Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

“Buy, Reade, Regard”: Learning to Sing and Play Through the Printed Page in Early Modern England
by Jones, Margaret E., Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2019, 218; 22619610
Abstract (Summary)

In 1676 Thomas Mace reluctantly laid the lute to rest in Musick’s Monument. The “monument” in question was built both for the lute and for the styles of music that had been popular earlier in the century during what is often called the golden age of English lute music. Mace’s complaints about the fate of the lute in part were a reaction to the stylistic changes sweeping across England at the time. However, the ways music circulated – specifically the circulation of printed instruction books and manuscripts among musical amateurs – also played major roles in these ongoing changes to music-making, leading ultimately to the demise of the lute as a solo instrument. Musick’s Monument was the culmination of a trend in music publishing that began in the 1590s, where music publishers increased their output of music instruction books to respond to a growing market of rising merchant-class amateurs and students at universities. Several of these books – and in particular Thomas Robinson’s The Schoole of Musicke (1603) – complicate the intersections between instrumental and vocal music instruction by using the lute itself as an instructor for the voice. The dual-materiality of these lesson books – that is primarily the ways they encourage physical interactions with instruments, and secondarily the physical presence, format, and layouts of the books themselves – encouraged readers to use them in specific ways. At times the layout of duets positioned readers around a single book; at other times the books even encouraged their own dismantling in order to be used.

This dissertation traces the development of music-book publishing for self-taught amateurs. It recasts narratives about early modern music education to place greater emphasis on historical students as empowered readers, teachers and thinkers maneuvering within complex social and political realities. It also shows the variety of skills covered in self-instruction books and the ways these books use the same lute tablature to teach both playing and singing. It examines these books through a critical bibliographic lens, tracing the intersections between physical objects, the people that used them, and the music they contained. Ultimately, I contend that these instruction books and the self-guided study they encouraged were instrumental in the development of educational institutions that continue to develop into the present.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Moroney, Davitt
Commitee: Smart, Mary Ann, Pirillo, Diego
School: University of California, Berkeley
Department: Music
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 81/5(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Music history, Music education, British and Irish literature
Keywords: Book history, England, History of reading, Lute repertoire, Tablature
Publication Number: 22619610
ISBN: 9781392634905
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