western composers (see f. ex. Locke 2011 & 2015 about "exoticism"): from a Ballet des Indiens or a Mascarade de Sauvages performed at the French court in the early 17th century (see Pisani, Chronological Listing, 2006) to an "Egyptian Love Song" by Welsh bard Edward Jones, published in one of his earliest collections, The Musical Bouquet; or Popular Songs, and Ballads (1799, p. 4). The production of "exotic" music was a time-honored tradition. Only original and "authentic" music was somewhat rare and not that easy to find. 

Besides that: western music was brought to the remotest parts of the world. It followed the voyagers, conquerers, the colonists and the church. Musicians on ships performed for the natives (see Woodfield 1995, pp. 95-113). In Mexico music for the church was already printed in the 16th century (Stevenson 1968, pp. 173-93). In Virginia the settlers sang psalms with a local chief, as was reported by Thomas Harriot in his Briefe and True Report of the New Found Land (1588, f. E4v; Stevenson 1973b, p. 400). In Finland the people were taught continental hymn tunes which of course then pushed aside their old traditional songs (see f. ex. Haapalainen 1976). 

But it seems that this was most of the time more or less a one-way street and very little music from other parts of the world found the way to the cultural centers of Western Europe. In many cases travelers, voyagers or missionaries simply didn't bother that much about the real music of the people they visited. It was not a particularly important topic and many of these writers offered at best some casual remarks or superficial observations. Not at least what they wrote about music - if the wrote anything at all - usually only made up a small, often negligible part of their work. Very few of them were trained musicians who would have been able to note a tune they had heard. 

For example only half "of the extant descriptions of early Siam by Europeans [...] mention music to some extent, from a mere passing reference to a complete chapter". Of the 21 sources from the 16th to the 18th century that have references to Siamese music only two included original music, one song each: Nicolas Gervaise's Histoire Naturelle et Politique du Royaume de Siam (1688, foldout after p. 130 [not scanned correctly]) and Simon de la Loubére, Du Royaume de Siam (1691, after p. 206). More Siamese tunes would only be published nearly 150 years later by Captain James Low in a series of articles about the History of Tennasserim in the Journal of the Asiatic Society (Vol. 4, 1837, pp. 51-4; see Miller & Chonpairot 1994, p. 8, pp. 138-54).

In Germany appeared since 1747 a series in 20 volumes, Allgemeine Historie der Reisen zu Wasser und Lande: oder, Sammlung aller Reisebeschreibungen (most Vols. available at the Internet Archive). This was a kind of representative compilation of the most important travel reports. The texts were all translated from the English and French. We can look at the Index in the last volume (p. 605) and see that there are only 20 references for the term "Musik". That is not much for such a massive collection and in most cases music is only mentioned in passing. And there is only one report that includes tunes in musical notation: the reprint of du Halde's Description about China (Vol. 6, plate after p. 312). 

It was also a problem that many travelers were not particularly open-minded and that kept them from conducting further research. Robert Lyall from England went to see - among others - the Tartars in the Crimea. In the book about his Travels (2 Vols., 1825) we can find several remarks about their music. In one town he once heard the "sonorous, but harsh sound of music in a Tartar coffeehouse [...] two violins, held like a violoncello, and a tambarine [sic!], regaled us during our stay with the most inharmonious music" (Vol. 2, pp. 245-6). In another place he had to listen to music played on an instrument similar to the guitar but it "possessed neither regularity nor harmony; the vocal music seemed [...] to consist in strong nasal sounds, which were most distressing to our ears" (p. 332). Mr. Lyall also received some information about the Tartars' cultural life from a "gentleman" who had lived there for a long time and "was familiar with their language, customs, and manners". About songs he was only told that "they have many; but the use of them is confined to the common people. They are amorous, and often licentious" (p. 350). 

In fact some European visitors simply did not like what they heard. There was a certain snobbishness and a belief in the superiority of European music. Many commented on what they regarded as backwardness, especially on the lack of polyphony and harmony as well as the non-existence of musical notation. Sometimes the verdict was particularly harsh. Baptiste du Halde in his Description noted about Chinese music that "it is at present so imperfect that it hardly deserves the Name" and the accompanying five tunes were added as a proof of its shortcomings (quoted from Engl. ed., 1742, Vol. 3, p. 65). But of course du Halde had never been in China. He simply edited the many reports sent by Jesuit missionaries living there. Several decades later another Jesuit, Jean-Marie Amiot, expressed a much better opinion of Chinese music in his Mémoire Sur La Musique Des Chinois, Tant Anciens Que Modernes (Paris 1779, at the Internet Archive). 

English traveler Edward Daniel Clarke was very disappointed with Finnish music. From the remarks in his Travels (1819, p. 503) we can see that he in fact did some real research. But he didn't feel able to ascribe "any thing beyond a mere humdrum to the national music of the Finns" which he thought was "confined to a few doleful ditties". 

A particular interesting case was Hinrich Lichtenstein (see Wikipedia), a physician and scholar from Germany who lived and traveled in Southern Africa between 1803 and 1806. His Reisen im südlichen Afrika were published in two volumes in 1811 and 1812 and an English translation quickly followed in 1812 and 1815. Dr. Lichtenstein was a very educated man and also a good observer as well as a trained musician who would have been able to write down some original music. But he didn't. In fact he wasn't really fond of what he heard there, for example in case of one tribe he happened to come across (Vol. 1, p. 464; Engl. ed., Vol. 1, p. 280): 
"In der Musik sind sie weit zurück [...] Ihre Melodien sind einem musicalisch gebildeten Ohre unerträglich und ihr Gesang ist ein unerträgliches Geheul". 
But we can find here some interesting bits of information. For example he saw a woman playing "a sort of guitar made of half the rind of a gourd scooped out, with a rough touch-board fastened over it, along which were drawn four strings" and she "produced accords [...] which could not without great difficulty have been produced from any of our own stringed instruments" (Vol. 1, p. 150; quoted from Engl. ed., Vol. 1, p. 94). In the second volume there is an discussion of the "extraordinary intervals" used in tunes and he also called for further research into this field: 
"This is a matter worthy the investigation of future travellers, and the Cape offers a rich field in this respect to an experienced inquirer, since the various slaves from different nations [...] have each their own peculiar melodies, with intervals not in any way adapted to our diatonic scale" (pp. 549-51; Engl. ed., Vol. 2, pp. 338-9). 
In fact a not inconsiderable number of relevant publications offered valuable information about the music of foreign cultures: about instruments, performances and their contexts, and much more, occasionally with helpful illustrations. This is - even without musical examples - still an "an important resource for the ethnomusicologist" (Woodfield 1995, p. 267; see the many examples in: dto., pp. 286-80; Stevenson 1968 & 1973a & b for America; Miller & Chonpairot 1994, p. 8 and passim for Siam; Bartens 2002 for Lapland; also Harrison 1973).


