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Hebbert, Ben

The English Music Trade, c.1647--c.1725

D.Phil. University of Oxford (St Cross College), in progress
(benjamin.hebbert@st-cross.oxford.ac.uk)

An historical and contextual analysis of the key events and decisive technological developments within the commercial dynamics that influenced the reception, distribution, and style of British music from the end of The Civil War to around 1725. This will be structured through a series of case studies involving groups or individual instrument makers, music publishers, members of allied trades, and the musicians or composers whom they supported. I shall be undertaking technical organological studies of the instruments from this period and analysis of cultural factors that influenced their design and development. I aim to provide the foundations for a biographical dictionary for the music trade by revising existing specialist work within the context of this study (for example, Humphreys and Smith, 1954; Henley, 1976; Langwell, 1993) and contributing new information about unrecorded members of this industry.

Examples of proposed case studies are:

  1. The rise of the music publisher John Playford: The political context of his early publications, contrasting his career as a Royalist propagandist prior to 1650.
  2. The development of engraved music in England.
  3. The Huguenot and immigrant contribution to the Musical trade.
  4. British import and export of music and instruments.
  5. The rise of the music trade in St Paul's Churchyard c.1684-c.1725: The conditions after The Fire of London leading to the establishment of this centre, and the study of those who worked there representing various 'schools' of instrument makers that had previously operated along the boundaries of the City of London and in the provinces.
  6. Gender roles in the music trade: Drawing upon the evidence from other case studies, this will examine the abundant evidence of the role of women in this industry.

I aim to provide a holistic and multidisciplinary study in order to pull together and build upon scholarship previously fragmented into organology, musicology, and bibliography. The usefulness of these approaches is restricted in the context of an industry that frequently transcended these fields. This limits an understanding of underlying commercial principles that controlled British music. Within recent years greater emphasis in musicology and performance has been placed in this sphere and my purpose is to contribute to the wealth of understanding within this mainstream area of scholarship.