John Walsh and his Handel editions

Burrows, Donald (2008). John Walsh and his Handel editions. In: Myers, Robin; Harris, Michael and Mandelbrote, Giles eds. Music and the Book Trade from the Sixteenth to the Twentieth Century. London: The British Library, pp. 69–104.



The history of music printing and publishing has generally formed a self-contained area of research within the study of book history. Bibliographers and book historians have tended to overlook the trade in printed music, partly at least because the means of production (reproducing notation rather than letter forms) and of distribution (often through the specialist sellers of musical instruments and equipment) were themselves distinct. On the other hand, musicologists have until recently paid less attention to the commercial aspects of printed music, concentrating more on the technicalities of composition and performance.

The original contributions contained in this volume set out to map some of the common ground between music and other forms of print, exploring the ways in which the organization of production and the process of publication of printed music have developed over time. From the production and sale of missals in Renaissance Spain to the complexities of Gustav Mahler’s copyrights in late 19th century Vienna, these essays raise issues and demonstrate methods of approach which will be of wider relevance to many areas of book history. How composers and publishers worked out their respective financial interests is just one of the recurring themes which will strike a chord with those who study the business of print.

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