Many writers included the words to one or more songs in their books. That was a little bit easier than trying to transcribe a tune. French writer Michel de Montaigne didn't even need to travel to America. He met some Brazilian natives in France and interviewed them. This inspired him to his famous essay No. 30, "De Cannibales" where he quoted translated fragments of a love song and a death song (Essais, 1580, here pp. 323-5; Engl. ed., 1603, pp. 105-6). But neither he nor anybody else thought of noting the tunes. Nor did William Strachey who quoted in his Historie of Travaile into Virginia Britania (1612, here new ed., 1849, pp. 79-80; see Stevenson 1973b, p. 402) some lines from a "a scorneful song they made of us the last yeare at the falls, in manner of tryumph" after they had killed some English sailors. He also noted that the natives had "their erotica carmina, or amorous dittyes [...] which they will sing tunable enough", but, naturally, refrained from quoting from any of these songs. 

Inca Carcilaso de la Vega, Spanish chronicler of Peruvian origin - his mother was said to be an Inca Princess - , quoted the words of two old songs in the original language and Spanish respectively Latin translation in his Commentarios Reales (1609, Libro 2, Cap. 17; quotes from Engl. ed., 1688, here pp. 50-1). One of them - "Pulchra Nympha/Frater tuus" - he had borrowed from the now lost writings of the legendary Blas Valera and the other one, "four Verses of an amourous Song" - a fragment only - he remembered from his youth. For the latter he even knew the melody but refrained from including it: "the tune also I would gladly set down, but that the impertinence thereof may easily excuse me". It seems that his snobbish readers wouldn't have appreciated such an example of original Inca music. 

Several decades later Professor Scheffer from Uppsala secured the words of two Lapp joiks for his famous Lapponia (1673, pp. 282-5), Petrus Bång, professor of theology in Åbo, published a "Bear Song" by the Finns or Lapps in Swedish and Finnish language in the Historia Ecclesiae Sveo-Gothicae (1675, pp. 213-4) and Christian Kelch included one Estonian song - both the original text and a translation - in the Liefländische Historia (1695, pp. 14-5). But these pieces would have been even more valuable if they had been able to add the melody. The same can be said about Pastor Philipp Ruhig who offered some Lithuanian songs in his Betrachtung der Littauischen Sprache (1745, pp. 75-8). Jonathan Carver, the adventurous American traveler, described in his Travels in the Interior Part of North-America a "plaintative melancholy song" by an American Indian woman bemoaning her dead husband and child. He quoted some lines but apparently was no expert for music and we have to do without the tune (1778, pp. 405-6). 

Some of these texts became part of the European literary tradition. In 1682 Daniel Georg Morhof discussed in his Unterricht von der Teutschen Sprache und Poesie (here new edition, 1700, pp. 374-82) not only one of Scheffer's Lapp songs and the Finnish "Bear Song" but also de la Vega's "Pulchra Nympha". German Poet Ewald Christian Kleist translated Montaigne's Brazilian love song ("Verweile, liebe Schlange", 1755, here in Sämmtliche Werke II, 1803, p. 150) and later even Goethe wrote his own versions of both of Montaigne's pieces and published one of them (in Ueber Kunst und Altertum 5.3, 1826, pp. 22-3; see Düntzer 1875, pp. 185-6). 

But it was Johann Gottfried Herder who brought it all together and set a standard with his - at first anonymously published - Volkslieder (2 Vols., 1778-9, at the Internet Archive), the truly multi-cultural and universal anthology of international national songs. Here we can read the old texts from Peru and Lapland as well as many others, for example from Greece, the Baltic and even Greenland. The latter is particularly interesting. Danish merchant Lars Dalager had heard a death lament there and published the words - translated into Danish - in his Grønlandske Relationer (1752, p. 46). The Moravian missionary David Cranz added a German translation to his Historie von Grönland (1765, p. 303; also Engl. ed., 1667, p. 239). It is not clear if this was a speech or really a song. In Cranzen's book it is called both a "Klage-Rede" and "Klage-Lied" (dto.). Nonetheless Herder was apparently glad to find something from such an exotic location and borrowed it for his own collection (II, 1779, pp. 128-9). 

All these "exotic" texts - and of course also Herder's Volkslieder that only included words but no music - had one major disadvantage. These were lyrics of songs but nobody knew how they were supposed to sound. Therefore sometimes new tunes were made up by European composers who wanted to turn these pieces into songs again. For example the English translation of one of the Lapp texts from Scheffer's Lapponia was set to new music - in England only, not in Germany or France - at least half a dozen times (see in this blog: "Orra Moor" - A Song from Lapland in England and Germany). 

Jonathan Carver had included an "extremely poetical and pleasing" oration performed for a dead chief in his Travels (1778, pp. 399-400). This was not a song at all nor was it really "authentic". His text was derived from one in an older publication, the Baron Lahontan's Memoires de L'Amerique Septentrionale (1703, pp. 151-2; Engl. ed., 1703, pp. 51-2). But poet Friedrich Schiller got hold of the German edition of Carver's book (1780, here on pp. 334-5). He was very impressed by this text and turned it into a "ballad" which was then published first in 1798 in the Musen-Almanach (pp. 237-9) as "Nadowessische Todtenklage" (summarized from Jantz 1959). This piece then found also the favor of some composers, among them Johann Bernhard Hummel who set Schiller's ballad to new music (in 12 Deutsche Lieder, 1799, pp. 6-7). Interestingly Hummel's version also became known in England. Benjamin Beresford translated Schiller's text and included this "North-American Death-Song" in one of his anthologies, the Collection of German Ballads and Songs (1800, pp. 22-3). 

Scottish physician Mungo Park explored Africa from 1795 to 1797. In his Travels (1799, p. 198) he quoted some lines from a song performed by the locals while they were at work. It "was composed extempore; for I myself was the subject of it [...] the air was sweet and plaintive". For some reason he refrained from transcribing this particular tune. But back at home he gave these fragmentary lines to a "Lady, who is not more distinguished for her rank, than for her beauty and accomplishments", the Duchess of Devonshire, who then versified them. This poem was "set to music by an eminent composer", G. G. Ferrari and the resulting song then included his book (see Appendix). 

Composer Thomas Haigh apparently liked one particular poem in Joseph Carlyle's Specimens of Arab Poetry (1796, pp. 65-6). He composed a tune and this song was then published as "Leila. A Ballad" (c. 1800, available at the Internet Archive). More similar examples could easily be added. But here we can see how the lack of original music and the interest in and fascination with "exotic" topics and texts inspired European composers to come up with their own ideas of how such songs should sound. 


While there was a decent amount of information about music and even an interesting selection of songs without the tunes only very few pieces of original music found their way into European books. Here a chronological overview is useful. From the 16th century we have only two examples: de Lery's five Brazilian tunes (1585) and one lone Arab melody. That one was published in 1577 by Spanish musicologist Francisco de Salinas in his De Musica Libri Septem (p. 339; see Stevenson 1968, p. 122, Pedrell 1899, p. 392). But it was not much, in fact only a little fragment that could have been from anywhere. 

