Thomas Morley and the business of music in Elizabethan England

Murray, Teresa Ann (2010). Thomas Morley and the business of music in Elizabethan England. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.


Download (4MB)


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: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music, Department of Music
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z004 Books. Writing. Paleography


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year