Funding Up The Arts (1 Viewer)

JohnnyRaz

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There is a great essay I read a few years back for something I was doing about participation in art. I think the guy's name was Evans. It basically traced a historical shift (as he saw it) where the arts in general, but music in particular, became something that people watched/listened to/consumed as opposed to something that people did. The system whereby we (in the main) look up to professionals to do music for us rather than playing and participating in it ourselves (having the uncle around the play a tunes on the fiddle, sitting around the campfire singing a few songs, listening to your niece playing some Bach preludes on the harpsichord in the drawing room) is pretty much a modern phenomenon.


I guess the growth in the ability to mass produce and consume music music effectively passively perhaps led to this move away from the most literal form of DIY - although Bach and contemporaries were the 'man' producing music for a limited elite....
 

Cormcolash

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Well the modern equivalent would be forming a cover band with your family and only ever doing covers. You're not producing anything original. The vast majority of amateur music making through history was just reproducing music already written by a more professional type of musician who would actually be getting paid to do it. It's almost as if writing really good music takes loads of practice and effort or something.
 

egg_

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The vast majority of amateur music making through history was just reproducing music already written by a more professional type of musician who would actually be getting paid to do it
Really? How do you know? Would you say most stories throughout history were made up by professionals? I really don't think there's any way to tell if that's true or not
 

hugh

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I guess the growth in the ability to mass produce and consume music music effectively passively perhaps led to this move away from the most literal form of DIY - although Bach and contemporaries were the 'man' producing music for a limited elite....

True it certainly was for an elite. But I suppose the difference with now is that for the most part that elite were not necessarily paying to see exalted performers performing the music but rather getting hold of the sheets and performing it for each other. And the "non-elites" had their own forms that they performed for each other in different sorts of ways i.e. folk music.
 

JohnnyRaz

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True it certainly was for an elite. But I suppose the difference with now is that for the most part that elite were not necessarily paying to see exalted performers performing the music but rather getting hold of the sheets and performing it for each other. And the "non-elites" had their own forms that they performed for each other in different sorts of ways i.e. folk music.

that's kind of my point - but by the 19th century you're seeing a gradual shift to more and more people being consumers of 'centrally produced' music, rather than participants and creators. From farmers to shoppers... (which is the core argument of what you said earlier I guess) - key to this is technology and the means of mass production and marketing being applied to music.
 

hugh

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Well the modern equivalent would be forming a cover band with your family and only ever doing covers. You're not producing anything original. The vast majority of amateur music making through history was just reproducing music already written by a more professional type of musician who would actually be getting paid to do it. It's almost as if writing really good music takes loads of practice and effort or something.

There's a difference between writing and performing and this is very much about performance (in that the rise of the professional performer is a modern phenomenon). The music might be written by someone else (whether it's Bach or folk songs passed down through generations) but in order to experience it you have to perform it yourself (or your mates or whatever).

Really? How do you know? Would you say most stories throughout history were made up by professionals? I really don't think there's any way to tell if that's true or not

Well I think there is a way to find out whether it's true or not - historical research.
 

Cormcolash

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Really? How do you know? Would you say most stories throughout history were made up by professionals? I really don't think there's any way to tell if that's true or not
1. What music survived through the centuries? Music that comes from people who were being paid to make it.
2. How many peasants had musical instruments during feudal times? Just ask Russia, they had a country of serfs until the 20th century.
3. How much free time would you have to make music if you weren't employed to do so, pre-1900?

Seriously, just use your fuckin head like.
 

Cormcolash

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(in that the rise of the professional performer is a modern phenomenon).

No it's not. Right through the middle ages professional performers existed at various courts throughout Europe, and also in some churches. From ca.1200 onwards at least. Frequently, the most well-known performers were sought after throughout Europe.

I think you're referring more to the kind of professional touring musician, but for that just look at Troubadors pre-1300, a musician class that used to earn a living touring around various medieval courts, performing a mixture of their own music and music written by others.