In the early 17th century three more publications followed and I have already mentioned them: Lescarbot with the three Canadian songs in 1617, French musicologist Mersenne with one more tune from Canada in 1636 as well as Menius' Latvian and Estonian melodies in 1635. Then there was nothing new for more than half a century. Of course some interested scholars may have collected something. Italian composer Pietro della Valle traveled through the orient from 1614 to 1626 and claimed to have made "a very curious collection of Persian, Turkish, Arabian, and Indian tunes, wholly different from those of Italy, both in time and intervals" (Burney II, p. 532) but this was not published. 

The Jesuit missionaries in North America showed considerable interest in the culture of the locals and their reports also included a lot of interesting information about their music, for example descriptions of performances (see f. ex. the Relations 1655 & 1656, pp. 67-76; Jesuit Relations 42, pp. 114-126; see Crawford 1967). Father Dablon reported in the Relations for the years 1671-1672 that he had heard some "very tuneful airs" sung "in excellent harmony" while being with the Illinois in Wisconsin (in Jesuit Relations 55, pp. 204-5). The year 1681 saw the publication of a book that included a report of Father Marquette's famous journey to the Mississippi in 1673. Here (p. 27; also in: Jesuit Relations 49, p. 136) we can find some interesting remarks about the songs of the Illinois as well as the first line of one of them: 
"Voicy quelqu'une des Chansons qu'ils ont coutume de chanter, ils leur donnent un certain tour qu'on ne peut affez exprimer par la Notte, qui neanmoins en faite toute la grace.

Ninahani, ninahani, ninahani nano ongo". 
In this case the tune was also transcribed - most likely by Father Dablon in 1671, who then interpolated this paragraph into Marquette's report - and the blank space on the page suggests that the printer may have forgotten to include it. Thankfully the manuscript with the song including the melody survived for nearly 200 years in the archive and was then first published only in 1861 in a new edition of Marquette's Voyages (in: Mission du Canada, p. 273, see also p. 240; see also The Jesuit Relations 59, p. 311, n. 29, pp. 294-99; Hamy 1903, p. 136; Stevenson 1973, pp. 18-21, Lindsay 2002, No. 4, pp. 7-8). 

But at least some original "exotic" music was printed at the end of the 18th century: the two above-mentioned Siamese songs in the books by Gervaise (1688) and de la Loubère (1691) as well as two rather obscure contributions. Matthias Zimmermann included a "Tarantella" in his Florilegium Philologico-Historicum (II, p. 757), an early encyclopedia. This little piece was even reprinted by Edward Jones in his Maltese Melodies (p. 38), a nice collection with tunes not only from Malta but also from other countries that was published in 1807. Job Ludolphus, a German diplomat and scholar, added three very fragmentary pieces of music to the Commentary (1691, p. 263) to his own Historia Aethiopica (1681, see here book 2, ch. 18; Engl. ed., 1684, pp. 236-7). These were no songs at all but - if I understand it correctly - they were used for singing petitions to the king of Ethiopia. 

After the turn of the century some important publications offered more relevant music even though the European scholars and travelers still showed a certain reluctance: until the 1760s only 10 works including original tunes became available. But among them were some of the most influential of this genre: Chardin's Voyages with the Persian song (1711), du Halde's Description with five Chinese melodies (1734) as well as Thomas Shaw's Travels or Observations Relating to Several Parts of Barbary and the Levant (1738, p. 272) with six Arab tunes. Only since the 1770s - the era of Ossian had just begun - more would be published and one gets the impression that from then on visiting scholars and explorers showed a little more interest for the music of the people they encountered. 

But most of the time not much was collected and we still have to make do with fragments. Johann Reinhold Forster accompanied Captain Cook on his second expedition between 1772 and 1776. We can find a little bit of information about Polynesian music in the book written about this journey by his son, the Voyage Around the World published in 1777. He even was able to add some tunes. James Burney, son of musicologist Charles Burney - he had started a career as a Navy officer and also took part in the expedition - transcribed for him some of what they heard the locals singing. But the result of their efforts looks somewhat disappointing: less than 10 bars of music found their way into this book (here Vol. 1, p. 429, Vol. 2, pp. 467-8; see also Agnew 2008, pp. 92-103; Irving 2005).

Very few of these scholars and writers did some real research. In most cases there were only one or two tunes, often fragments. Music remained a negligible topic in the context of these publications. Among the few who offered more than the usual fare was for example Johann Georg Gmelin (1709-1755, see Wikipedia). He happened to be the first one to collect and publish songs from Siberia. Gmelin, professor for chemistry and natural history in St. Petersburg, took part in the Great Nordic Expedition from 1733 to 1743. His Reise durch Sibirien, - a very fascinating work - was published in four Volumes in 1751-2. 

When he had to spend some time in Krasnojarsk he came upon the idea to study the music and poetry of the different peoples living there. Therefore he asked for songs to be performed for him and selected some to be transcribed. Five of them can be found in his book, all of them with the tune, the original text and a translation (Vol. 3, pp. 369-74, p. 475, p. 522). This was an excellent documentation, much better than what many other travelers were able to deliver. But it was not everywhere appreciated. The French edition (1757, pp. 105-10) only included the texts and left out the music. 

Of course there also existed manuscripts of unpublished music. But they were not available to the wider public. I may mention for example one important selection of original Peruvian songs. They were collected by Baltasar Jaime Martínez Compañón, the Bishop of Trujillo, during the years 1782-85. 20 songs and tunes can be found his report sent back to Spain. Only a century later four of them were printed (see Congreso Internacional de Americanistas, 1882, pp. LXI-LXXX; Stevenson 1968, pp. 313-21).


With the small but slowly growing body of "exotic" music available to Europeans some musicologists began to show more interest for this topic. In France both Rousseau with the five tunes in his Dictionnaire de Musique (1768) and Laborde with the great amount of tunes - mostly taken from the older travel literature - that he included in his Essai sur la Musique (1780) did some pioneering work (see in this blog: "Exotic" Tunes in Rousseau's Dictionnaire (1768) & Laborde's Essai (1780)). Michel Chabanon wrote about the "Chansons des Sauvages" in his De la Musique (1785, pp. 393-396) and was able to offer four formerly unpublished musical examples from North America. He had received these pieces from  a French officer who had spent some time there. 

During these years several ground-breaking works discussing music from outside of Europe were published, but all of them not by musicologists but by learned "outsiders". I have already mentioned the Jesuit missionary Amiot who wrote a comprehensive treatise about Chinese music (1779). Both the Austrian officer and scholar Sulzer (1781, Vol. 2, pp. 430-547) and the Italian literature historian Toderini (1787, Vol. 1, pp. 222-52) added substantial chapters about Turkish music as well as some musical examples to their books. And of course one should not forget to mention the English jurist, orientalist and linguist Sir William Jones whose short article "on the Musical Modes of the Hindus" in the third volume of the Asiatick Researches in 1792 (pp. 55-87) set the starting-point for further research into Indian music. 

