Theater, Music, and Religion in the Long Sixteenth Century
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.”
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