Haydn’s Sunrise, Beethoven’s Shadow: Audiovisual Culture and the Emergence of Musical Romanticism (University of Chicago Press, 2016)

Winner of the 2017 Kenshur Prize for outstanding book in 18th-century studies

The years between roughly 1760 and 1810, a period stretching from the rise of Joseph Haydn’s career to the height of Ludwig van Beethoven’s, are often viewed as a golden age for musical culture, when audiences started to revel in the sounds of the concert hall. But the latter half of the eighteenth century also saw proliferating optical technologies—including magnifying instruments, magic lanterns, peepshows, and shadow-plays—that offered new performance tools, fostered musical innovation, and shaped the very idea of “pure” music. Haydn’s Sunrise, Beethoven’s Shadow explores the early romantic blending of sight and sound as encountered in popular science, street entertainments, opera, and music criticism. An illuminating look at romantic musical practices and aesthetics, this book yields surprising relations between the past and present and offers insight into our own contemporary audiovisual culture.

“This work compellingly argues that the marriage between visual and audio cultures is not a late twentieth-century phenomenon, but has roots in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. By drawing upon a plethora of technical devices deployed in operas and popular performances, Loughridge demonstrates how listeners’ practices and thought were shaped by numerous mechanical contraptions and scientific instruments. This book represents a significant contribution to both musicology and the history of science.” -Myles W. Jackson, New York University, author of Harmonious Triads: Physicists, Musicians, and Instrument Makers in Nineteenth-Century Germany
Haydn’s Sunrise, Beethoven’s Shadow is a rich account of the history of early romantic listening. Imaginative and learned, this book reveals that behind the music’s power to transport lurked audiovisual technologies—telescopes, peep boxes, and magic lanterns—that informed listeners’ musical experiences. Loughridge shows us how to hear canonical works in new ways and casts light on a wealth of understudied repertoire.” -Emily Dolan, Harvard University, author of The Orchestral Revolution: Haydn and the Technologies of Timbre
“With a captivating sense of intellectual adventure, this book presents a history of modern audiovisual culture that is both longer and more complex than most scholars have recognized, all the while radically reshaping our view of some of the most canonical moments in Western music. Haydn’s Sunrise, Beethoven’s Shadow shows, with great elegance and erudition, that romantic musical metaphysics became thinkable only via the mediation of new visual technologies and the multisensory experiences that they promoted.” -Nicholas Mathew, University of California, Berkeley, author of Political Beethoven
“This is an important, ambitious, and timely study. It uncovers fascinating source material and weaves together original ideas about practice that challenge our understanding of musical romanticism—and some of its core repertory—and encourage us to think about nineteenth-century culture in fresh ways. Haydn’s Sunrise, Beethoven’s Shadow will have strong appeal to specialists across fields, as well as to the broader public.” -Sarah Hibberd, University of Nottingham, author of French Grand Opera and the Historical Imagination

“Muted Violins from Lully to Haydn,” Early Music 44/3 (2016)

“Making, Collecting and Reading Music Facsimiles Before Photography,” Journal of the Royal Musical Association 141/1 (2016): 27-59.

“When Media Meet” [review essay], Cambridge Opera Journal 26/2 (2014): 203-213.

“Magnified Vision, Mediated Listening and the ‘Point of Audition’ of Early Romanticism,” Eighteenth-Century Music 10/2 (2013): 179-211.

“Who Measured the Wind and Made the Fingers Move” [Rousseau Colloquy], Journal of the American Musicological Society 66/1 (2013): 270-275.

“Haydn’s Creation as an Optical Entertainment,” Journal of Musicology 27/1 (2010): 9-54.


“The Robot’s Mixtape,” Even Magazine Issue 3 (February 2016)

“Cat Pianos, Sound-Houses, and Other Imaginary Musical Instruments,” coauthored with Thomas Patteson, Public Domain Review (July 15 2015).

“Streaming Swift, Lending Liszt: 250 Years of Music Subscription Access and Ownership” (June 2015) and more at my blog, Spooky & the Metronome

“Marvelous Illusions: Visual and Musical Beauty from the Renaissance through the 18th Century,” in Art or Sound, ed. Germano Celant (Milan: Progetto Prada Arte, 2014), 30-32.