In Germany it was Johann Nicolaus Forkel who studied music from outside of Europe. For example he reprinted the relevant parts from Forster's and Niebuhr's books including the musical examples in his Musikalisch-Kritische Bibliothek (2, 1778, pp. 306-320). But in the Allgemeine Geschichte der Musik (Vol. 1, 1788) he made use of only a few of the available sources. At least he knew Ludolphus' three Ethiopian tune fragments (p. 94). Forkel's important bibliography, the Allgemeine Litteratur der Musik (1792, at the Internet Archive) included chapters about foreign music but he clearly missed a lot of what he could have used. 

The legendary Abbé Vogler, performer, composer and musicologist, preferred to collect the tunes himself and he even traveled as far as North-Africa (Vogler 1806, p. 24). In fact he may have been the very first professional musician who made what would be called today a "field-trip". In his Pieces de Clavecin faciles (1798) we can find - besides a Chinese tune - also a "Romance Africaine" as well as an "Air Barbaresque" from Morocco (p. 6, pp. 20-2). Vogler was also the first to promote African tunes in Europe and he played these pieces in his spectacular organ concerts (see in this blog: Polymelos - Abbé Vogler's Collections of National Airs (1791/1806)). 

But the most comprehensive collection of "exotic" music in Germany was Fritz von Dalberg's expanded edition of Sir William Jones' little treatise about Indian music (1802, at the Internet Archive; see in this blog: "Exotic" Airs in Germany - Dalberg's "Ueber die Musik der Indier"). Dalberg - a multi-talented scholar deeply influenced by his friend Herder - was familiar with many of the relevant publications like for example Chardin's, Shaw's, Forster's and Amiot's important works and he included 50 tunes, not only from India, but also from Arabia, Persia and China. He did more than any other German musicologist of this era to further the knowledge of non-European music and his anthology would serve as a major source for "exotic" tunes for the next several decades. 

At the same time in England the musicologists showed a certain reluctance to discuss this kind of music. Charles Burney was very interested in exotic national music (see Agnew 2008, passim; Irving 2005) but he refrained from writing about this topic in his General History of Music (1789). But on the other hand: London had become the capital of multi-cultural music and nearly everything was available there. German musicians and scholars like Vogler and Dalberg had felt the need to travel to England to get access to more sources. Most of the relevant travel literature appeared there and scholars like William Ouseley with his Oriental Collections (1797-1800, at the Internet Archive), a short-lived but very important periodical, added more to the growing body of exotic tunes and songs. 

But - and that is an important difference to France and Germany - so-called national music was not so much regarded as an academic topic: every relevant collection included arrangements for pianists or other instrumentalists so that the these tunes and songs could be played and sung at home. Today scholars tend to complain about these arrangements and the resulting adaptation to the contemporary musical taste and the technical abilities of the amateur musicians. But this was music for practical use and the people were supposed to play it. Playability and singability were more important than any kind of "authenticity" in the modern sense. 

In fact national airs - even those of the more exotic kind - became an important part of the popular music of that time. Already in the 1780s Domenico Corri - an Italian composer and publisher living and working in England and Scotland - had included a Persian song in the third volume of his Select Collection of the Most Admired Songs, Duetts, Etc (p. 44). It is not clear where he got this piece but it looks as if it could really be an original song from Persia. At least it fit nicely to all the other national songs from Scotland, Ireland, Wales and Western Europe he offered in this volume. Of course William Hamilton Bird added arrangements for piano and guitar to the Oriental Miscellany, his collection of tunes from India (1789). Karl Kambra - a German musician working in England - published Two Original Chinese Songs. Moo-Lee-Chwa & Higho Highau, for the Piano Forte or Harpsichord (c. 1796, at Harvard UL) and did his best to render them  "agreeable to the English Ear". 

A particular interesting example is an unidentified songbook (available at the Internet Archive) - the title-page is missing but it was most likely published between 1802 and 1810 - that offered an intriguing but not untypical mixture of music. Here we can find a standard collection of English, Scottish , Irish and Welsh national airs and even some from the Orkneys. But the editor - whoever that was - also added German, French, Russian and Venetian songs as well as some popular hits with an exotic topic like "Let the Sultan Saladin" (No. 46) and "Death Song of the Cherokees" (No. 60), the latter one of the first popular songs imported from the USA. But besides these there are also two "authentic" original pieces: the "Runa of the Finlanders" (No. 34) from Acerbi's Travels Through Sweden, Finland, And Lapland in The Years 1798 and 1799 (1802, here Vol. 2, p. 325) and a "New-South Wales Song" (No. 36) with original text , "The Air & words brought over by an Officer from N. S. Wales". This was the very first published original song of the Australian Aborigines (see Skinner, Checklist 1801-10, 1802: Wahabindeh bang ha nel ha). 

At around the same time two important collections of international national airs appeared in England. Welsh composer and harper Edward Jones had already published ground-breaking works about Welsh music as well as some several anthologies of popular songs. He would become industrious publisher and arranger of foreign national tunes (see in this blog: Edward Jones & His Collections of National Airs (1784-1821)). His first collection in 1805, the Lyric Airs, included "Specimens of Greek, Albanian, Walachian, Turkish, Arabian, Persian, Chinese, and Moorish National Songs and Melodies" (available at the Internet Archive). This was of course a kind of a mixed bag and apparently he used what he had at hand at that time. But an anthology like this, exclusively dedicated to "exotic" music, hadn't been been available before in Britain.

Musicologist William Crotch published his Specimens of Various Styles of Music referred to in A Course of Lectures, read at Oxford & London in 1809 (available at the Internet Archive). He had a more systematic approach, but - as the title says - he used to hold lectures about national airs. There is a helpful introduction where he names most of his sources. The greatest part of this anthology - the most comprehensive overview of this genre at that time - was of course made up of airs from the British Isles. But he added music from many European countries as well as a considerable amount of tunes of more exotic origin, from Africa, Asia and America. In this respect he could compete with both Laborde's and Dalberg's collections. But unlike them he arranged all these pieces for piano as it was common in England at that time. This was not only a scholarly publication like Laborde's and Dalberg's but a collection of music for the people to play. 

Both Jones and Crotch were clearly familiar with most of the relevant older literature including Rousseau's Dictionnaire and especially Laborde's Essai that served as important sources for them. But they also added a considerable number of formerly unpublished tunes to the available repertoire, some from manuscripts and others from informants: both foreigners living in England and English collectors who had been abroad or at least had access to foreign sources. Jones for example "wrote down the Melodies" of two Turkish tunes "from the singing of Mouhammed Sidky Efendi, Charge d'Affaires of the Sublime Port" (p. 32) and received a Chinese melody from "a Gentleman, who resided some time in the English Factory, at Canton" (p. 29). Already in 1793 he had transcribed a song from the singing of two Australian aborigines who had made it to England and were living in his neighborhood. But it took him nearly 20 years until he published this piece in 1811 in his Musical Curiosities (see Skinner, Checklist 1756-1800, 1793: Barrabula; see also Engel 1866, pp. 26-7 & Bonwick 1870, p. 33). 

