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Industrial Revolution: 1770s to 1830s

Culture and Leisure


By John Purser

Amateur Concert Independent of formal control of music, folk traditions were alive and well. The ballad "Glasgow Peggie", a classic unknown outside Scotland, tells of a Glasgow girl who falls in love with a Highlander, only later discovering that he is a clan chief.

Kit fiddle Mollison's "An Essay Towards The Improvement Of The Musical Art" (Glasgow, 1798) attempted to justify a preference for folk over art music and collectors such as William Motherwell (1797-1835) researched and published ballad music and texts. Musical opportunities expanded with the city. Pianos were to be found in many homes. Amateurs would be musically literate enough to compose and dancing masters such as John Hall were also publishing. Hall's manuscript and his kit (dancing-master's fiddle) are in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum. In 1799 the Gentlemen's Subscription Concerts commenced, but by 1821 they had to popularise programmes to make ends meet.

Pious Jaw Breakers In the improvement of psalm singing, Thomas Moore's efforts were followed by R A Smith (1780-1829) in Paisley. Samuel Barr (1807-1866) taught music at the Mechanics Institute. There was a huge growth in vocal music in the form of choirs and concerts organised by the precentors of the, by now numerous, churches; or of Glee Clubs such as Euing's "The Glasgow Larks". Glasgow University Library is indebted to Euing (1788-1874) for a fine collection of music, including many rarities, and Euing endowed a lectureship in music at Anderson's College, now the University of Strathclyde.

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