Innis in the Concertgebouw: Media and musical culture in nineteenth-century amsterdam

Darryl Cressman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


Is classical musical culture a purely sonic and aural culture, or is there more to this culture than music? Drawing upon Harold Innis’s media theory, this chapter examines classical musical culture as one that is inseparable from media, and in particular the concert hall and print media. Using the example of nineteenth century Amsterdam to explore this claim, this chapter begins by examining how ideas about listening and musical meaning were disseminated through print media as a means to both educate and discipline Amsterdammers to listen attentively and appreciate the inherent beauty and meaning of secular instrumental music. This edifying mission was complemented by the construction of the Concertgebouw in 1888, the first purpose-built concert hall in Amsterdam. The balance between these two media forms (print and architecture), enabled the classical music tradition to take hold in Amsterdam and endure across both time and space.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMedia Transatlantic: Developments in Media and Communication Studies Between North American and German-Speaking Europe
EditorsNorm Friesen
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9783319284897, 9783319284873, 978-3-319-80362-3
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2016


  • Classical music tradition
  • Harold innis
  • Media theory
  • Nineteenth-century Amsterdam


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