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This opens a pop-up window to share the URL for this database. Each season, around 40 concerts are broadcast live and they can also be viewed at a later date in the concert archive. The archive contains hundreds of recordings. There are also documentaries and bonus films. Eighteenth Century Collections Online This link opens in a new window. Over , titles , volumes , including books, pamphlets, essays, broadsides and more, based on the English Short Title Catalogue. The twenty singers were selected on the basis of their contribution to and influence on the art of singing, their significance in the history of performance, what their careers reveal about the life of a professional female musician, and finally for the originality of their achievements.

All of the singers included reached the pinnacle of their art with persistence, ingenuity, and unsurpassed musicianship. Toon meer Toon minder. Recensie s Although opera divas are the primary characters, recital singers also receive some attention in this study of selected careers from the late sixteenth to the middle of the twentieth centuries. Each chapter includes a biographical sketch and career summary, timeline of major events, and bibliography. Presented in rough chronological order, each of 20 chapters opens with a description of an individual singer's sound, followed by a brief biography and a summation of the artist's significance.

Coverage includes well-known divas such as Marian Anderson and Jenny Lind as well as more obscure vocalists, such as Lillian Nordica, whose varied repertoire included everything from opera to singing with Gilmore's Brass Band.

Undoubtedly this is an useful book for specialist music collections across library sectors. The singers' stories tell much about musical life and ideals of the time, and the book provides commentary on how women fared in the business of music, emphasizing their ingenuity and persistence. Chapters contain time lines of the women's lives along with bibliographies, some quite extensive. The index is mostly limited to names and a few places but is nonetheless quite helpful. Woolf eds. The draconian laws and orders that repeatedly targeted singers and hawkers were used by local authorities as discretionary, rather than mandatory tools, which allowed them to deal quickly with perceived threats to social order at moments of high political tension, or with particularly troublesome individuals, thus reducing the number of singers coming before the courts.

One jesting pamphlet offers us a picture of how a summary punishment might work: a hasty Justice of Peace in London, standing at his gate [saw] a company of men and women, about a man that cry'd news books and Ballads. The Justice sent his man to him to forbear, or else he would lay him by the heels, the man answered the messenger stoutly again, that it was more than he, or his Master … could doe; the message being returned the justice bad his man, and others to help him carry the fellow and see him laid by the heeles; they went eagerly, and when they came to execute their purpose, the man told them, they was mistaken of him, for they should not lay him by the heeles … for the man had no leggs, but was a cripple.

Lupton, A thousand notable things edn. Personal sources, such as diaries and correspondence, alongside the practices of ballad collectors, make clear that scholars, churchmen and members of the ruling elites were themselves engaged in the world of the ballad as writers and performers.

Moreover, because commercial ballad writers wrote with performers and sellers very much in mind, internal evidence from ballad texts, and other literary sources, can offer valuable insights into how writers envisioned performers engaging with their audiences on the street. Moreover, by tracing the provenance of ballad titles for which numerous copies or editions survive, we can demonstrate their growing popularity and wide dissemination, at least among the social and political elites that collected them.

As historical figures, ballad singers have been of most interest to scholars of crime and poverty. In these accounts, they are bleakly characterised as desperate individuals who posed a threat to the social order and the parish purse; masterless wandering men and women, whose paltry wares perhaps included ballad sheets, or who were reduced to selling nothing but what the sound of their voice and efforts of memory could produce.

Marsh, Music and Society, — Foremost among these legendary types is the figure of Autolycus, immortalised by William Shakespeare in The Winters Tale. In fact, Autolycus, with Mercury's craft, loved to make white of black, and black of white. Ovid, Metamorphoses Book He not only reflects common complaints made against real ballad singers, but in literary terms too, by combining the traditions of Ovid and Virgil, his character embodies the inherent classical background that informs so much political song.

Moreover, Autolycus is a socially complicated character. Though he plays the part of a rogue, he is, in fact, both a courtier and an actor. Equally invaluable to scholars in offering some descriptive detail, are the numerous hostile attacks by contemporaries — including literary critics, poets, dramatists and religious writers — on the low reputation of balladeers writers and singers , and the social damage their songs could wreak. See the excellent survey and discussion of this literature in Marsh, Music and Society , Ch. The negative picture presented by these representations was by no means a merely literary construction.

No matter how well known they were, balladeers were always suspect. Even Martin Parker, the most celebrated popular songwriter of the first half of the century, was taken for alleged pickpocketing in though he was released without charge. Balladeers appearing before the courts tended to be a rowdy, drunken and dishonest lot. Singer John Jeffrey, presents a typical example.

The better the singer, the more successful they were at crimes of distraction. Wandering singers commonly offered songs at doors in return for payment or hospitality such as a drink of beer. This practice too presented criminal opportunities, as in , when a group of men drinking in a London tavern saw the plate locked up in a trunk for the night. Such accounts tell how the invariably male mediaeval minstrel was once mostly to be found in aristocratic houses and royal courts. Monastic houses provided accommodation as he travelled from venue to venue. The concomitant decrease in the culture of hospitality for strangers and travellers was often complained of, not least in song.

