Economics & the Role of the Musician in Society
November 15, 2012
Many early professional musicians were dependent on the Church of the Court for their
Outside of the Church there started to be recognized musicians
Lyric poets or poet-musicians of France in the 12 and 13 centuries
Poets working the south of France, writing in Provençal, are generally termed
troubadours; those of the north, writing in French, are called trouvères
Their job was to write poetry that appealed the their employer, usually full of
compliments to their patron
“high class” poetry
the music was lost but lyrics and poetry still exist
a medieval entertainer, sometimes a minstrel
they were seen as thieves or vagabonds
Adam de la Halle, Jeu de Robin et de Marion
o Melody exists, but not specific instrument
Mercantile system starts to develop, and more people earn money leisure time learn to
Printing press exists, composing and printing music could be traded and sold and
Public concerts creating a venue 1637 the first opera house
Opera is for upper-class entertainment, but when public opera house is built, more
accessible to public not only for nobility anymore, but for making money Opera singers need to be able to project their voices to the back of the room; therefore the
A male singer who has been castrated before puberty to preserve the soprano or contralto
range of his voice; supported by a man’s lungs, the voice was powerful, agile and penetrating
Tended to be tall
Large chest capacity
Famous castrato – Farinelli
Bach made quite a bit less than the super star opera singers.
However, they made a lot of money but they had no children or line to pass it down to.
Johann Adolf Hasse, “Se Mai Piu Saro Geloso”, Cleofide (1731)
Bach-Gounod, Ave Maria
Moreschi (1858-1922) – a castrato
Famous, celebrity performers was an idea that was inconceivable in the earlier centuries.
Composers could be celebrities, but not performers.
Depending on the instrument you played, it determined your class. Nobility had their own
crowd of musicians.
Bach, Brandenburg Converto No. 6, Third Movement (1721)
Viola de gamba was preferred by the nobility
The viola is most important, which was odd because the viola was the lowest socially
Bach becomes a composer for a prince. But the prince got married and hi