The Role of Competition in the Rise of Baroque and Renaissance Music
Section 1 introduces the hypothesis that competition among neighboring states may favor cultural innovation, and it surveys the available quantitative evidence. Section 2 starts from the assumption that European instrumental music had its breakthrough during the Baroque era and that the most famous composers came from the two countries characterized by the highest degree of political fragmentation: Italy and Germany. It suggests that political fragmentation has promoted musical composition and performance in several ways. The average duration of employment is proposed as a proxy for competition on the demand side. Section 3 shows that the most famous Italian and German composers of the Baroque period changed their employers significantly more often than their French and British counterparts did. Moreover, the Reformation led to musical competition between the Catholic and Protestant churches. Section 4 argues that competition for composers has also been important in other periods of European history – including competition between the Church and the courts. It shows that composers moved no less in the Renaissance than in the Baroque. Section 5 raises the question whether European music may also be said to express a competitive spirit. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005
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