A Definition of Creativity: Jean-Baptiste Lully and the Académie royale de Musique

Abigail Counts Butler University
Faculty Sponsor(s): Nicholas Johnson Butler University
In 1672, Jean-Baptiste Lully acquired full rights to the production of French opera and the Académie royale de Musique. He established a centralized music market and managed nearly all operations to ensure strict nationalism and international dominance. However, the culmination of these actions underutilized French talent and, arguably, artistry. Several of Lully’s contemporaries criticized him for his power and lack of variation in musical styles and operatic themes. Due to Lully’s power and the restrictions placed on music production, it is likely the monarchy acknowledged political, economic, cultural, and social relationships. In his research, Robert Isherwood suggests the monarchy’s priority was to connect these sectors, leaving few regards for artistry. Based on this theory, I argue Lully’s control over these relationships generated a successful and creative cultural institution, due to centralization, extrinsic motivation, and his creativity. By analyzing the organizational structure of Lully’s Académie royale de Musique, I present a discussion of Lully’s creativity as it relates to creation-dissemination in a cultural industry. For the survival of the Académie and opera, it was imperative Lully not only produce new operas according to royal policy, but also understand the constraints within his industry and the implications of performance. Drawing on different definitions of creativity and stimulants of innovation, it can be concluded that Lully’s extrinsic motivations had a great influence on the novelty of his compositions and the dissemination of his music. Jean-Baptiste Lully utilized his own brand of creativity, one that was not restricted to aesthetic components.
Oral Presentation

When & Where

11:15 AM
Lilly Hall 141