Lake Forest Papers

Document Type


Date of Award

Fall 2019


Written for MUSC 360 Music History I: From Chant to Bach


All-College Writing Contest

Author Comments

I think that, at its core, history is our way of defining the past. We ask, "What happened?" "What does it mean to us?" "Why did it happen the way it did?" "Where are we going in relation to it?" All these questions are essential to placing the present in the context of a larger timeline. But whether our definition of the past is accurate is another question entirely. When history is presented as fact in a college classroom, it is easy to forget that history is not a solid thing. As a narrative that is constantly being constructed, edited, and revised by people and shaped by their biases, history is much more nebulous than we often imagine it to be. Through a discussion of the scholarly debate surrounding the use of experimental playing as a research tool, my essay aims to illuminate some of the attitudes that have caused music history to inaccurately reflect the past. Once those attitudes have been discarded, we can begin to construct a version of history that better defines what the past was.

Faculty Advisor

Don Meyer

Included in

Musicology Commons



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