Funding Up The Arts (1 Viewer)

therealjohnny

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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?
Same as blues harp/harmonica players
 

Cormcolash

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Well it's an educated extrapolation using a bit of my brain as well.

Take the above, Belfast Harp Festival. This lad Donnachda O Hamsaigh goes back almost to the 17th century, and apparently made his living as a professional musician, performing and teaching, and earning upkeep from the landed gentry to a large degree.
You'll find the same situation in 16th and 17th century Italy. The musicians making a living at various courts in mostly Northern Italy would often come from 'humble' backgrounds, learn from a musical teacher in their local area, and then hope to move on to a fixed position in a court (being much better paid, usually). Most of these musicians would certainly have learned folk music when they were younger, and there's still records of essentially 'troubadours' (in the sense of travelling musicians) in Italy at this point.
This is echoed in 18th century Germany, except at this point many of the paid positions would be in churches, due to the effect of the Reformation, and if anything music was becoming more professional in that there were more opportunities to get paid to perform it. Although things were changing a bit by this stage anyway.
A better example maybe is France. Many older French folk songs came out of the Troubadour culture of the middle ages, and some became embedded in musical history as a result. Look up L'homme arme, it almost certainly had church origins and kind of ended up like a folk song in terms of treatment. Church music origins in France often means professional musicians, or at the very least professional clergy with the concomitant free time to become highly skilled musicians as well, the music being part of that life.]
In a similar sense, folk music coming from more traveller roots comes from a lifestyle that would somewhat echo the earlier troubadours and to which music was also beneficial in terms of earning money. (Apparently this was also common in renaissance-period Italy).
All this music is being transmitted through the centuries by professional musicians, whether it be folk musicians that make a more transient (i.e less fixed position) living off music or courtiers or clergy that would have spent most of their time in one place.
The vast majority of music that has survived through the ages is surely in most cases the result of people that were professional musicians. If nothing else, if you were able to afford to have an instrument, it's probably because you were good enough to make a living on it.
That's enough essay for now.
 

Lili Marlene

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Musical composition skills and "creativity" weren't as fetishized back then either, I've read stuff before about how playing and composing music in court was considered a pretty functional skilled job, akin to being a chauffeur or a cook. (Not to mention that women and Irish weren't considered people.)

I dunno, I'm interested in the history and all but I think we need to talk about how things are now to deal with now.

"Songwriting" as we know it is a pretty new innovation tied in with commerce, right?
 

hugh

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Just kind of skimming the Evans essay again and he certainly doesn't deny the existence of professional musicians all the way back to the Middle Ages (as Cormo says) but talks about how they gradually increased in importance from around the 16th Century onwards - gradually displacing more amateur and communal ways of experiencing music. The question of to what extent the existence of professional musicians (performers or writers) is necessary to preserve the music itself is a different one I suppose ...

"Domestic music-making started to go into decline toward the end of the seventeenth
century. After Charles II's restoration in 1660 a variety of people, such as shopkeepers and
foreman, started to get together every week at taverns to sing, drink ale and chew tobacco. Soon,
however, professional musicians were invited to entertain, and out of this "developed the popular
concert, an institution quite unknown in the earlier part of the century."5 By the end of the century
there were several such places where one could go, pay an admission and hear a concert put on by
"an excellent master." Because of the increasing demand for professional musicians caused by
these public concerts there was a correlating increase in their numbers, and even though they
were "created at first to entertain and not to dictate, these musicians had the leisure to develop a
higher level of technique than the average amateur could hope to attain." The professional
musicians increasingly became a class onto themselves and they no longer interacted directly
with amateur musicians. As a result both the popular and 'art' music of the time left the realm of
the amateur musician."
 

egg_

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"Songwriting" as we know it is a pretty new innovation tied in with commerce, right?
I wonder though ... like, I'm still not entirely convinced by @Cormcolash claims of "using his brain", but it does make sense that music-making, being a useful skill requiring tools, would have become professionalised way back in the mists of time. Same as other useful skills like butchering and blacksmithing. And the obvious people to have composed the music is the people who were making it for a living, right? The case isn't as strong for singing, cos you don't need tools for that, and I guess composition being a distinct career from performance probably is pretty recent - lads like Bach and Liszt and them fellas were all accomplished musicians
 

Lili Marlene

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Kind of hard to imagine what life was like in Ireland before 1800, or even how a standard person thought, or was.

I was doing the maths the other day and realized my still alive relative in her 90s might have just been old enough when she was about 10 to have spoken to another person who would have been about 10 during the famine. I'd never convince her to say a thing about it but still.
 

