Show Summary Details

Page of
PRINTED FROM Oxford Music Online. © Oxford University Press, 2019. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single article in Oxford Music Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).


  • Veronica Doubleday


The tradition of women making music for entertainment at royal courts has been notable in many cultures. Within this tradition the courtesan musician has a long history. Courtesan musicians and/or dancers were virtually institutionalized in many sophisticated art traditions of Asia and North Africa. Musical courtesans also flourished at certain times in Europe, e.g. Moorish Spain and 15th-century Venice, where they were renowned for their exquisite singing. Courtesans tended to arise in opulent conditions where powerful men restricted their own wives and daughters, exploiting the talents of lower-born women (often slaves) for entertainment....

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Please subscribe to access the full content.