Cypess, Rebecca. "Notation, Performance, and the Significance of Print in the Music of Ignatius Sancho (c.1729–1780)." Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies (2022)
URL: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/1754-0208.12860 (Open Access)
The posthumously published correspondence of the Black British writer, butler, musician, and shopkeeper Ignatius Sancho (c.1729–1780) has received extensive critical attention in recent decades, especially because it contributed to opening a space for Black authorship in the Atlantic world. Absent from discussions of Sancho's negotiation of orality, writing, and print have been Sancho's books of musical compositions—the volumes published during his lifetime, apparently with his involvement and oversight. Consideration of his instrumental dance music within the context of the genres in which he wrote reveals that he navigated the boundary between orality and print deliberately and meaningfully. His musical notation engages with the sentimental style, and his explicit use of French horns — extremely rare or perhaps unique among eighteenth-century publications of dance music for small ensembles — refers to the presence of Black musicians in Britain. By engaging with and subverting conventions of musical notation and print, Sancho's music points beyond itself, guiding the reader or listener from the notated scores to the ineffable, transient sounds of the eighteenth-century Black experience.