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MUSL 1111 - Shakespeare and Music - Cyrus: Home

Selected Books:

Book cover featuring a pastoral scene.

Shakespeare's Auditory Worlds: Hearing and Staging Practices, Then and Now

Inspired by the verbal exuberance and richness of all that can be heard by audiences both on and off Shakespeare's stages, Shakespeare's Auditory Worlds examines such special listening situations as overhearing, eavesdropping, and asides. It breaks new ground by exploring the complex relationships between sound and sight, dialogue and blocking, dialects and other languages, re-voicings, and, finally, nonverbal or metaverbal relationships inherent in noise, sounds, and music, staging interstices that have been largely overlooked in the critical literature on aurality in Shakespeare. Its contributors include David Bevington, Ralph Alan Cohen, Steve Urkowitz, and Leslie Dunn, and, in a concluding "Virtual Roundtable" section, six seasoned repertory actors of the American Shakespeare Center as well, who discuss their nuanced hearing experiences on stage. Their "hearing" invites us to understand the multiple dimensions of Shakespeare's auditory world from the vantage point of actors who are listening "in the round" to what they hear from their onstage interlocutors, from offstage and backstage cues, from the musicians' galleries, and often most interestingly, from their audiences.

Book cover with a color illustration of a man playing a medieval lute.

Shakespeare's Lyric Stage: Myth, Music, and Poetry in the Last Plays

What does it mean to have an emotional response to poetry and music? And, just as important but considered less often, what does it mean not to have such a response? What happens when lyric utterances--which should invite consolation, revelation, and connection--somehow fall short of the listener's expectations? As Seth Lerer shows in this pioneering book, Shakespeare's late plays invite us to contemplate that very question, offering up lyric as a displaced and sometimes desperate antidote to situations of duress or powerlessness. Lerer argues that the theme of lyric misalignment running throughout The Tempest, The Winter's Tale, Henry VIII, and Cymbeline serves a political purpose, a last-ditch effort at transformation for characters and audiences who had lived through witch-hunting, plague, regime change, political conspiracies, and public executions. A deep dive into the relationship between aesthetics and politics, this book also explores what Shakespearean lyric is able to recuperate for these "victims of history" by virtue of its disjointed utterances. To this end, Lerer establishes the concept of mythic lyricism: an estranging use of songs and poetry that functions to recreate the past as present, to empower the mythic dead, and to restore a bit of magic to the commonplaces and commodities of Jacobean England. Reading against the devotion to form and prosody common in Shakespeare scholarship, Lerer's account of lyric utterance's vexed role in his late works offers new ways to understand generational distance and cultural change throughout the playwright's oeuvre. 

Book cover with a color photograph of a group of instrumental musicians.

Shakespeare, Music and Performance

Music has been an essential constituent of Shakespeare's plays from the sixteenth century to the present day, yet its significance has often been overlooked or underplayed in the history of Shakespearean performance. Providing a long chronological sweep, this collection of essays traces the different uses of music in the theatre and in film from the days of the first Globe and Blackfriars to contemporary, global productions. With a unique concentration on the performance aspects of the subject, the volume offers a wide range of voices, from scholars to contemporary practitioners (including an interview with the critically acclaimed composer Stephen Warbeck), and thus provides a rich exploration of this fascinating history from diverse perspectives.

Book cover with an illustration of a large white hand grasping a Black male body.

