Home
Shop  |  Calendar  |  Join  |  Buy Tickets  |  Hamnet  |  Site Rental  |  Press Room  
  
About UsWhat's OnUse the CollectionDiscover ShakespeareTeach & LearnFolger InstituteSupport Us
Folger Exhibitions
• Past Exhibitions
Noyses, Sounds, and Sweet Aires
Music on Stage

   Sign up for E-news!
   Printer Friendly

"Would You Have a Love Song?"



Music on Stage


Patrons making their way through London's streets, down to a ferry-landing on the Thames, across the water, up the bank, and through the doors of the Globe Theatre would have heard cart wheels rumbling, peddlers selling their wares, ferrymen yelling for passengers, and dogs yelping. Entering the theater, they encountered another world of sounds, a world that included music.

 

Music played many roles in theatrical performances: interpolated songs added layers of meaning to dramatic conversations; set pieces evoked the role of music in the real world; instrumental interludes helped set or reflect the mood.

 

While much of the music for the Elizabethan stage has been lost, its existence is made clear through song texts found in the plays, cues indicating performance, and references to familiar ballads and songs.

 

Are you interested in learning more about the music heard and referenced in Shakespeare's plays? Here are some selected readings on Shakespeare and theatrical music in early modern England:

 

Duffin, Ross. Shakespeare's Songbook. New York, 2004.

 

Finney, Gretchen L. Musical Backgrounds for English Literature: 1580-1650. New Brunswick, 1962.

 

Lindley, David. Shakespeare and Music. London, 2006.

 

Seng, Peter J. The Vocal Songs in the Plays of Shakespeare, a Critical History. Cambridge, Mass., 1967.

 

 

 

Next »
 
Wits. Part 1. London, 1662



Additional Information

Drolls, comic scenes often excerpted from plays, were performed in ad hoc settings during the Commonwealth when theater was prohibited. Marsh published this collection after the Restoration.

 

The frontispiece offers a glimpse of a seventeenth-century theater: characters from several drolls populate the stage; curtains cover a place that could be used as a musicians' gallery. It is the first illustration to show an English stage lit by chandeliers and candles in front.





Bookmark and Share   
 
     Copyright & Policies   |   Sitemap   |   Contact Us   |   About This Site
RSS   
 
  Address:
201 East Capitol Street, SE
Washington, DC 20003
Get directions »

Federal Tax ID #04-2103542
    Hours:
PublicReading Room
10am to 5pm, Monday through Saturday8:45am to 4:45pm, Monday through Friday
12pm to 5pm, Sunday9am to noon and 1pm to 4:30pm, Saturday
    Phone:
Main: 202 544 4600
Box Office: 202 544 7077
Fax: 202 544 4623