Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-888d5979f-x5hg2 Total loading time: 0.394 Render date: 2021-10-26T08:11:37.313Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "shouldUseShareProductTool": true, "shouldUseHypothesis": true, "isUnsiloEnabled": true, "metricsAbstractViews": false, "figures": true, "newCiteModal": false, "newCitedByModal": true, "newEcommerce": true, "newUsageEvents": true }

6 - Music and musical performance: histories in disjunction?

from PART I - PERFORMANCE THROUGH HISTORY

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 March 2012

Colin Lawson
Affiliation:
Royal College of Music, London
Robin Stowell
Affiliation:
Cardiff University
Get access

Summary

If you love music, hear it; go to operas, concerts and pay fiddlers to play to you; but I insist upon your neither piping nor fiddling yourself. It puts a gentleman in a very frivolous, contemptible light . . . Few things would mortify me more, than to see you bearing a part in a concert, with a fiddle under your chin, or a pipe in your mouth.

The Earl of Chesterfield's precept signals the disjuncture between the concepts of music and musical performance as perceived by a British aristocrat in the mid-eighteenth century: listening to music is something a nobleman might do and enjoy without compromise to his station in life, but to participate in its performance is to invite social stigma. And Adam Smith could observe that to work as a professional performer was a ‘sort of public prostitution’, and the ‘exorbitant rewards’ paid to the most admired players and opera singers both reflected the rarity and beauty of their talents, and compensated them for the social ‘discredit of employing them in this manner’. But Smith's prediction that any lessening in society's prejudice against performers would lead to a corresponding diminution of their earning potential was to prove very wide of the mark; it stands now as an indication of just how much the routine disparagement of performers and an accompanying ambivalence towards music's cultural standing was to change. For not only was nineteenth-century Britain to prove one of the most lucrative earning grounds for superstar performers, but as a nation it also became serious about encouraging and training its own native performing talent, so as to be the better able to satisfy its appetite for music of all kinds.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2012

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Send book to Kindle

To send this book to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Send book to Dropbox

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Send book to Google Drive

To send content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×