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Thursday, 31 March 2022, 6:00PM - 7:00PM
Barnard's Inn Hall

Humour and Music

Professor Jeremy Summerly

The scherzo (‘joke’) emerged in the vocal music of Monteverdi and became integrated into the string quartets and symphonies of Beethoven. Haydn and Mozart loved to fool around with their audiences and Scott Bradley’s scores for Tom & Jerry are integral parts of the comedic presentation. Clever composers have pranked our emotions for hundreds of years, from slapstick and belly laughs to gallows humour and cruel jibes. 

This lecture deconstructs musical laughter of superiority, of recognition, and of the absurd.


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Jeremy is Visiting Gresham Professor of Music History. 

He is Director of Music at the London church of St Luke’s, Chelsea and a Supervisor for the Music Tripos at Gonville & Caius College, Cambridge.

He has delivered the annual Christmas carol service at Gresham College since 2014. In 2019, he was made Visiting Professor of Music History.

Professor Summerly's lecture series are as follows:

2021/22 Music and Emotion

2020/21 100 Years of BBC Radio

2019/20 Making Music

All lectures by the Visiting Professor of Music History can be accessed here.

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