Music and its media
Music and its media

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Music and its media

3 Music publications of eighteenth-century London

We are now going to turn to a later historical period to examine the printing and publishing of music, which generally allowed for the wider and easier dissemination of pieces. As I mentioned earlier, publication did not necessarily mean that a work was printed – there are examples of repertory circulating in manuscript into the nineteenth century. Conversely, the fact that a work was printed did not indicate that it was published – some prints were produced as luxurious keepsakes while others were restricted in their circulation to maintain a degree of control over performances (Boorman et al., 2014b). In this section, you will examine the wider publication of music in print by focusing on the output of one particular printer-publisher.

From the appearance of the first printed music publications in the late fifteenth century, particular European cities emerged as centres for the production of music prints: Venice, Nuremberg, Paris and Antwerp in the sixteenth century; London from around 1700; Paris between c.1740 and 1760; Vienna from c.1780 and Leipzig from around 1800. From the beginning of the eighteenth century, the quality and quantity of music publications became markedly greater, aided by technological developments in printing, competition between publishers and an increase in the public’s interest in music (Boorman et al. 2014b). In this case study you are going to focus on one of these centres of music publishing – London in the early eighteenth century – and the work of a single music printer-publisher there, John Walsh (c.1665/66–1736). In the same way that you have just looked at the recipients of the manuscripts of Pierre Alamire, here you will consider how the appearance and content of Walsh’s publications (and related documents) reflect the tastes of his London music market c.1700.

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