Musicology and German National Identity

A Review of the Issues in Scholarship on the Late Eighteenth Century

  • Emily Jane Clink University of Alberta
Keywords: German, Identity, Nation, Musicology, Late Eighteenth Century, Historiography, Singspiel


This article explores the concept of German national identity as it has been used by musicologists and offers an alternative, fuller understanding of that concept by placing it in its late eighteenth-century context. This is done by discussing the protean nature of identity and the importance of the German conception of it in the eighteenth century, explicating the literature in musicology on the development of this identity in music, and pulling from other academic work specifically on the neglected period. The goal of this work is to showcase the multifaceted understandings of identity and how this approach is to the benefit of musicology.