This book focuses on the relationship between music and power in Baroque Era.
Music always functions in a specific environment and, viewed from the other side, environments use music to confirm and strengthen their identities. Institutions of power have in all times employed music to present themselves to the outside world, alongside other means such as architecture, fine arts, design and fashion. The present volume brings together a number of studies that all deal, in one way or another, with the question of how power was implemented in music in what is called the Baroque Era, roughly the seventeenth century and the first half of the eighteenth. The essays can be grouped under four main headings: court opera, ceremonial music, “musicians” and miscellaneous studies. Several essays discuss court opera, one of the most conspicuous musical forms with which a monarch could display his power. Music could also accompany festivities and ceremonies of all sorts, of very different kinds of institutions, courtly, civil or ecclesiastical. Not only sovereign rulers could employ music to confirm their power, also lower-ranking powers such as nobility often invested in music in order to gain prestige. Various studies highlight this aspect of “music and power”. Finally, there are studies that deal with more general questions, such as the representation of power in Baroque opera, dedications of musical works to royals and other patrons, and the social status of musicians as they are positioned between patrons and public.