Nineteenth-Century Music

Coming Fall 2015: A Special Issue on Music and Science. Learn more.

From the Fall Issue

“The Expressive Organ within Us”

Ether, Ethereality, and Early Romantic Ideas about Music and the Nerves

Expression techniques from Lickl, Phys-harmonica Schule (1834). Carl Georg Lickl, Phys-harmonica Schule (Vienna: Diabelli & Co., 1834), 9. Image courtesy of Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, PK,

In Honoré de Balzac’s novel Le Lys dans la Vallée (1835), Felix de Vandenesse courts Henriette de Mortsauf by implying that their souls have a sympathetic connection.

"We belong to the small number of human beings born to the highest joys and the deepest sorrows; whose feeling qualities vibrate in unison and echo each other inwardly; whose sensitive natures are in harmony with the principle of things. Put such beings among surroundings where all is discord and they suffer horribly. . . . The organ within us endowed with expression and motion is exercised in a void, expends its passion without an object, utters sounds without melody, and cries that are lost in solitude."

Katherine Prescott Wormeley’s translation renders “un orgue expressif doué de movement” as “the organ within us endowed with expression and motion.” Read more.

Latest Articles

Current Issue

19th-Century Music: 38 (3)

Vol. 38 No. 3, Spring 2015
Table of Contents

ISSN: 0148-2076
eISSN: 1533-8606
Frequency: Triannual
Published: July, November, March


About the Journal

19th-Century Music covers all aspects of Western art music between the mid-eighteenth and mid-twentieth centuries. We welcome—in no particular order—considerations of composers and compositions, styles, performance, historical watersheds, cultural formations, critical methods, musical institutions, ideas, and topics not named on this list. Our aim is to publish contributions to ongoing conversations at the leading edge of musical and multidisciplinary scholarship.