The CMBV is running a day seminar on music copyists to assess their knowledge, methods and the working of their craft.
Music copyists played an important role in the production of both sacred and secular music and played two key roles: they helped circulate unprinted scores for commercial purposes (Foucault, Loulié, etc.) or to preserve musical heritage (e.g. Philidor, etc.) ; and they also copied individual parts for choirs, soloists and instrumentalists ahead of rehearsals (working to deadlines and under pressure).
Their work was usually anonymous and could be meticulously or sloppily done. The actual number of copyists is unknown. They had knowledge of music but were not members of a corporation - they were often self-employed and worked from home. Personal details exist about only very few copyists.
This seminar aims to pool the available findings in order to get a clearer picture of this group of professionals. Who employed them? Who trained them? Did they have another ‘real’ job? How easily can they be identified? What sort of affiliations existed for this branch of craft?