chapter  2
21 Pages

Social aspects: from private to public

By the mid-eighteenth century, Europe's death rate was falling, the population was growing, and agricultural output was improving. While the nobility still maintained great wealth and power, it was challenged by a rising middle class. Royalty was no longer the chief patron and commissioner of music. With the social changes came a new class of amateurs who needed accessible music. Aristocratic-court chamber music initially stood in sharp contrast to that associated with the general public. Paris was the musical mecca of Europe, particularly during the third quarter of the eighteenth century. Between 1760 and 1789, Paris boasted more instrumental composers, performers, and publishers than any other city in the world. In contrast to musical life in Paris, that in London grew out of entrepreneurship. Although the nobility and wealthy sponsored their own quartet parties and the like, home music-making among the middle class was a common occurrence.