The Economics of Music in the Middle Ages

By Jeffrey A. Tucker

It was my pleasure to appear on the History of the Papacy podcast to talk about the relationship between music, technology, and economics in the middle ages. The subject matter doesn’t immediately seem to be related but they were all mutually dependent. The invention of musical notation in the 11th century made the composition and performance of multi-part music more viable. The construction of large performance venues in cathedrals introduced new possibilities of complex harmonies due to the reverberating soundscape. This further gave rise to music composition as a profession. 

In addition, the rise of prosperity in the early years of capitalism turned the attention of artists away from pointing to the afterlife only to celebrating the good life on earth, thus giving rise to a dramatic stylistic change between the 15th and 16th centuries. 

These subjects and many more – among which the copyright status of chants – I discuss at some length in this podcast that I hope you enjoy. 

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Jeffrey A. Tucker

Jeffrey A. Tucker is Editorial Director for the American Institute for Economic Research. He is the author of many thousands of articles in the scholarly and popular press and eight books in 5 languages, most recently The Market Loves You. He speaks widely on topics of economics, technology, social philosophy, and culture. He is available for speaking and interviews via his emailTw | FB | LinkedIn