Songs without Words

Songs without Words

Keyboard Arrangements of Vocal Music in England, 1560-1760

Sandra Mangsen


University of Rochester Press



Pathbreaking study of a vast and intriguing repertoire: arrangements for keyboard instruments of songs, arias, and other vocal pieces, from the age William Byrd to that of Handel
Keyboard arrangements of vocal music flourished in England between1560 and 1760. Songs without Words, by noted harpsichordist and early-music authority Sandra Mangsen, is the first in-depth study of this topic, uncovering a body of material that is remarkably varied, musically interesting, and indicative of major trends in musical and social life at the time.
Mangsen's Songs without Words argues that the pieces upon which these keyboard arrangements were based constituted a shared repertoire, akin to the jazz standards of the twentieth century. In Restoration England, the ballad tradition saw tunes and texts move between oral, manuscript, and printed transmission and from street to playhouse and back again. During the eighteenth century, printed keyboard arrangements were aimed particularly at female amateur keyboardists and helped opera to become a widely popular genre.
Songs without Words considers a wide range of model pieces, including songs of many kinds and arias and other numbers from operas and oratorios. The resulting keyboard versions range from simple and pedagogically oriented to highly virtuosic. Two central issues -- the relationship between an arrangement and its model and the reception and aesthetics of arrangements -- are explored in the framing chapters. The result is a study that will be of great interest to scholars, performers, and anyone who loves the music of the late Renaissance, Baroque, and early Classic eras.

Sandra Mangsen is professor emerita of music at the University of Western Ontario.


August 2016
7 black and white, 76 line illustrations
282 pages
9x6 in
Eastman Studies in Music
ISBN: 9781580465496
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
University of Rochester Press
BISAC MUS020000, MUS023040, HIS015000
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Table of Contents

Ballads Transformed
Arias Domesticated: The Ladys Entertainment and Other Early Eighteenth-Century Anthologies
With Their Symphonies: William Babell and The Ladys Entertainment Books 3 and 4
Opera Remix: Babell's Suits of 1717
After Babell: Arrangements for Ladies and Gentlemen
Appendix: The Ladys Banquet (Second Series): Contents, Concordances, and Dissemination

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