Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

MUSL1111 - Shakespeare and Music - Cyrus: Home

Recommended Databases:

MIT Global Shakespeares Video and Performance Archive  - "includes a uniquely extensive collection of theatrical videos from the Arab World, Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Italy, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, Spain and the United Kingdom that offer fascinating glimpses of local performance traditions as well as insights into the cultural exchanges and new genres through which Shakespeare is becoming the major “global” author in the digital age. The project has brought together major scholars, artists and rights holders to create the largest and most diverse international collection of theatrical videos for Shakespeare study on the web." (https://lit.mit.edu/portfolio/mit-global-shakespeare/, accessed 31 August 2020).

Selected Books:

Cover shows a group of performers on a Shakespearean stage.

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.

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 bronze female figure in front of a tree.

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 image showing a group of Shakespearean era musicians gathered around a table to play.

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.

Dark green book cover showing a drawing of a musician playing a stringed instrument with a long neck.

Music in Shakespeare: A Dictionary

Musical references, allusions to music, and music stage directions abound in Shakespeare, ranging from simple trumpet flourishes to sophisticated, philosophical allegory. Music in Shakespeare: A Dictionary identifies all musical terms found in the Shakespeare canon. An A-Z of over 300 entries includes a definition of each musical term in its historical and theoretical context, and explores the extent of Shakespeare's use of musical imagery across the full range of his dramatic and poetic work. Music in Shakespeare also analyses the usage of musical instruments and sound effects on the Shakespearean stage, providing descriptions of the instruments employed in the Elizabethan and Jacobean theatres. This is a comprehensive reference guide for scholars and students with interests ranging from the thematic and allegorical relevance of music in Shakespeare's works to the history of performance. It is also aimed at the growing number of directors and actors concerned with recovering the staging conditions of the early modern theatre.

Pale blue book cover with a drawing of birds in the center.

Broken Harmony: Shakespeare and the Politics of Music

Music was a subject of considerable debate during the Renaissance. The notion that music could be interpreted in a meaningful way clashed regularly with evidence that music was in fact profoundly promiscuous in its application and effects. Subsequently, much writing in the period reflects a desire to ward off music's illegibility rather than come to terms with its actual effects. In Broken Harmony, Joseph M. Ortiz revises our understanding of music's relationship to language in Renaissance England. In the process he shows the degree to which discussions of music were ideologically and politically charged. Offering a historically nuanced account of the early modern debate over music, along with close readings of several of Shakespeare's plays (including Titus Andronicus, The Merchant of Venice, The Tempest, and The Winter's Tale) and Milton's A Maske, Ortiz challenges the consensus that music's affinity with poetry was widely accepted, or even desired, by Renaissance poets. Shakespeare more than any other early modern poet exposed the fault lines in the debate about music's function in art, repeatedly staging disruptive scenes of music that expose an underlying struggle between textual and sensuous authorities. Such musical interventions in textual experiences highlight the significance of sound as an aesthetic and sensory experience independent of any narrative function.

book cover with image of a Renaissance painting in the background.

Shakespeare's Musical Imagery

Music pervades Shakespeare's work. In addition to vocal songs and numerous instrumental cues there are thousands of references to music throughout the plays and many of the poems. This book discusses Shakespeare's musical imagery according to categories defined by occurrence in the plays and poems. In turn, these categories depend on their early modern usage and significance. Thus, instruments such as lute and viol deserve special attention just as Renaissance ideas relating to musical philosophy and pedagogical theory need contextual explanation. The objective is to locate Shakespeare's musical imagery, reference and metaphor in its immediate context in a play or poem and explain its meaning. Discussion and explanation of the musical imagery suggests a range of possible dramatic and poetic purposes these musical references serve.

Questions? Ask Me!

Sara Manus's picture
Sara Manus
Contact:
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
Website
Subjects:Music