English | Oct 24, 1996 | ISBN: 0859915506 | 452 Pages | EPUB | 5 MB
Richard Rastall's two books on music in early English religious drama complement each other. Heaven Singing provides an overview of the evidence for music in the plays, and defines the place, nature and cultural contexts of music in the drama; Minstrels Playing is a discussion of the evidence for every play in that repertory, and is therefore concerned with the place and nature of musical performance in each play individually.
Where should there be music in an anomymous English religious play of the fifteenth or sixteenth century? What sort of music should it be, and by what forces should it be performed? This volume shows how music was used at the time of the plays' production, both through a close examination of individual texts, and of the place of music in the intellectual and artistic life of the middle ages. Richard Rastall begins by discussing the internal literary evidence of the play texts, the surviving notated music in the plays, and documentary evidence of productions, before turning to the wider cultural context in which the plays were composed and performed. He considers the representational and dynamic functions of music in the plays, the relationship between music, drama and liturgy, and the performers themselves