It is a truth widely acknowledged that, while part of a uniquely diverse and vibrant musical environment, the achievements of home-grown British instrumentalists in the nineteenth century gave little cause for national pride. Drawing together information from a wide variety of primary and secondary sources, in particular treatises and tutors, the author demonstrates that while Britain produced many fewer instrumental virtuosi than its foreign neighbours, there developed a more serious and widespread interest in the cultivation of music throughout the nineteenth century. Taking a predominantly historical approach, the book moves from a discussion of general developments and issues to a detailed examination of violin pedagogy, method and content which is used as a guide to society's influence on cultural trends and informs the discussion of other instruments and institutional training that follows. In the first study of its kind the author examines in depth the inextricable links between trends in society, education and levels of achievement. He also extends his study beyond professional and 'art' music to incorporate the hugely significant amateur and 'popular' spheres. To provide a contextual framework for the study, the book includes a chronology of developments in 19th-century British music education, and a particularly useful feature for future researchers in this field is a representative chronology of principal British instrumental treatises 1780-1900 that features over 700 items.
Music in Britain: a social and cultural context: The consumer society; The musician's lot; Music and the moral dimension: 'damned if you do, damned if you don't'; Musical appreciation; 'Artistic awakening' or 'damnable flood'? The popularity of music and the spread of opportunity; Music education and 'the age of improvement': The legacy of the 18th century; The battle of the sexes; Theory or practice; science or art?; Vocal and instrumental; Conservatism and innovation; The 19th century; State laissez-faire and the status quo; Private enterprise and philanthropic zeal; The 'tabooed' art; New horizons; The 'flood' and popular music education; Instrumental teaching: Instruction methods; Apprenticeships; Self-instruction and private tuition; Institutions and group tuition; Styles and personalities; Native and foreign; 'Good taste'; Sources: general trends; The vocal model; The violin family: Violinists in Britain; The violin and bow; Violin technique; The violin: stigma and solace; The viola, violencello and double bass; Other intruments: Keyboard; Wind; Brass; Plucked strings and miscellaneous; Institutions: Prior to c.1850; Conservatories; Schools; Other; c.1850-c.1900; Conservatories; Schools; Other; Conclusion: realized potential and stifled ambition; Chronology of principal British instrumental treatises 1780-1900; Appendix; Chronology of 19th-century British music education.