Popular Music in the Eighteenth-Century Netherlands
In this issue of TVNM we focuss on popular music in the eighteenth-century Netherlands. The repertoire was defined by Etienne Roger’s edition Oude en Nieuwe Hollantse Boerenlieties en Contradansen (Old and New Dutch Peasant Songs and Country Dances; Amsterdam 1701-1714), which contained nearly 1000 melodies and was followed by two similar series. In the twentieth century this repertoire was considered as ‘folk music’, but recently Jos Koning has demonstrated that Roger’s target group must have been reasonably well-to-do amateurs, citizens who liked to articulate their Dutchness by playing these so-called ‘peasant’ tunes.
A large part of this repertoire of ‘Dutch peasant ditties’ has been made accessible in the Dutch Song Database of the Meertens Institute in Amsterdam, which unlocks 140,000 songs from the Middle Ages until the twentieth century. The eighteenth-century content of the Database has been tested by three authors who write about different aspects of eighteenth-century popular music: Jos Koning about music manuscripts containing similar repertoire as Roger’s series, Marieke Lefeber about expensive bell clocks playing ‘peasant’ ditties, and Louis Peter Grijp about the ‘peasant opera’ De Bruiloft van Kloris en Roosje (The Wedding of Cloris and Rosie) in which similar tunes were sung to farcical texts.