Travelling musicians were necessarily driven into the less salubrious world of the victualing trade, both for accommodation, and as venues for performance, with disastrous consequences for their reputations. They lamented what they regarded as a degenerative shift from the vibrant oral song tradition of the late mediaeval period to the stagnant fixity of print.

Shakespeare Songs : Greensleeves.. (Century’s recording : Deller Consort/Dupré)

Quoted in Alan Bold, The Ballad , Increasing numbers were employed as civic musicians such as town waits , as church musicians, as music teachers, in the theatres, among groups of players, and in the army. Singers and musicians continued to enjoy elite patronage: gentry families employed them to entertain at Christmas and New Year, while aristocrats paid for music when on their travels, or maintained their own liveried musicians.

Magrath ed. Calendar of the manuscripts of the most Hon. I, 62, fn. Meanwhile, the printed song trade lacked nothing in terms of originality and verve. New song titles, new tunes and new writers proliferated. Crucially, as the printed ballad trade grew, rather than buying from a book seller, we find people of every social sort seeking out ballad singers at local fairs and markets, or on the streets, in order to listen to and buy songs from them.

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C, Cv. Broadside ballads could travel with or without professional performers to accompany them, while the composition of songs was mostly the result of collaborations between hack poets and publishers. Singers became mouthpieces for the words of others, though they can be found in court records stridently expressing independent political views, as in , when ballad singer James Wright, from County Durham, was prosecuted for saying Cromwell was better than the King.

Raine ed. Yet, whether writing for the trade, as a commission, or from conviction, political ballad writers were well aware that without performance their songs could miss their mark.

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Without the mediation of singers, an audience might not understand the full resonance of lyrics, nor the power of the music to which they were set. The ballad trade too fully appreciated this. Publishers directly employed singers to disseminate new songs, especially topical and political ones. Jeaffreson ed. IV, 26, 10 June In earlier centuries, minstrels may have had a significant role in conveying knowledge of state news abroad, although they tended to circulate among courtly audiences rather than promiscuously popular ones, but certainly by the s if not earlier, the primary function of printed political songs was rarely that of narrating events in order to inform.

Indeed, given what we now know about the extensive spread of oral, manuscript and printed news, balladeers were not needed for this task. Yet, even these songs were written with an eye to posterity, in hopes they would become reusable recruiting anthems. Instead, political songsters aimed to attack or praise political figures or groups, to forge political memory, to elicit emotional support for one party or another — Parliamentarian, Cavalier, Court, Country, Whig or Tory — and to choreograph political actions.

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To achieve this effect, they relied upon audiences that already knew who and what their songs were about. Ballad Title Lost. By the s, contemporaries saw ballads as key contributors to a new culture of political celebrity. As diarist and bibliophile Narcissus Luttrell commented: About this time the Presse abounds with all manner of libels … It has been the endeavour of late of some persons to run things up to a strange height creating fewds and differences … so that all things are come to that passe, that they judge by the men, and not by the meritt of the cause.

I, The different roles played by newspapers and broadside ballads were contrasted in a song, The Gazet in Metre; or the Rhiming Newsmonger. Richard Gough, who chronicled the Shropshire parish of Myddle in , gives some idea of how ballad singers could change the dynamics of a news story. Gough told how, some years before, parishioner Vincent Juckes had left to become a sailor. But he and a companion were soon taken prisoner by a Turkish ship.

Landing first in London, and no doubt telling their tale to all who would listen, their story must have inspired published reports, bringing fame and some fortune to the returning heroes. David Hey London: Penguin, , Most political song performances — willing or unwilling — happened indoors , often for companies that were already politically in harmony.

Five Centuries of Women Singers by Isabelle Emerson - Praeger - ABC-CLIO

The gatherings that took place in taverns and alehouses, or even in private homes, were not without their dangers. Even private rooms were sonically porous, and, as court cases show, political singing was frequently overheard. Nonetheless, outdoor performers were necessarily exposed to a widely differentiated audience — politically, religiously and socially — that produced more immediate threats for governors and performers alike.


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The street was a particularly difficult performance space. Frequently cold, wet and filthy, the mostly unpaved streets of early modern England were not ideal venues for an activity that required an audience to stand and listen for a long period. Competition from other noise and traffic presented a considerable acoustical challenge; spatially too, it could be hard to find a position from which to command attention. To combat these difficulties, we know that city singers carefully chose the time and place of their performances.

They took up positions under the windows or at the doors of those they were ballading, or in prime locations where they could target their ideal market.


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  • They could be found at Temple Bar, linking Fleet Street and the Strand, where lawyers and clients were constantly passing; or at entrances to important places of business, notably the Exchange; or near the main offices of government. Hawkers even had to be restrained from crying their wares outside the royal court. Singer London, , 86—7. Thursday 20 July , Outside performances required listeners to gather closely together to hear, and good performers could draw large, socially mixed crowds.

    And doth no more mistrust him then his brother 64 64 C.