Music criticism in nineteenth-century England: How did it become a profession?

Paul Watt

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Of the two-dozen professions that emerged in nineteenth-century Britain, such as medicine, the law and the public service, music criticism was a late developer. This paper examines the social, economic and intellectual factors that led to the establishment of music criticism as a profession and the ways institutions such as the Musical Association and the Musical Times contributed to this process of professionalization. I argue that the path to making music criticism a creditable profession was neither a top-down nor bottom-up approach; rather it was
a ubiquitous movement driven by newspapers readers, editors, and composers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-126
Number of pages10
JournalMusicologica Brunensia
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Criticism
  • journalism
  • professionalisation
  • nineteenth century

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