Music, Myth and Story in Medieval and Early Modern Culture

March 2019
10 colour, 5 black and white, 7 line illustrations
342 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Music
ISBN: 9781783273713
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press
BIC AVGC2, 1D, 2AB, 3H

Music, Myth and Story in Medieval and Early Modern Culture

Edited by Katherine Butler, Samantha Bassler

The complex relationship between myths and music is here investigated.
Myths and stories offer a window onto medieval and early modern musical culture. Far from merely offering material for musical settings, authoritative tales from classical mythology, ancient history and the Bible were treated as foundations for musical knowledge. Such myths were cited in support of arguments about the uses, effects, morality and preferred styles of music in sources as diverse as theoretical treatises, defences or critiques of music, art, sermons, educational literature and books of moral conduct. Newly written literary stories too were believed capable of moral instruction and influence, and were a medium through which ideas about music could be both explored and transmitted. How authors interpreted and weaved together these traditional stories, or created their own, reveals much about changing attitudes across the period.
Looking beyond the well-known figure of Orpheus, this collection explores the myriad stories that shaped not only musical thought, but also its styles, techniques and practices. The essays show that music itself performed and created knowledge in ways parallels to myth, and worked in tandem with old and new tales to construct social, political and philosophical views. This relationship was not static, however; as the Enlightenment dawned, the once authoritative gods became comic characters and myth became a medium for ridicule. Overall, the book provides a foundation for exploring myth and story throughout medieval and early modern culture, and facilitating further study into the Enlightenment and beyond.

KATHERINE BUTLER is a senior lecturer in music at Northumbria University; SAMANTHA BASSLER is a musicologist of cultural studies, a teaching artist, and an adjunct professor in the New York metropolitan area.

Contributors: Jamie Apgar, Katie Bank, Samantha Bassler, Katherine Butler, Elina G. Hamilton, Sigrid Harris, Ljubica Ilic, Erica Levenson, John MacInnis, Patrick McMahon, Aurora Faye Martinez, Jacomien Prins, Tim Shephard, Jason Stoessel, Férdia J. Stone-Davis, Amanda Eubanks Winkler.

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Table of Contents

Music and the Myth of Apollo's Grove
The Consolation of Philosophy and the 'Gentle' Remedy of Music
And in England, There are Singers: Grafting Oneself into the Origins of Music
The Harmonious Blacksmith, Lady Music, and Minerva: The Iconographyof Secular Song in the Late Middle Ages
Foolish Midas: Representing Musical Judgement and Moral Judgement in Italy c.1520
Marsilio Ficino and Girolamo Cardano under Orpheus's Spell
Origin Myths, Genealogies, and Inventors: Defining the Nature of Musicin Early Modern England
How to Sing like Angels: Isaiah, Ignatius of Antioch, and Protestant Worship in England
In Pursuit of Echo: Sound, Space, and the History of the Self
Ophelia's Mad Songs and Performing Story in Early Modern England
Dangerous Beauty: Stories of Singing Women in Early Modern Italy
'Fantastic Spirits': Myth and Satire in the Ayres of Thomas Weelkes
Feeling Fallen: A Re-telling of the Biblical Myth of the Fall in a Musical Adaptation of Marvell's 'A Dialogue between Thyrsis and Dorinda'
'Armida's Picture we from Tasso Drew'?: The Rinaldo and Armida Story in Late-Seventeenth- and Early-Eighteenth-Century English Operatic Entertainments
Translating Myth Through Tunes: Ebenezer Forrest's Ballad Opera Adaptation of Louis Fuzelier's Momus Fabuliste (1719-29)

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