Beyond Boundaries: Rethinking Music Circulation in Early Modern England

Beyond Boundaries: Rethinking Music Circulation in Early Modern England

Beyond Boundaries: Rethinking Music Circulation in Early Modern England

Beyond Boundaries: Rethinking Music Circulation in Early Modern England

Synopsis

English music studies often apply rigid classifications to musical materials, their uses, their consumers, and performers. The contributors to this volume argue that some performers and manuscripts from the early modern era defy conventional categorization as "amateur" or "professional," "native" or "foreign." These leading scholars explore the circulation of music and performers in early modern England, reconsidering previously held ideas about the boundaries between locations of musical performance and practice.

Excerpt

Linda Phyllis Austern, Candace Bailey, and Amanda Eubanks Winkler

The fifteen essays in this collection reconsider ways in which musical practice and circulation in early modern England negotiated boundaries, demonstrating how music and musicians fluidly moved between social and professional hierarchies, oral/aural and written traditions, and sacred and secular contexts. From the mid-sixteenth century to the end of the eighteenth century, musical spaces were elided among home, stage, court, church, and street, and musical collaborations triumphed over national, vocational, and confessional differences. Gender norms were relaxed and reconfigured, and labor and leisure overlapped for the performance and consumption of music. Through patterns of circulation and use, the public became private, the private public, and the musical dicta of etiquette and pedagogical manuals were suspended.

This book began as a series of conversations among several contributors. It became increasingly evident that many of the categories applied to seventeenthcentury English music making are anachronistic. Most immediately questionable, we found, were hard divisions between the public and the private and “amateur” and “professional” musicianship. Actual patterns of practice, especially as evident in manuscripts and eyewitness accounts, were far more nuanced than theoretical bifurcation allows. As our discussions expanded into the sixteenth and eighteenth centuries, we realized that other widely accepted oppositions such as female and male, Catholic and Protestant, oral and written, high art and popular, and creator and consumer were more set in modern scholarship than in historical practice. Even the clean division of institutional music making into court, church, theater, and chamber so beloved by introductory textbooks became murky as we considered the contents of manuscripts, title pages and dedications of print collections, mass-market circulars such as broadsides and magazines, and performance practices for anything classified as dramatic or theatrical. the picture was further complicated by subtle and changing notions of . . .

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