Welcome to Volume 102 of Svensk tidskrift för musikforskning / Swedish Journal of Music Research! The bilingual name, with its abbreviation STM–SJM, that our journal has carried since 2014, reflects the fact that our readership is not limited to residents of Sweden or even the Nordic countries, and neither are our contributing authors. To quote the editorial statement on our website, we encourage ‘music scholars around the world’ to submit articles and reviews. Our main mission is ‘to present research concerned with music in Sweden and the other Nordic countries’, which does not exclude contributions on other topics by Swedish and other Nordic scholars. In this context, it can be mentioned that, during 2020, the Nordic profile of STM–SJM has been strengthened by the addition, for the first time, of four non-Swedish members to the Editorial Board, all of them active in music research in Denmark, Norway and Finland, respectively. We are grateful to Thomas Holme, Ingfrid Breie Nyhus, Heidi Partti and Lauri Väkevä for consenting to be part of the Editorial Board.

In the present volume, we are pleased to present five peer-reviewed scholarly articles. Three of these are concerned with music history – though on widely different subjects – whereas two fall within the realm of music education.

Alf Björnberg discusses, in a historical perspective, the possible influence of recording technologies on developments in popular music, especially with regard to form and duration. One main question is to what extent the standard three-minute format of popular songs can be explained with reference to the limited playing-time of the 78 rpm discs of the first half of the twentieth century, and why most popular songs still have this format although the technical constraints that once determined the duration of recorded music have long since disappeared.

Bengt Olsson and Einar Nielsen present, summarise and theorise around the results from several studies of the assessment of students’ performances by professors in higher music education in Sweden and Denmark. Which are the dominant criteria forming the basis of the assessments, and to what extent are they integrated or separated? The combined results from the empirical studies have led the authors to formulate a tentative, three-dimensional theory of musical assessment, based on the criteria used, the assessors’ competences, and the context in which the assessment takes place.

Higher education in music is the context also of Carl Holmgren’s article, although the topic here is not assessment cultures but rather the special kind of group teaching known as master class. Methodologically, the study is based on observations of lessons and interviews with the three categories involved: the students, their ordinary teacher and the visiting ‘master’ teacher. In his critical discussion of the results, the author introduces several concepts relating to the transfer of knowledge from master to student/apprentice, including those of ‘secret knowledge’ and Weiheküsse, as well as the ancient story of the sorcerer’s apprentice, retold in later times in both poetic and musical form.

Philanthropy – an important but relatively little-known part of the professional life of musicians in the 18th and 19th centuries – is the focus of Janne Palkisto’s study of the Finnish-Swedish composer and clarinettist Bernhard Crusell. Philanthropic concerts could, besides their official purpose, also serve to establish and strengthen a musician’s reputation. The author describes in detail the circumstances around three philanthropic concerts that Crusell initiated, organised and performed in. These events illustrate different contexts and purposes of such events: aid to the victims of a devastating town fire, a fund for widows and children of military musicians, and a foundation enabling poor and sick people to receive hydropathic treatment at a spa.

The French Revolution brought with it, among many other fundamental changes in Western societies, a shift in the conditions for opera institutions, reflected in the systems for charging fees – from rented boxes to individual tickets – and the composition of the audience – from noblemen and -women to members of the bourgeoisie. Staffan Albinsson describes and analyses these changes based on a wealth of data found in accounts, lists of box holders and other archival documents from several European opera houses (including the Royal Opera of Stockholm). Contributing causes of the increased demand for opera include economic and social developments as well as artistic factors such as new kinds of repertoire and the impact of ‘star’ performers (singers).

The book review section forms a significant part of this volume, one of its functions being to provide music scholars with information on developments in areas of music research outside their own speciality. The reviews cover a very wide spectrum of music-related literature, including music theory, music history, biography, music philosophy, music education and artistic research in music. The scope of the reviews can also be described in terms of musical genres: early music, electro-acoustic music, folk music, church music, theatre music, military music, and others.


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The editors wish to thank all authors of articles and book reviews for their contributions. Special thanks are due to our invisible colleagues, the anonymous reviewers of submitted articles, whose efforts are crucial to maintaining the high level of scholarly quality that we constantly strive for. We also wish to thank the Swedish Research Council for generous financial support, and Uppsala University, in particular the Department of Musicology, for undertaking the administration of the financial support from the Swedish Research Council.


Sverker Jullander, editor-in-chief

Karin Johansson, editor

Sven Bjerstedt, editor


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