In Crotch's anthology we can for example find the first-ever "Malay tune" published in Britain (No. 323, p. 155) although in this case he didn't name his source. But one may assume that he received it from someone who had been there. Crotch was also supported by John Baptist Malchair, a musician of German origin living and working in Oxford who had become an expert collector of national airs. Malchair himself apparently knew a lot of people who supplied him with songs and tunes (see Wollenberg in Harrison 1998, pp. 41-2), even some from more far-away places: he helped out Professor Crotch with music for example from the Balkan and Canada (see Specimens, pp. 12-3). 

Following the ground-breaking collections of Scottish music by George Thomson (since 1791) and Thomas Moore's very successful Irish Melodies (since 1808) the British music fans were then supplied with collections of "Melodies" of all kinds and from around the world with new English poetry. Thomas Moore himself also jumped on the band-wagon. His Popular National Airs - published since 1818 - included tunes from half of Europe - at least he claimed so - as well as some from outside of Europe. He even managed to reanimate an old tune from Hamilton Bird's Oriental Miscellany and turn it into a great popular hit: "All That's Bright Must Fade" in the first volume of this collection (pp. 9-15, see in my blog: From Calcutta to Tübingen - Thomas Moore's "All That's Bright Must Fade"). 

But not everybody was happy with this great fashion for exotic foreign tunes. In 1821 William Knyvett, composer, singer and an expert for glees, also tried his hand at this genre. He published "Bid Me Not Forget Thy Smile", a song with a "Persian Melody". At least he claimed so. But the reviewer in the Harmonicon (1, 1823, p. 18) felt it necessary to comment on this publication with a somewhat nasty remark: 
"[This] song is exquisitely tender and beautiful [...] But why call it a Persian air? If it be his own, he ought not to refuse himself the credit which it does his taste; and he must be too well-read a musician to believe seriously, that, thouigh the melody may have been offered to him as of oriental origin, it ever owed its birth to a country where the art is in so perfectly barbarous a state".
Robert Archibald Smith from Scotland, editor of the Scottish Minstrel and the Irish Minstrel, followed in Moore's footsteps and put together his own collection of international national airs. The Select Melodies, with appropriate Words, Chiefly Original, Collected and Arranged with Symphonies and Accompaniments, were published in 1828 (available at the Internet Archive). Besides the standard fare - songs from Britain and continental Europe - he of course had to add some of a more "exotic" kind. For example there were several from India as well as a  "Moorish Melody" and a "Turkish Melody" (p. 5, pp. 45-6, pp. 70-1, 49-50). It is not clear if these were really original tunes. He didn't name his sources. 

Mr. Smith also included "The Persian Minstrel" (pp. 22-3) and a "Song of the Persian Bride" (pp. 67-9). Both tunes are credited to composer John Thomson. In fact these were not original Persian tunes but only songs with an exotic topic. But besides these there is also "Best Melody, of the Nile" (pp. 36-7) that he claimed to have received from "a Gentleman who noted it in the spot when in Egypt". One may say his collection was a typical mixture of original, possibly original as well as pseudo-exotic tunes. But it also shows that these kind of "exotic" songs - no matter if they were "authentic" or not - were regarded as an important segment of the popular music market. 

On the other hand several new publications by British travelers and explorers appeared that offered important additions to the already available body of non-European music. Most "exotic" among these were surely the 8 songs in John Martin's Account of the Natives of the Tonga Islands, in the South Pacific Ocean (2nd ed., 1818, Vol. 2, pp. 324-7). This book was based on the information received from an Englishman, William Mariner, who had spent a couple of years there and apparently had gone native. 19 African tunes - the biggest collection so far - can be found in T. E. Bowdich's Mission from Cape Coast Castle to Ashantee (1819, here after p. 365). Songs and tunes from Southeast Asia- until that time another blank spot on the musical map of the world - were published both by Thomas Stamfords Raffles in his The History of Java (1817, Vol. 1, after p. 470) and by John Crawfurd in the History of the Indian Archipelago (1820, Vol. 1, plates 10-12, see Brinner 1993). 

Even the musicologist took note of some of these publications. There were a couple of articles in the music press about music from outside of Europe. Bowdich's findings about African music were reported in a three-part article in the Harmonicon (2, 1824, pp. 195-8, pp. 219-21; 3, 1825, pp. 6-8) and the same magazine also offered articles about the music of the Eskimos and the Burmese (2, 1824, pp. 61-2; 5, 1827, pp. 131-3) as well as one presenting the "Chorusses of the Persian Dervishes" (1, 1823, pp. 185-91), the latter translated from the German. 

Meanwhile in France the most comprehensive treatise on Arabian and North-African music had been published. In 1798 Napoleon Bonaparte set out to invade Egypt. He was accompanied by a great number of scholars who had the task to research everything about this future part of the French empire. The war ended with an embarrassing defeat, Egypt did not become part of the French empire and Napoleon sneaked out of the country back home. But the French scholars, among them musicologist Guillaume Villoteau, proved to be immensely successful and delivered sterling work. The famous Description de l'Égypte appeared in 23 volumes between 1809 and 1828 and a second edition came out in 37 volumes between 1821-1830 (see Wikipedia). 

Villoteau's work about  the music in Egypt, De l'État Actuel de l'Art Musical en Égypt, became available in 1809 (in: État Moderne, Vol. 1, pp. 607-846, at the Internet Archive; 2nd ed., 1826, at NB, Oslo). Based on his fieldwork he discussed and described the musical culture of all the different peoples living there and included a considerable number of tunes and songs. In fact it was at that time the biggest collection of original music from this part of the world. As an additional benefit these pieces were not noted by an amateur collector but by a professional musicologist. One may say it was the first ethnomusicological study of "oriental" music. 

Besides this groundbreaking publication there were also a few more books in France that included some music from outside of Europe. Botanist Michel Étienne Descourtilz took part in the revolution in Haiti (1799-1803) and found even some time to note a song, a "Dialogue Créole". It was published in the third volume of his Voyages d'un Naturaliste (1809, pp. 132-6, planche XIII & XI). Members of Nicolas Baudin's expedition to Australia  transcribed three indigenous tunes in 1802. But they were only published much later, in 1824 in the second edition of the Voyage de Découvertes aux Terres Australes, edited by François Péron and Louis de Freycinet (here Atlas, p. 32; see Skinner, Checklist 1801-1810, 1802: An exchange of songs and Musique des naturels). This Atlas also included several Malayan and Chinese tunes collected on Timor (p. 45). Louis de Freycinet made his own trip around the world from 1817 to 1820 and also brought back some music, for example tunes from Mozambique that were published in 1828 in one of the many volumes of his Voyage Autour du Monde (Historique 1.2, pp. 403-4). 

