Musical Life in
Europe, 1600-1900 Circulation, Institutions,
Summary of the Project
The programme will give detailed consideration to musical life
in Europe during the period 1600-1900, understood as the whole of
the processes of production, distribution, communication
(mediation) and reception of musical works as well as of their
frorms of transmission and circulation. Three overarching themes
will provide the points of departure for our research on this
period: first, the extensive migration of musicians and the
circulation of music throughout Europe; second, the concept,
character and functioning of European musical institutions; and
finally, the representational aspects associated with these and
other facts of European musical life.
As a starting point we suggest
- that there is a strong link between musical institutions
and the migration (or by contrast the sedentariness) of
musicians and the circulation of musical works, whereby
institutions may be understood as multipliers of or
obstacles to migration;
- that musical institutions reflect not only certain
socio-political conditions, but also a set of cultural
images and representations; and
- that the relationship between musical institutions and
the migration (or non-migration) of musicians on the one
hand and cultural representation on the other was
interactive in nature, that is, that the collective or
individual movements of musicians result from, and at the
same time resulted in, the phenomenons of cultural
Implementation of the Programme
These five subjects are to be treated:
- Italian Opera in Central Europe, 1614 - ca. 1780.
The spread of Italian opera coincided with the emergence
of a network of institutions that are relief not only
upon the circulation of musicians, but also of acclaimed
works and styles of performance. For this reason, Italian
opera emerged as a privileged field of cultural exchange,
crystallising supra-national ideas and images of power.
- Opera Orchestras in 18th- and 19th-Century Europe.
Opera orchestras played a considerable part in the
production and diffusion of European opera in the 18th
and 19th centuries. Their institutional stability created
privileged bases to which musical personnel were
attracted from all over Europe. The study of these
"international" places enables us to measure,
in paradigmatic manner, the influence of institutions on
the circulation of musical works and practices.
- The Concert and Its Public in Europe, 1700-1900.
As an institution, the concert is a structure
representative of cultural and social life. To study it
implies a priori an investigation of the
diffusion and circulation of works as well as the
formation and transfer of repertoires. The 19th-century
concert provides a particularly favourable vantage point
from which to observe the trans-social circulation of
- The Circulation of Music. The proliferation of
music publishing and copying workshops from the 18th
century onwards reflects as well as promotes the
"Europeanisation" and commercialisation of
music. Studying the diffusion of printed and manuscript
music elucidates not only the relationship between the
composer and his oublic but also the cultural transfer of
music, both geographically and socially.
- National Representations of Music, ca. 1770-1900.
The activity of the conservatoires and the proliferation
of texts about music (reviews, historical works,
treatises etc.) crystallise theoretical and mystical
representations from the end of the Ancien régime
onwards. This enables us to study the emergence of
collective representations, including national images,
which were a point of departure for the network of
musical exchange in 19th-century Europe.
Among the themes common to all the working groups are the
- the mobility of musicians and its significance for the
music profession in general;
- the influence of institutions (churches, theatres,
concert organisations etc.) which offer employment or
other opportunities to musicians and thus initiate their
mobility, but are themselves subject to charge;
- the interaction of publication and performance of music
on a European scale of activity;
- the training and formation of (virtuoso) musical talent
according to standards oriented towards European
- the attitudes of the listening public, informed by
expectations concerning the circulation of the musical
repertoire as well as composers and performers;
- the role of symbols and images.
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