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Christina Bashford
University of Illinois (Champaign, IL 61801-3620)
Forgotten Voices, Hidden Pleasures: Violin Culture in Britain, c. 1870-1930

Research and writing leading to a book about the cultural history of violins and violin-playing in Britain, from 1870 to 1930.

My project identifies and rehabilitates a vigorous violin culture in Britain, c.1870-1930, through broad historical analysis of the practical and conceptual presence of the violin family there. The surge in musical activity, stimulated by newly affordable instruments, was underscored by changing social and cultural values that broke longstanding barriers of gender and class, and it was advanced by a growing commercial and educational infrastructure. It also endured, impacting the British compositional tradition and multiple performance spheres. Violin culture’s spread and vitality had a systemic and democratizing impact on music-making, its flowering bound up with ideas about the instruments that reflected contemporary concerns. Emphasizing amateur pursuits, mechanisms for learning, and structures that enabled or restricted the realization of professional ambitions, my work explores the meanings string instruments had for newcomer enthusiasts and gives voice to their experiences.

Project fields:
Music History and Criticism


Research Programs

$60,000 (approved)
$60,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
1/1/2021 – 12/31/2021