There's absolutely nothing modern about the idea of professional performers. If you were able to go back to Classical Greece you'd most probably find people that made a living just from performing music and drama. Their parents probably had money too ha.
 

egg_

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1. What music survived through the centuries? Music that comes from people who were being paid to make it.
The music that has survived through the centuries isn't necessarily the music that people played/listened to most at the time. Most Irish traditional dance tunes are (at least) centuries old, and nobody knows who composed most of them - I'm sure it's the same for other folk traditions. How can you tell if it was composed by professionals or amateurs?

2. How many peasants had musical instruments during feudal times? Just ask Russia, they had a country of serfs until the 20th century.
You don't need a musical instrument to sing, and you don't need to be a peasant to be an amateur musician

3. How much free time would you have to make music if you weren't employed to do so, pre-1900?
What? Are you really claiming that all musicians and storytellers before 1900 were professionals?
 

hugh

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No it's not. Right through the middle ages professional performers existed at various courts throughout Europe, and also in some churches. From ca.1200 onwards at least. Frequently, the most well-known performers were sought after throughout Europe.

I think you're referring more to the kind of professional touring musician, but for that just look at Troubadors pre-1300, a musician class that used to earn a living touring around various medieval courts, performing a mixture of their own music and music written by others.

There's absolutely nothing modern about the idea of professional performers. If you were able to go back to Classical Greece you'd most probably find people that made a living just from performing music and drama. Their parents probably had money too ha.

Ok fair enough. Let me qualify it then by saying that the rise of the professional performer as the more or less exclusive way or the dominant way in which we access music is a modern phenomenon.

Here's the essay in case anyone is interested. It's a very long read ...

 

egg_

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Well I think there is a way to find out whether it's true or not - historical research.
Hmmm. You can find evidence of professional and amateur music making, but I reckon you'd find it damn hard to demonstrate that "the vast majority of amateur music making through history was just reproducing music already written by a more professional type of musician who would actually be getting paid to do it" with any kind of certainty
 

Cormcolash

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The music that has survived through the centuries isn't necessarily the music that people played/listened to most at the time. Most Irish traditional dance tunes are (at least) centuries old, and nobody knows who composed most of them - I'm sure it's the same for other folk traditions. How can you tell if it was composed by professionals or amateurs?


You don't need a musical instrument to sing


What? Are you really claiming that all musicians and storytellers before 1900 were professionals?

No, just an awful lot of them, earning a living through performance or teaching or both, including folk musicians. Most folk music that has stayed alive throughout history is the result of folk musicians that actually made a living off the music performing it.
 

hugh

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Hmmm. You can find evidence of professional and amateur music making, but I reckon you'd find it damn hard to demonstrate that "the vast majority of amateur music making through history was just reproducing music already written by a more professional type of musician who would actually be getting paid to do it" with any kind of certainty

History is "damn hard" ....

Most folk music that has stayed alive throughout history is the result of folk musicians that actually made a living off the music performing it.

Genuine question - do you know this for sure? Not looking for citations or anything here but am curious.
 

egg_

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Most folk music that has stayed alive throughout history is the result of folk musicians that actually made a living off the music performing it
Really? It never occurred to me before that might be the case, but I suppose it's plausible, or at least it's plausible that the music was kept alive by some actual professionals and a load of wannabe professionals taking lessons and playing music mostly for each other.
 

Cormcolash

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Really? It never occurred to me before that might be the case, but I suppose it's plausible, or at least it's plausible that the music was kept alive by some actual professionals and a load of wannabe professionals taking lessons and playing music mostly for each other.
Absolutely. We have our own traditional music as evidence. A load of traditional tunes were basically saved from extinction at the Belfast Harp Festival because a harpist who was like 90 years old or something turned up and played them, apparently tunes that the younger players had never heard before.

 

hugh

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It doesn't look to me like many of them were professionals. Were they? But anyway the more important question ... and the one that puzzles me is .... why were so many harpers blind?
 

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