In Germany it became a little bit quiet after the publication of Dalberg's great work in 1802. Some composers followed in the Abbé Vogler's footsteps and used original exotic tunes in their works, for example Carl Maria von Weber, who included the Chinese melody from Rousseau's Dictionnaire in the Ouverture of his music for Turandot (Op. 37, 1809, see Jähns, No. 75, pp. 87-9; Veit, pp. 232-42). But there was still a certain skepticism among musicologists about the quality of non-European music. Dalberg had even been criticized by reviewers for being too positive about Indian music (AMZ 5, 1803, p. 297; NADB 86, 1804, p. 50). Christian Friedrich Michaelis wrote about "die Musik einiger wilden und halb cultiviertern Völker" in the AMZ (16, 1814, col. 509-515, 525-30). He knew much of the relevant literature but still remained rather dismissive. 

Occasionally there was an interesting article in the music press. W. Tilesius, one member of the Russian officer Krusenstern's journey around the world, sent back two very exotic pieces to his friends at home: a bear dance from Kamchatka and a "Menschenfresser-Lied" from an Isle in the pacific. This was duly published in the AMZ (7, 1804-5, pp. 261-71). The same journal also made available the above-mentioned songs of the Persian Dervishes, transcribed by the Abbé Max Stadler (AMZ 24, 1822, pp. 693-7 & Beilage No. 3). An excellent report with many musical examples from Mexico by a German migrant appeared not in the AMZ but in Cäcilia (7, 1828. pp. 199-222; 8, 1828, pp. 1-24, at the Internet Archive). 

Otherwise very little new "exotic" music was printed in Germany during that time. There was a German translation of Villoteau's great treatise, but unfortunately without the many musical examples (available at the Internet Archive). Orientalist Joseph Hammer added one single tune to his Geschichte der schönen Redekünste Persiens (1818, p. 272). The only publications of real importance were the Reise nach Brasilian by scholars Spix and Martius (1823, here Vol. 1, Musikbeilage) and Carl Erdmann's Beiträge zur Kenntniß des Innern von Rußland (Vol. 2.1, 1824, Anhang, pp. 1-18). Both books included a considerable number of musical examples. Spix and Martius had collected music of both the Brazilian Indians and "Volkslieder" of the urban population of European origin. Erdmann - a German physician working in Russia - offered tunes and songs by the Kalmyks, Tartars, Armenians and others from the more remote parts of the Russian empire. 

Who really appreciated this kind of music and welcomed all this exotic tunes and songs - both from outside of Europe and from the European periphery - were the admirers and editors of national airs - "Volkslieder" or "Nationallieder" - who just like their colleagues in England arranged them for practical use and included a few examples in their collection. Very influential in this respect was Professor Thibaut in Heidelberg, a jurist, music theorist and conductor of an ambitious choir (see Baumstark 1841). He dedicated one chapter in his famous Ueber Reinheit der Tonkunst to what he called "Volksgesänge" (2nd ed., 1826, pp. 74-93). 

Here he recommended this genre's study and also its performance. He himself arranged "Volkslieder" from around the world - even some of a more exotic kind - for his own choir. This arrangements with new German texts can be found in his manuscript called Alte Nationalgesänge (1820-40, see RISM). Besides songs from Europe - from Scotland to Italy - he also included some tunes for example from India, Arabia, Turkey and the South Pacific. Thibaut managed to acquire a significant collection of songbooks (see dto., pp. 81-93; Verzeichnis, pp. 42-3), among them for example Horn's Indian Melodies. But of course he was familiar with Dalberg's anthology, his major source for non-European tunes. He also pointed to the importance of travel literature as a source and knew at least some of the relevant literature, for example Spix' and Martius' book about Brazil as well as some of the more obscure publications about the European periphery. 

Wilhelm von Zuccalmaglio (see Yeo 1993, pp. 79-90; Yeo 1999, pp. 45-50) and Eduard Baumstark both knew Thibaut and sang with his choir. They used his resources for their Bardale. Sammlung auserlesener Volkslieder der verschiedenen Völker der Erde, the very first anthology of international national airs published in Germany (1829, available at the Internet Archive). All songs were arranged for piano and vocals and they added German texts. They included a good amount of tunes of non-European origin: there were songs described as Persian - originally from Chardin -, Indian, Turkish, Moorish - one of Shaw's pieces -, Armenian and Chinese, most of them borrowed from Dalberg. Besides these they also also added songs from the more exotic places in Europe, like Lithuania, Greece, Russia and Spain. In fact this was a well-selected collection of international "Volkslieder" but unfortunately not particularly successful.

Hermann Kestner from Hannover - collector of books and private scholar (see Werner 2003/4; Werner 1919) - also had sung with Thibaut in Heidelberg. He built up a great collection of songs and songbooks from around the world and would become the greatest German expert for foreign national airs. It seems he knew most of the relevant literature. But very few of his arrangements and translations were published. Most of his work has survived in manuscripts, for example one called Vermischte Volkslieder und Melodien fremder Völker (c. 1831, see RISM). 

Friedrich Silcher in Tübingen, editor of Ausländische Volksmelodien (4 Vols., 1835-41, available at the Internet Archive), the most successful collection of foreign national airs in Germany, happened to be much less adventurous. He confined himself to two Indian songs from Thomas Moore's Popular National Airs (Vol. 1, No. 6; Vol. 2, No. 5) as well as the Persian song from Hammer's Geschichte der schönen Redekünste (Vol. 2, No. 10). His friend and translator, future poet Hermann Kurz, recommended to him some very exotic tunes from the Pacific and Southeast Asia - for example from Celebes, Java, Borneo, Tahiti and New-Guinea - that he had found in a recently published book about Oceania, a part of the series called Welt-Gemälde-Gallerie oder Geschichte und Beschreibung aller Länder und Völker, ihrer Religionen, Sitten, Gebräuche u. s. w. (1837, pp. 86-88, at the Internet Archive; see Bopp, p. 103). But Silcher didn’t use them and preferred to concentrate on European tunes, particularly those from Thomas Moore's publications.


We can see that at this point - in the 1830s - that still only few examples of music both from outside of Europe - and from the European periphery - were available. There was no systematic research - Villoteau's work was an exception - and what was published were often enough mere curiosities. The collection of these kind of tunes and songs always depended on the interests and abilities of those travelers and explorers. Only very few were able and willing to note some music and if they did most of them - just like their colleagues in the previous century - confined themselves to at best one or two pieces of music. 

