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Instrument of Enlightenment: A Cultural History of the Pipe Organ in Pre-Revolutionary Eighteenth-Century France

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Author: Wagstaff, Laura Frances
Advisor: Fauvel, Maryse
Committee Members: Leruth, Michael; Payne, Thomas
Issued Date: 2009-05-15
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10288/1220
Description: This honors thesis explores the significance of the French pipe organ within the cultural and historical context of 18th century Paris. As the center of the French Enlightenment, Paris experienced changes including the rise of a ‘public' voice, the development of the public concert, and the questioning of Catholic authority. As a fundamentally liturgical instrument, how did the organ respond to this changing cultural and political climate? Through a study of the presentation and reception of Parisian organs and their music, I will argue that, though the pipe organ was constricted by its place as a religious icon, its music and presence were able to work within these constraints to reflect and contribute to the formation of an Enlightened Paris in eighteenth-century France.
Degree: Bachelors of Arts in Modern Languages

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