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Austen Family Music Books Made Available Online - Early Music Today

"The University of Southampton has digitised around 600 pieces of music belonging to the Austen family, placing them online free of charge. The collection comprises 18 albums of Music which belonged to the writer (who played piano and sang) and her relations. The pieces include the traditional Welsh song Nos Galan, known today as Deck the Halls. A still from the 1995 BBC mini-series of Pride and Prejudice Austen copied music by hand into personal albums and collected sheet music, meaning that the albums reflect the family’s tastes. Her sisters-in-law and nieces also contributed to the albums. Professor Jeanice Brooks, who led the project, said: ‘Jane Austen’s novels are full of musical scenes, and this collection will help literature scholars and Austen fans to better understand the real musical environment that fed the novelist’s imagination. ‘Just as importantly, the collection provides music historians with a unique glimpse of the musical life of an extended gentry family in the years around 1800.’ The project is part of preparations for the bicentenary year of Austen’s death in 2017, meaning that events mounted for the anniversary can draw on the music which the writer knew and performed herself. Diane Bilbey of Jane Austen’s House Museum expressed her delight that the collection ‘can be shared with so many through digital means, and that its availability will benefit researchers and musicians alike.'" - See more at:

Painting above - "La Lecon de Piano" by Jean-Francois Garneray (1755-1837)

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