The Oxford Handbook of Shakespeare and Performance

Shakespearean performance criticism has undergone a sea change in recent years, and strong tides of discovery are continuing to shift the contours of the discipline. The essays in this volume, written by scholars from around the world, reveal how these critical cross-currents are influencingthe ways we now view Shakespeare in performance.The volume is organised in four Parts. Part I interrogates how Shakespeare continues to achieve contemporaneity for Western audiences by exploring modes of performance, acting styles, and aesthetic choices regarded as experimental. Part II tackles the burgeoning field of reception: how and whyaudiences respond to performances as they do, or actors to the conditions in which they perform; how immersive productions turn spectators into actors; how memory and cognition shape and reshape the performances we think we saw. Part III addresses the ways in which revolutions in technology havealtered our views of Shakespeare, both through the mediums of film and sound recording, and through digitalizing processes that have generated a profound reconsideration of what performance is and how it is accessed. The final Part grapples with intercultural Shakespeare, considering not onlymatters of cultural hegemony and appropriation in a "global" importation of non-Western productions to Europe and North America, but also how Shakespeare has been made "local" in performances staged or filmed in African, Asian, and Latin American countries. Together, these ground-breaking essaysattest to the richness and diversity of Shakespearean performance criticism as it is practiced today, and they point the way to critical continents not yet explored.

Dark blue book cover with an image of a manuscript of music.

Reverberating Song in Shakespeare and Milton: Language, Memory, and Musical Representation

Offering a new perspective on two major authors, Minear explores Shakespeare's and Milton's fascination with the idea of language infiltrated by music and reproducing not so much the formal or sonic properties of music as its effects on minds and memories. She reveals that many of the qualities that seem to us characteristically 'Shakespearean' stem from Shakespeare's engagement with how music works-and that Milton was deeply influenced by this aspect of Shakespearean poetics.

Black book cover with background image of a curclicue.

Shakespeare and the Victorians

OXFORD SHAKESPEARE TOPICS General Editors: Peter Holland and Stanley Wells Oxford Shakespeare Topics provide students and teachers with short books on important aspects of Shakespeare criticism and scholarship. Each book is written by an authority in its field, and combines accessible style with original discussion of its subject. The book shows how the reception and remodelling of the works and the man directed the Victorian construction of identity, personal, national and aesthetic, as well as laying foundations that later Shakespeareans could continue, extend or reject. Shakespeare was one of the most pervasive intellectual, aesthetic, and social forces of the Victorian period, with the plays in print, performance, and as moral examples penetrating to every aspect of life in every social class and situation. Shakespeare and the Victorians offers an analytical survey of the main forms and paths of this presence. It begins with a discussion of the processes of editing and publishing the plays, embracing both cholarly and popular editions. It moves to consider performance styles, quoting original reviews to assess methods of acting and production. Music for the Shakespearean stage, now largely forgotten, is reassessed, as is the varied tradition of Shakespeare painting that extends far beyond the familiar images of the Pre-Raphaelites. Shakespearian themes dominate in the novel, especially the conflict between town and country and the changing status of women; poetry shows the power of Shakespeare in the use of iambic pentameter and the sonnet form. The plays are fragmented through the study of individual character and their use as moral compendia, and the search for 'Shakespeare the man' in biographies, portraiture and pilgrimages to the birthplace. A concluding chapter looks at the last two decades in terms of editing, performance, the renewed importance of the Sonnets, and new performance styles.

Shakespeare's Musical Imagery

Music pervades Shakespeare'swork. In addition to vocal songs and numerous instrumental cues there arethousands of references to music throughout the plays and many of the poems.This book discusses Shakespeare's musical imagery according to categories definedby occurrence in the plays and poems. In turn, these categories depend on theirearly modern usage and significance. Thus, instruments such as lute and violdeserve special attention just as Renaissance ideas relating to musicalphilosophy and pedagogical theory need contextual explanation. The objective isto locate Shakespeare's musical imagery, reference and metaphor in itsimmediate context in a play or poem and explain its meaning. Discussion andexplanation of the musical imagery suggests a range of possible dramatic andpoetic purposes these musical references serve.

Book cover with a bronze statue of a woman clad in flowing dress.