Cormcolash

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Just kind of skimming the Evans essay again and he certainly doesn't deny the existence of professional musicians all the way back to the Middle Ages (as Cormo says) but talks about how they gradually increased in importance from around the 16th Century onwards - gradually displacing more amateur and communal ways of experiencing music. The question of to what extent the existence of professional musicians (performers or writers) is necessary to preserve the music itself is a different one I suppose ...

"Domestic music-making started to go into decline toward the end of the seventeenth
century. After Charles II's restoration in 1660 a variety of people, such as shopkeepers and
foreman, started to get together every week at taverns to sing, drink ale and chew tobacco. Soon,
however, professional musicians were invited to entertain, and out of this "developed the popular
concert, an institution quite unknown in the earlier part of the century."5 By the end of the century
there were several such places where one could go, pay an admission and hear a concert put on by
"an excellent master." Because of the increasing demand for professional musicians caused by
these public concerts there was a correlating increase in their numbers, and even though they
were "created at first to entertain and not to dictate, these musicians had the leisure to develop a
higher level of technique than the average amateur could hope to attain." The professional
musicians increasingly became a class onto themselves and they no longer interacted directly
with amateur musicians. As a result both the popular and 'art' music of the time left the realm of
the amateur musician."

I get the gist of what he's saying but I think it's a bit unfair in the sense that there have always been and surely will always be loads of more professional musicians that have no problem interacting across the professional divide either. It's kind of the nature of the beast though, the better you get at something, the more people will ask for you to do that thing, and the people with money are very good at making it better to do it for them in some way
 

Cormcolash

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... but having said that - if the above is true then I'm quite sure that wannabe musos whining about not getting paid when the only people interested in listening to them are their wannabe musos friends goes right back into the mists of time too
Of course, or like wannabe artists who whine about not getting accepted into the art academy, they're the real ones to watch out for!
 

Cormcolash

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I wonder though ... like, I'm still not entirely convinced by @Cormcolash claims of "using his brain", but it does make sense that music-making, being a useful skill requiring tools, would have become professionalised way back in the mists of time. Same as other useful skills like butchering and blacksmithing. And the obvious people to have composed the music is the people who were making it for a living, right? The case isn't as strong for singing, cos you don't need tools for that, and I guess composition being a distinct career from performance probably is pretty recent - lads like Bach and Liszt and them fellas were all accomplished musicians

It's pretty clear that music and drama was a profession you could make a living on back in Classical Greece, Plato wrote about it amongst others.
 

JohnnyRaz

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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).



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

I'm not so sure about that - there have been professional performers throughout history, but they were catering to the elite for the most part (Bards/File in the Gaelic tradition - although
I wonder though ... like, I'm still not entirely convinced by @Cormcolash claims of "using his brain", but it does make sense that music-making, being a useful skill requiring tools, would have become professionalised way back in the mists of time. Same as other useful skills like butchering and blacksmithing. And the obvious people to have composed the music is the people who were making it for a living, right? The case isn't as strong for singing, cos you don't need tools for that, and I guess composition being a distinct career from performance probably is pretty recent - lads like Bach and Liszt and them fellas were all accomplished musicians
bit when did ‘craft’ become ‘art’?
same could be said of visual art - it moved from rigid forms to abstract expression with a parallel view of the artist/artistic vision being something separate to the actual ‘craft’
 

hugh

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Are you talking about the relationship between craft and art? Not so much when craft became art but when art ceased to necessarily involve craft? I think the generally accepted answer to that would be Marcel Duchamp but I don’t think that’s what you are getting at ...

Art (or music) doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with craft (as in craft as technical skill and accomplishment) so the argument about professionalism being necessary because without doing it full time you don’t develop the chops is basically bullshit - is what you’re suggesting (I think).

I dunno .. I suppose it points to differences between classical and folk traditions.
 

JohnnyRaz

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Are you talking about the relationship between craft and art? Not so much when craft became art but when art ceased to necessarily involve craft? I think the generally accepted answer to that would be Marcel Duchamp but I don’t think that’s what you are getting at ...

Art (or music) doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with craft (as in craft as technical skill and accomplishment) so the argument about professionalism being necessary because without doing it full time you don’t develop the chops is basically bullshit - is what you’re suggesting (I think).

I dunno .. I suppose it points to differences between classical and folk traditions.
Well you could get into ‘craft’ versus ‘practice’...

but what I mean is that (In the western tradition at least) at one stage most artistic forms were very bounded by rules, conventions etc - there was only limited scope for innovation, although these forms did evolve over time. The training for these was very much apprentice based, and with one or two exceptions (file in Gaelic Ireland being one) the view of these practitioners were that of artisans, or craftsmen.

from the renaissance onwards the view of artist expression, talent, vision etc changed, and along with that both the freedom of the artist to define their own practice, and the view of the artist as something very distinct from a craftsman

also along with this is the move from participation to consumption you describe.
 

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