The 1770s saw in the German-speaking world the expansion of non-specialised periodicals with cultural aspirations. Such publications were run by literary writers and music-lovers mainly interested in the creation of a national stage both for opera and straight drama. The study of the reception of Gluck as a reformer helps us locate publicist networks revealing strong power conflicts in this cultural area. This study also sheds light on the orientation of musical and aesthetic debates outside the professional sphere. As in the rest of Enlightenment Europe, Gluck’s work focuses discussions on the relation between text and music, on the imperatives of beauty and those of expression, although his reception in German-speaking countries allows us to highlight an interesting tension between the primacy of the eye and that of the ear, a tension which underlies an anthropological and aesthetical reflection on the adequate reception of music.