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Thomas Morley and the business of music in Elizabethan England

Murray, Teresa Ann (2010)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

Thomas Morley’s family background in Norwich and his later life in London placed him amongst the educated, urban, middle classes. Rising literacy and improving standards of living in English cities helped to develop a society in which amateur music-making became a significant leisure activity, providing a market of consumers for printed recreational music. His visit to the Low Countries in 1591 allowed him to see at first hand a thriving music printing business. Two years later he set out to achieve an income from his own music, initially by publishing collections of light, English-texted, madrigalian vocal works. He broadened his activities by obtaining a monopoly for printed music in 1598 and then by entering into a partnership with William Barley to print music. Unfortunately Morley died too soon to reap the full financial benefit of what appears to have been a profitable business. Whilst Morley’s personal ambitions were curtailed by his early death, his publishing activities and the model he provided for contemporary composers led to the creation of a substantial body of nearly one hundred and seventy editions and reprints of music suitable for domestic performance, many of which continued to be used for many years.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of Music
Subjects:M Music
Z004 Books. Writing. Paleography
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1247
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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