But some more musicologists began take note of these sources and, following in the footsteps of Rousseau, Laborde, Dalberg and Villoteau, they widened their perspective. William C. Stafford included interesting chapters about non-European music in his History of Music (1830, at the Internet Archive). Apparently the publisher couldn't afford to print some musical examples. Nonetheless it was a well-written and informative book, "a very sincere attempt at writing a universal history of music" (Bor, p. 60). French and German translation appeared quickly, in 1832 (at the Internet Archive) respectively 1835 (at the Internet Archive), as usual with additions and corrections by local experts. But at least in Germany they were able to add some music, for example some of the tunes from Rousseau's Dictionnaire (Tafel 1-11). 

Gottfried Wilhelm Fink also discussed non-European music and offered selected musical examples in his interesting but rather fanciful Erste Wanderung der ältesten Tonkunst (1831, at the Internet Archive). But I don't get the impression that he was familiar with all available literature and sources. Somewhat disappointing in this respect was Becker's Systematisch-Chronologische Darstellung der musikalischen Literatur von der frühesten bis auf die neueste Zeit (1836), an otherwise excellent bibliography of music literature. For some reason he missed out a lot of the relevant literature (see cols. 26-7, 66-7, 06-7, 99-101). 

Kiesewetter's Musik der Araber (1842, at the Internet Archive) was a groundbreaking attempt at describing and discussing Arabian music and he made use of most of the available sources from Shaw - via Laborde - to Villoteau and Lane's recently published Account of the Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians (1836, Vol. 2, pp. 80-93, p. 116). Meanwhile in France J. Adrien de la Fage included long chapters about Chinese, Indian and Hebrew music as well as a lot of helpful examples in his Histoire Générale de la Musique et de la Danse (1844, at BDH, see tunes in the Atlas). August Wilhelm Ambros discussed non-European music in a chapter about "Die ersten Anfänge der Tonkunst" in the first volume of his Geschichte der Musik (1862, pp. 3-125). 

But most important in this respect was surely François-Joseph Fétis from Belgium, a highly accomplished and very industrious musicologist. In the first three volumes of his Histoire Générale de la Musique (5 Vols., 1869-74, at the Internet Archive) he systematically described and analyzed music from outside of Europe. He included numerous musical examples from around the world and was clearly familiar with nearly all available sources, especially with most of the music published in the travel literature since the 17th century. "Fétis' approach [...] was that of an antiquarian and an encyclopedist" (Bor, p. 61) and what he offered was a repository of world music, in fact nearly all the non-European music made available until the 1860s. One may say that he was the legitimate successor of Rousseau and Laborde. 

We can find similar attempts, though on a smaller scale, in other music histories. I will only mention Felix Clément's beautifully illustrated Histoire de la Musique depuis les temps anciens jusqu'a nor jours, published in 1885 (available at the Internet Archive). He also dedicated much room to the more exotic cultures and also offered a considerable number of musical examples. Here we can see how much had changed in the course of a century, since Burney's or Forkel's histories. In so far the - often reluctant - efforts of travelers and explorers to write down bits and pieces of the music performed by the peoples they visited had a practical effect and what they brought back has inspired the musicologist to look closer. 

Among the folklorists and the editors of collections of "Volkslieder" or national airs two need to be mentioned. They were responsible for the most comprehensive overviews of the genre. Carl Engel, a German musician and scholar living and working in England, wrote two very interesting books, both more theoretical surveys. His Music of the Most Ancient Nations, Particularly of the Assyrians, Egyptians and Hebrews (1864, at the Internet Archive) was not only a historical treatise, as the title suggests, but also included - for comparative purposes and with the necessary musical examples - discussions of non-European tunes of more recent times, for example from China and India. The Introduction to the Study of National Music (1866, at the Internet Archive) offered a great amount of examples of both European and non-European national airs from all the relevant sources as well as an excellent bibliography. Later, in 1879, a critical bibliography followed, The Literature of National Music (available at the Internet Archive):

In 1870 the best and definitive collection of national airs from outside of Europe appeared, not in England or Germany but in Denmark. Danish composer and scholar A. P,. Bergreen published the second edition of his great anthology of international national airs - Folke-Sange og Melodier, Fædrelandske og Fremmede - in 10 volumes from 1860 to 1870. The first 9 volumes were dedicated to songs from nearly all European countries while the last one included music from outside of Europe, or, as the title says: Folke-Sange og Melodier Fra Lande Udenfor Europa (1870, available at the Internet Archive). Here we can find 120 different instrumental and vocal pieces, starting with Hebrew and Arab songs and ending with music from the South-Sea, all arranged for piano. The original words were also included and in most cases Danish translations were added. 

Of course this was a collection in the old style, the music made agreeable to European ears by arrangements in the Western style. But nonetheless an anthology like this had not only a practical value - "exotic" tunes as part of domestic musical entertainment - but there was also a pedagogical impetus. It was clearly intended as a kind of documentation of the music of non-European cultures and one should not underestimate its value in this respect. Berggreen added interesting notes and comments that helped the readers to learn a little bit more about this kind of music. The selection was excellent and thoughtful. He knew most of the relevant literature and sources, both older and more recent publications, and even dug out some rather obscure works that had until then not been used by editors of these kind of anthologies. He even was able to use some formerly unpublished pieces he had received from informants, for example some songs from Greenland (Nos. 87-94). 

Engel's and Berggreen's works were notable for their systematic approach and their scholarly ambition. But one may also say that they - as well as the music histories in the style of Fétis - suggested the end of an era. Their sources were for the most part the amateur collectors who had added one or two, rarely more, songs or tunes to their books about foreign cultures. This rather naive exploration of "exotic" music would soon be replaced by the critical look and the systematical field research of the ethnomusicologists and comparative musicologists who set out to collect "authentic" recordings of the music of foreign and faraway cultures. In 1885 Guido Adler in an article about Umfang, Methode und Ziel der Musikwissenschaft referred to "Musikologie, d. i. die vergleichende Musikwissenschaft [...] ein neues [sic!] und sehr dankenswertes Nebengebiet" (p. 14, see Bor, p. 50). 

Good examples for this development were Theodor Baker's dissertation about the music of the North American Indians (1882, at the Internet Archive) that included more than 40 songs and tunes, most of them transcribed by Baker himself and Franz Boas' report about the Central Eskimo in the 6th Annual Report of the Bureau of Ethnology (1888, pp. 399-666, here pp. 648-58), a groundbreaking treatise that also discussed their "Music and Poetry" and offered a considerable number of musical examples. 

Both Baker and Boas had still notated the tunes by ear and hand. But then of course the introduction of the phonograph and its use for ethnomusicological research changed everything. One may only look at Stumpf's Anfänge der Musik (1911, at the Internet Archive) and compare it with the works by Fink, Ambros or Fétis to see the difference. Stumpf also criticized the unreliability of the the music noted by amateurs (pp. 69-73; see also Stumpf 1886, p. 405). Nonetheless all these "amateur" collectors since de Léry had laid the groundwork for modern ethnomusicology at a time when most musicologists preferred to look down on non-European music. This old corpus of "exotic" music remained an important and valuable source that was and is still discussed (see f. ex. Wallaschek 1893 & 1903 Tiersot 1903 & 1905; modern examples: Harrison 1973, Bor 1988, Miller & Chonpairot 1993 etc). 

