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  • Consuming Music: Individuals, Institutions, Communities, 1730–1830 ed. by Emily H. Green and Catherine Mayes
  • Katharine Hogg
Consuming Music: Individuals, Institutions, Communities, 1730–1830. Edited by Emily H. Green and Catherine Mayes. (Eastman Studies in Music, 138.) Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2017. [vi, 255 p. ISBN 978-1-58046-577-9. £80 hardback, £65 e-book]

The eighteenth century witnessed a significant development in the market for cultural and luxury commodities, which led to a rise in the importance of many intermediary functions in the production and reception of music. This collection of nine essays examines particular aspects of music consumption in the long eighteenth century, exploring activities of composers and theorists, performers, patrons and impresarios, publishers, and music critics. The essays are presented in four groups, each with a different scope and perspective. The introduction highlights three areas in which these studies contribute to existing scholarship on consumerism: an impulse towards the mundane in the commodification of music; the mechanisms of consumerism; and new ways of characterising music consumers and producers and their activities.

In the first group of essays, 'Selling Variety', Emily Green, who co-edits the book, explores theories of consumerism, and the role of the publisher in the late-eighteenth century, and the blurring of historically different roles in the transition from patronage to market economies, as publishers effectively became patrons, promoting and supporting composers whose developing entrepreneurship treated them as such. Publishers were also consumers, and Green draws on theories of consumerism to posit a model of the publisher as 'prosumer'—that is, both producers and consumers—of music. She offers a perspective on the music industry during the transition from patron-led to market economy, which is more complex than the binary supply and demand model. Moving from the theory to a specific case study, in the second essay in this group Rupert Ridgewell gives an account of the Artaria Kunsthandlung in 1784, describing the nature of the business, which sold art, books, maps, music, and other 'cultural' commodities. An analysis of surviving inventory ledgers from the Artaria archive includes detailed lists of records, and reveals the working methods of the company, including the levels of stock held, the sources from which they were obtained, and how consumer demand was managed. Interesting details include the introduction of plate numbers in the publisher's catalogue after 1784 to manage a growing stock, and the summary of assets tabulated from the 1784 inventory, showing the large proportion of imported music compared with that published by the firm. The place of music among other commodities in the business is explored, and Ridgewell illustrates the role of Artaria in both supporting Viennese creativity and importing foreign music, to meet the expectations of wealthy and culturally active patrons.

The second group of essays, 'Edifying readers', includes a study by Steven Zohn of Tele -mann's Der getreue Music-Meister, a journal of music and musical instruction, in the context of other music periodicals of the time. The serial was based on a literary format established in Germany at the time, and this study places it in the context of moral periodicals of the time, whose purpose was to enlighten and educate. The journal was 'interactive', encouraging the consumer as composer, and it included puzzle canons, fugue subjects, and 'enigmatic' notations for users to develop and solve; it made efforts to instruct readers rather than exclude them, and to include women as both contributors and readers. The illustrations reproduce extracts from the journal and from other German periodicals with which it is compared, and there are extensive endnotes providing further detail on what is an information-dense subject. The writing style here opens with an imaginary vignette but becomes rather laboured at times, with perhaps too much background which therefore detracts from the overall point. It does however illustrate the role of music periodicals in the development of mass-markets for [End Page 109] music in the late-eighteenth century. By contrast, the second essay in this group considers the problem of transferring aesthetic ideas into print, investigating metre, tempo, and affect and their representation in printed music. Roger Grant considers two works in particular: Charles...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2471-156X
Print ISSN
0015-6191
Pages
pp. 109-111
Launched on MUSE
2018-07-20
Open Access
No
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