About the Book

The Orchestral Revolution: Haydn and the Technologies of Timbre

Emily I. Dolan, University of Pennsylvania
Cambridge University Press

The Orchestral Revolution explores the changing listening culture of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Delving into Enlightenment philosophy, the nature of instruments, compositional practices, and reception history, this book describes the birth of a new form of attention to sonority and uncovers the intimate relationship between the development of modern musical aesthetics and the emergence of orchestration. By focusing upon Joseph Haydn’s innovative strategies of orchestration and tracing their reception and influence, Emily Dolan shows that the consolidation of the modern orchestra radically altered how people listened to and thought about the expressive capacity of instruments. The orchestra transformed from a mere gathering of instruments into an ideal community full of diverse, nuanced, and expressive characters. In addressing this key moment in the history of music, this book demonstrates the importance of the materiality of sound in the formation of the modern musical artwork.

Table of Contents


1  Lessons at the ocular harpsichord

2  The idea of timbre

3  Haydn, orchestration, and re-orchestration

4  The republic of sound

5  The real museum of musical works

6  Abuses of the orchestra

Epilogue: orchestral alchemy