One cannot study the history of musical life in Europe without studying the circulation of musical works. Music goes from one place to another because of an asymmetrical situation: that is, there is the production of exportable music on one place that matches the need for imported music on another place. Whereas before 1700 music was often produced for the local or regional market, from 1700 on music publishers produced music in such a way that it could be sold internationally.
During the nineteenth century one can easily speak of mass production in this respect. The studies in this volume on The Circulation of Music in Europe 1600–1900 approach the topic from a number of different angles. The first four contributions (headed Cities and Countries) study certain places or areas in Europe and analyse the ways in which music was created and moved from one place to another. Manuscripts or prints of music have to be produced and to be sold, and somebody must buy them to bring them to a different place. The studies in the second part (headed Publishing and Purchasing) deal with the processes involved in the production music and its dissemination via the music trade. The studies bundled in the third part of the present book, headed Repertoires and Reception, do not study the source side of the dissemination, but rather its receiving side, through the examination of repertoires to be found in certain places or in certain regions. When music is transferred from one place to another, changes may well take place, due to the variations in musical cultures from one part of Europe to another. The last part of the present volume (headed Assimilations and Appropriations), deals with these issues. The present volume on The Circulation of Music in Europe 1600–1900 is the outcome of a research group with the same name that formed a part of the research project Musical Life in Europe 1600–1900, launched by the European science foundation in strasbourg.