Guest Lecture: 2015-03-27 Steven Zohn, musicologist


A guest lecture given in the Sandborn Music Reading Room at the UNT Music Library.

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Zohn, Steven March 27, 2015.


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  • Main Title: Guest Lecture: 2015-03-27 Steven Zohn, musicologist
  • Series Title: Guest Lectures
  • Added Title: Telemann’s Musique de table and the Tafelmusik Tradition

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A guest lecture given in the Sandborn Music Reading Room at the UNT Music Library.


Abstract: Georg Philipp Telemann’s Musique de table of 1733 is not only the composer’s best known collection of music, but has become emblematic of a long and rich Tafelmusik tradition in which music accompanied meals of all types, from devotional hymns sung during lunches and dinners in private homes to orchestrally scored suites and serenatas entertaining distinguished guests at lavish banquets held by courts or municipalities. Consisting of over four hours of instrumental ensemble music, the collection’s cornucopia of styles and scorings is easily (even
irresistibly) likened to a table bursting with all manner of culinary delights. And yet the relationship of this vivid music to the Tafelmusik tradition has never been adequately explained, nor has the tradition itself attracted much scholarly attention. Drawing on a variety of sources including published music, visual art works, treatises on courtly etiquette, festival books, travel diaries, and menus, this paper attempts answers to several questions posed by Telemann’s Musique de table, questions that also bear, more broadly, on the status of Tafelmusik from the late Medieval period through the Enlightenment: Could the music really have functioned in a banquet setting, and if so, how might it have interacted with the highly ritualized aspects of celebratory meals? To what extent is the collection representative of works performed and published as Tafelmusik during the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries? More practically speaking, where would the musicians have been placed in banquet spaces, and would they have performed intermittently or continuously during the meal?


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College of Music Recordings

The College of Music Recordings include doctoral, ensemble, faculty, guest, and senior recitals from the UNT College of Music. Access to these recordings is restricted to the UNT community.

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  • March 27, 2015

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • June 11, 2015, 2:01 p.m.

Description Last Updated

  • Feb. 15, 2018, 7:41 p.m.

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Zohn, Steven. Guest Lecture: 2015-03-27 Steven Zohn, musicologist, video, March 27, 2015; Denton, Texas. ( accessed October 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library,; crediting UNT Music Library.