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The listening experiences of John Yeoman (1748 – 1824)

Rowland, David (2019). The listening experiences of John Yeoman (1748 – 1824). In: Barlow, Helen and Rowland, David eds. The experience of listening to music: methodologies, identities, histories. Milton Keynes: The Open University.

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URL: https://ledbooks.org/proceedings2019/#sec_42_h1
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Abstract

John Yeoman was a Somerset farmer and potter who travelled to London in 1774 and 1777/8, recording in a diary his experiences of music in and around the capital. As a church choir director in his home village of Wanstrow he was particularly interested in hearing music sung by the choirs he encountered in a number of churches of various denominations. His account of them reveals much about contemporary performance practice, especially relating to the singing of psalms.

In addition to recording his impressions of sacred music, Yeoman was immensely impressed by a performance he heard on a visit to Drury Lane Theatre in 1774. He had never heard anything like it previously and the information he records is of importance to theatre historians and to musicologists, particularly what he describes of the orchestral and choral forces in the theatre. His descriptions also unwittingly tell us something about music making in his home village of Wanstrow.

The accounts of listening experiences in Yeoman’s diaries are written in a style usually found in travel literature of the period. They are detailed and factual, and rarely contain information about the author’s personal reactions to what he heard. But by examining the language he uses it becomes clear that he was excited by his experiences, especially those that were new to him.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: John Yeoman; choir; psalms; opera; Drury Lane; travel writing; diary; listening; orchestra; eighteenth century
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Arts and Humanities > Music
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Arts and Humanities
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Item ID: 59142
Depositing User: David Rowland
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2019 09:49
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2019 04:31
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/59142
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