Edinburgh Companion to Shakespeare and the Arts

A substantial reference work that supersedes existing studies, the Companion, explores the place of Shakespeare in relation to a wide range of artistic practices and activities, past and present. The 'arts' are defined broadly as cultural processes that take in publishing, exhibiting, performing, reconstructing and disseminating. The 30 newly commissioned chapters are divided into 6 sections: Shakespeare and the Book; Shakespeare and Music; Shakespeare on Stage and in Performance; Shakespeare and Youth Culture; Shakespeare, Visual and Material Culture; and Shakespeare, Media and Culture. Each chapter provides both a synthesis and a discussion of a topic, informed by current thinking and theoretical reflection. Key Features* Addresses Shakespeare in terms of a global frame of reference* Chapters consider chronology and overview, critical history and analysis* Responds to a growing critical and pedagogical interest in the relations between Shakespeare, the arts, film, performance and mass media more generally

Book cover with color photograph of a woman seated onstage in front of a microphone and an electric keyboard.

Shakespeare and Popular Music

Exploring the interactions between Shakespeare and popular music, this book links these seeming polar opposites, showing how musicians have woven the Bard into their sounds.

Book cover with a photograph of a statue of a young girl, possibly a fairy.

Musicking Shakespeare: A Conflict of Theatres

In this book, Daniel Albright, one of today's most intrepid and vividly communicative explorers of the border territory between literature and music, offers insights into how composers of genius can help us to understand Shakespeare. Musicking Shakespeare demonstrates how four composers -- Purcell, Berlioz, Verdi, and Britten -- respond to the distinctive features of Shakespeare's plays: their unwieldiness, their refusal to fit into interpretive boxes, their ranting quality, their arbitrary bursts of gorgeousness. The four composers break the normal forms of opera -- of music altogether -- in order to come to terms with the challenges that Shakespeare presents to the music dramatist. 

Book cover with a photograph of mobile devices and earbuds.

Shakespeare and Music: Afterlives and Borrowings

This is a study of the rich and diverse range of musical responses to Shakespeare that have taken place from the seventeenth century onwards. Written from a literary perspective, the book explores the many genres and contexts in which Shakespeare and his work have enjoyed a musical afterlife discussing opera, ballet, and classical symphony alongside musicals and film soundtracks, as well as folk music and hip-hop traditions. Taking as its starting point ideas of creativity and improvisation stemming from early modern baroque practices and the more recent example of twentieth-century jazz adaptation, this volume explores the many ways in which Shakespeares plays and poems have been re-worked by musical composers. It also places these cultural productions in their own historical moment and context. Adaptation studies is a fast emerging field of scholarship and as a contribution to this field, Shakespeare and Music: Afterlives and Borrowings: develops theories and practices from adaptation studies to think about musical responses to Shakespeare across the centuries brings together in an exciting intellectual encounter ideas and methodologies deriving from literary criticism, theatre history, film studies, and musicology explores music in its widest context, looking at classical symphonies including the work of Berlioz and Elgar and operas by Verdi and Britten as well as Broadway musicals, film scores by Shostakovich, Walton, and contemporary performers, and the jazz adaptations of Duke Ellington and others. This is a timely study that will appeal to a wide readership from lovers of Shakespeare and classical music through to students of film and historians of the theatre.

Book cover with an illustration of people making music around a table, probably dating from the Elizabethan period.

Shakespeare and Music

This unique and comprehensive study examines how music affects Shakespeare's plays and addresses the ways in which contemporary audiences responded to it. David Lindley sets the musical scene of Early Modern England, establishing the kinds of music heard in the streets, the alehouses, private residences and the theatres of the period and outlining the period's theoretical understanding of music. Focusing throughout on the plays as theatrical performances, this work analyzes the ways Shakespeare explores and exploits the conflicting perceptions of music at the time and its dramatic and thematic potential.

Key Databases:

Global Shakespeares is a collaborative project that provides access to Shakespeare productions from around the globe. More than 300 productions have been cataloged, with 236 videos of individual performances available for viewing.

Questions? Ask Me!

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Sara Manus
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Music Librarian for Education and Outreach / Anne Potter Wilson Music Library, 2134B / Blair School of Music / 2400 Blakemore Avenue, Nashville, TN 37212
615-322-8686
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Subjects: Music