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Staging HarmonyMusic and Religious Change in Late Medieval and Early Modern English Drama$
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Katherine Steele Brokaw

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501703140

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501703140.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

Theater, Music, and Religion in the Long Sixteenth Century

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Staging Harmony
Author(s):

Katherine Steele Brokaw

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9781501703140.003.0007

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the book’s main themes. This book demonstrates how theatrical music from the late fifteenth to the early seventeenth centuries contributed to contemporary discourses on the power and morality of music and its proper role in religious life, shaping the changes made to church music as well as people’s reception to those changes. While debates raged about music’s abilities to bring listeners and singers into harmony with their God—and its power to distract, corrupt, and manipulate—staged music could represent and enact the logical consequences of cases made by music’s defenders and its detractors. At the heart of this book is the argument that plays performed throughout the long sixteenth century literally and figuratively “staged harmony.”

Keywords:   theatrical music, religious life, church music, staged music

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