The Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities will host a Graduate Work-in-Progress lecture with Samuel Nemeth, PhD candidate in the Department of Music, Tuesday, Nov. 1, from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in Clark Hall, Room 206. Nemeth will present “Battle of the Bands: Instruments, Mechanical Cultures, and Sonic Metaphors of Nineteenth-Century French Empire.”
In his talk, Nemeth will examine an 1845 Parisian military music performance contest—a “Battle of the Bands”—and how the Belgian inventor Adolphe Sax’s “victory” in the contest highlighted his novel brass instruments, the Saxhorns. New machines, including musical instruments such as the Saxhorns, lay at the intersection between 19th-century French musical and technological cultures, where new inventions generated tension between human and machine, nature and mechanism. Additionally, the collectivity and mobility inherent in Sax’s ensemble served as a sonic metaphor of France’s colonial ambitions.
A reception will be held at 4:15 p.m.