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Noyses, Sounds, and Sweet Aires
Tavern Sounds

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"Fidlers, Who are Properly Call'd a Noise"



Tavern Sounds


Wild and raucous, English taverns were places to gather, drink, and celebrate.  Amidst the laughter and occasional brawls, visitors would have heard a group, or a noise , of fiddlers playing, ballad singers crooning, and revelers singing catches and rounds while partaking of tobacco, ale, and sack (white wine imported from Spain).

 

It is not surprising that music books compiled for amateur use included a number of these humorous and even salacious tunes.

 

This collection, with words only and no music, contains ballads, songs, and catches—typical pub fare. The engraving on the title page juxtaposes upper-class and lower-class taverns.

 

In the top scene, Apollo dispenses "nectar" to five drinking and smoking gentlemen at an inn. In the lower, a bagpiper provides music for dancing in a tavern signed with a "rose."

 

 

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N.D. An antidote against melancholy: made up in pills. London, 1661



Additional Information

Among the ballads, songs, and catches in An antidote to melancholy, there are a number that praise the virtues of carousing: "The exaltation of a pot of good ale"; "A glee in praise of wine"; "Three several songs in praise of sack"; and "The ballad of the brewer" are just a few.





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