The rise of the professional music critic in nineteenth-century England

Paul Watt

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review


The Institute of Journalists had been founded ten years earlier, in 1913, 'to promote the professional interests of dramatic and musical critics, and to facilitate social intercourse and the exchange of views on artistic matters'. This chapter examines the state of music criticism in England from about the 1860s to the end of the century surveying the progress that music criticism made in its advance towards professionalisation: the teaching and training of critics; the establishment of principles to guide the critic, plans to improve the quality of writing style, and the need for comparison as a tool for combating personal and parochial opinions. It considers the characteristics of the professional critic and the audiences for whom they wrote to know the literary and economic climate in which their professional development occurred. The chapter claims that dramatic and musical criticism had never been 'more brilliantly or more conscientiously written that it is now'.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Music Profession in Britain, 1780–1920
Subtitle of host publicationNew Perspectives on Status and Identity
EditorsRosemary Golding
Place of PublicationAbingdon Oxon UK
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9781315265001
ISBN (Print)9781138291867
Publication statusPublished - 28 Mar 2018

Publication series

NameMusic in Nineteenth-Century Britain


  • Music criticism
  • British history
  • literary history
  • print culture
  • musicology

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