The Evolution of Free-Lance Music Composition, 1650–1900
Using qualitative histories and coded data on 645 composers born between 1650and 1849, this article traces the evolution of free-lance activity by musiccomposers over the course of two centuries. Contrary to widely advancedsuppositions, many composers were pursuing free-lance composition as the 17thcentury ended, although more for opera than instrumental music writing. Fromthat time on, free-lance composition expanded steadily, replacing employmentby the church and the nobility. A growing number of composers also acted asimpresarios in organizing their own opera or concert performances. Composersearned their bread in many other ways too. There were clear rising trends intheir employment as private orchestra directors and conservatory professors. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001
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