Music in the West Country
Title Details

476 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

14 b/w, 10 line illus.

Series: Music in Britain, 1600-2000

Series Vol. Number: 18

Imprint: Boydell Press

Music in the West Country

Social and Cultural History across an English Region

by Stephen Banfield

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
The first regional history of music in England.

Music in the West Country is the first regional history of music in England. Ranging over seven hundred years, from the minstrels, waits, and cathedral choristers of the fourteenth century to the Bristol Sound of the late twentieth, the book explores the region's soundscape, from its gateway cities of Bristol and Salisbury in the east to the Isles of Scilly in the west, and examines music-making in tiny villages as well as conditions in important centres such as Bath, Exeter, Plymouth, and Bournemouth. What emerges is both a study of the typical - musical practices which would apply to any English region - and a portrait of the unique - features born of the region's physicalisolation and charm, among them the growth of festival culture, the mythologising of folk music, the late survival of parish psalmody and nonconformist carolling, and the unique continuance, today, of a professional resort orchestra, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.
Banfield's vividly written and extremely readable history of music in the west country considers an array of subjects, firmly centred on people's stories: musical inventions and theidea of tradition, music as cultural capital, the economics of musical employment and the demographics of musicianship, musical networks, the relationship of the hinterlands to the metropolis, the influence of topography, the importance of institutions and events, and the question of how to measure value. A study in prosopography, it shows how people went about their lives with music and explores how things changed for them - or did not.

STEPHENBANFIELD is Emeritus Professor of Music at the University of Bristol.
Preface and acknowledgements
Landscapes and soundscapes
Musical authority: organs
Musical incorporation: bands and choirs
Musical livings I: the prosopography
Musical livings II: individual case studies
Musical capitalisation I: events and inventions
Musical capitalisation II: institutions
Epilogue
"It shows how Devon situates itself within the greater regional soundscape...'non-music' historians ought not to leave this book on the shelf for it contains absolute gems where individuals, families, towns, villages and institutions are concerned." THE DEVON HISTORIAN
"[An] impressive book...offering valuable insights into the social and cultural 'musicking' of the West Country." JOURNAL OF THE ROYAL ANTHROPOLOGICAL INSTITUTE
"Banfield's monograph is finely written and teeming with information. . . . Within each chapter, Banfield's mastery of the subject matter comes to the fore. . . . [It is] an expansive, thought-provoking, deeply researched consideration of the varieties of musicking in the West Country from the fourteenth century to the present day. . . . [T]his book [is] perfectly suited for scholars of English music and culture. . . . One hopes it will become a framework that future scholars will build upon." Timothy M. Love, NINETEENTH-CENTURY MUSIC REVIEW
"A major contribution to the study of music in Devon and the rest of the West Country...will long stand as an essential reference for anybody embarking on further work...Highly readable." REPORT AND TRANSACTIONS OF THE DEVONSHIRE ASSOCIATION
"Scrupulously researched and beautifully written." JOURNAL OF HISTORICAL GEOGRAPHY
"Stephen Banfield has written a wonderful book. Drawing connections between place and music, he finds new ways of interpreting both as he guides the reader over nearly 8,000 square miles and more than 600 years of West Country 'musicking'." MUSIC & LETTERS
"A useful resource...[offers a] vast prosopography of west country people who made their living from music.from networks of patronage, family and marriage, to musical servants, townwaits, tutors and apprentices, and from instrument makers and repairers to music dealers, any of these groupings offer avenues for fruitful further research." SOCIAL HISTORY
"A huge, impressive study." POPULAR MUSIC
"There is certainly plenty in relation to folk song...Banfield highlights the importance of the West Country." FOLK MUSIC JOURNAL
"There is much to be enjoyed in this book...it is well-written with a great deal of social history woven into the musical story, making it an excellent read for both the historian as well as the musician." OLD CORNWALL, THE JOURNAL OF THE FEDERATION OF OLD CORNWALL SOCIETIES
"A very readable account tracing the way in which amateur and professional performers, players and composers of music went about their business in the past...You are going to meet an awful lot of fascinating, weird and wonderful people along the way." BRISTOL POST
"With an acute instinct for social history, Banfield uncovers many curiosities...[in] this cornucopia of fascinating information." MUSICAL OPINION QUARTERLY

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9781783272730

February 2018

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Title Details

476 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

14 b/w, 10 line illus.

Series: Music in Britain, 1600-2000

Series Vol. Number: 18

Imprint: Boydell Press