But that also meant that this kind of music disappeared behind the walls of academia and left the living-rooms of the amateur-musicians who used to sing and play Chinese or Indian or perhaps even African tunes, no matter if they were only a "pale reflection" of their authentic sound and shape. At least some remainders of this tradition survived for a while and some more similar collections of foreign "Volkslieder" in the old style were made available. Some of them - not all, of course, see Reimann 1894 and Elson 1905 - offered a few non-European songs and tunes. German composer Hans Schmidt published in 1879 a small collection of "Weisen fremder Völker", arranged for the piano and with new poetry. Besides a couple of European tunes - from Romania, Italy, Norway, Russia and Latvia - he also included some from outside of Europe, one from Egypt and an Arab dance (available at the Internet Archive). 

In 1896 Breitkopf and Härtel brought out a Volksliederbuch (available at the Internet Archive) by the late Victorie Gervinus (1820-1893), a respected music scholar. This collection of German and foreign "Volkslieder" was compiled posthumously from her personal manuscripts. These were the songs she used to sing at home, with her family and friends. Besides many of the popular standards from Germany, Ireland, Scotland and other European countries - like "Robin Adair" and "The Last Rose of Summer" - we can find here also a couple of pieces of a more "exotic" origin like three songs from India (pp. 34-7) and two versions of "Mizmoune", the "Moorish Aria" published in Shaw's Travels in 1738 (No. 55-6, pp. 60). These were mostly the tunes brought to Germany by Dalberg and then arranged and supplied with German texts by Thibaut, Zuccalmaglio and Baumstark as well as Kestner. Some Indian songs had already appeared in her instruction book for singing and piano playing published in 1892 (No. 36, p. 164 & No. 64, pp. 192-3).

In England it was Alfred Moffat, the industrious and knowledgeable editor of several volumes of English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh "Minstrelsy" (available at the Internet Archive) who tried his hand - together with James Duff Brown - at a comparative collection of international songs: The Characteristic Songs and Dances of All Nations (available at the Internet Archive) were published in 1901 and the title of course recycled the old key idea of the ideology of "national music". 

This anthology included many songs from the British Isles and continental Europe but also a considerable amount of music from other parts of the world: two "North American Indian Airs" (p. 195), two "Canadian Indian Airs" (p. 203), both taken from Crotch's Specimens, apparently one of his major sources. One of these tunes happened to be the "Chanson Canadoise" first published by Mersenne in 1634 and then recycled as "Dance Canadienne" in Rousseau's Dictionnaire. The chapter with "Songs and Dances from Africa" offered once again Shaw's "Mizmoune" (p. 222) and there were also chapters with music from "Asia and Oceania" as well as "China, Japan and Siam". Mr. Moffat did not always name his sources but most of what he included looks quite familiar. 

10 years later composer Granville Bantock put together an anthology with the title One Hundred Folksongs of all Nations for Medium Voice (1911, at Sibley Music Library). He also included circa 20 examples of non-European songs and it seems that he relied heavily on Berggreen's collection which is quite often referred to in the helpful notes. At least he offered a more modern selection. Some of these pieces were taken from recent publications like Bourgault-Ducoudray's Trente Mélodies Populaires de Grèce et d'Orient (c. 1890s, at the Internet Archive). Just like Moffat he also added an excellent bibliography. 

Some of Bantock's arrangements were reprinted in singer Marcella Sembrich's My Favorite Folk Songs (1918, at the Internet Archive). Her collection also included a couple of songs of more exotic origin, for example the Chinese "Moo-lee-hwa" (p. 21), the old classic first published by Karl Kambra in 1796 and by John Barrow in his Travels in China (1804, pp. 316-7). Here it was placed - in a truly multi-cultural way - between a Bosnian song and "Barbara Allen" . She also offered some songs of the North-American Indians (pp. 1-5) as well as two from Syria respectively Turkey (pp. 135-6). 

Collections like these were frowned upon by musicologists. Max Friedlaender (1919, p. 63) was quite dismissive about Zuccalmaglio's and Baumstark's Bardale: "Für uns sind ihre Notierungen fremdländischer Volkslieder jedenfalls ohne wissenschaftliche Bedeutung". Carl Stumpf complained that the music in these kind of anthologies was "modernized beyond recognition and provided with a piano accompaniment for sweetly singing parlor ladies and unimaginative composers (1911, p. 109, my transl.). But there is no need to ridicule this genre. It represented a kind of naive but serious adoption and appropriation of "exotic", music. As long as there was an ever so slight connection to a foreign culture it was regarded as authentic. The new generation of ethnomusicologists disagreed but that didn't matter much. But at the same time this music became part of the European culture, it was both foreign and familiar. This was much in the spirit and tradition of Herder and all these collections - from Vogler to Sembrich - were in some way musical equivalents to his multi-cultural Volkslieder

On the other hand one should not overestimate the quantitative aspect. It was not that everybody was singing and playing African, Chinese or Siamese tunes and songs. As I already have noted: not much was collected and even less found its way into popular song- and tune-books. Much of it remained a curiosity and only very few imports from outside of Europe became part of the popular tradition. We may look for example in Hamilton's Universal Tune-Book, a "Collection of the Melodies of all Nations" that was published in two volumes in 1844 and 1846. This anthology consisted for the greatest part of tunes from the British Isles - Scottish, Irish, Welsh and English - and also included a considerable amoput of melodies from the European countries. But there were only very few from outside of Europe, like a "Persian Dance" and a "Chinese Air" (Vol. 1, p. 31, Vol. 2, p. 67).

In fact only one song with an exotic tune became a great hit: Thomas Moore's "All That's Bright Must Fade" with the Indian air from Hamilton Bird's Oriental miscellany. Other melodies from India were quite popular in England during the early years of the 19th century and some even survived for some time. For example in Davidson's Universal Melodist (Vol. 1, 1853, p. 392, p. 421 ) two songs from Horn's Indian Melodies were reprinted. Otherwise only very few original songs and tunes had a longer life-span, like the Chinese "Moo-lee-hwa", the "Mizmoune" from Shaw's Travels and Chardin's Persian song. These pieces were published - sometimes in new arrangements - a little more often. The rest remained obscure. I assume that a fabricated pseudo-exotic song like the "Death Song of the Cherokees" was surely better known than nearly all the original non-European music. 

There was so much enthusiasm for and so much interest in "exotic" cultures and for the new world discovered by Europeans. There were so many relevant books published about nearly every part of the world: histories, ethnographies, travel reports, translated literature and more. Also European composers were busy producing "exotic" sounds. Compared to that imported original music still took a back-seat and remained always only a very small part of European musical life. This is something I was really surprised about. 
  • Go to the Bibliography [preliminary version] (Google Docs) 

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