student profile: Mrs Kathryn Parker


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Thesis work

Thesis title: Words and Music: A Study of the Cultural Significance of Ballad Singing in Elizabethan and Jacobean Comedy

Supervisors: Alan MADDOX , Liam SEMLER

Thesis abstract:

This project seeks to uncover the cultural significance of vocal music that was used during the period from 1587 to 1620. More specifically, it will focus on songs in the Comedies of William Shakespeare in comparison to songs sold out of public print houses in London. Ross Duffin and William Chappell have demonstrated that the songs within Shakespeare’s plays share their melodies and even lyrics at times with songs printed as single sheet broadsides or in printed book collections during the early modern period.

‘Words and Music’ aims to draw new conclusions about musical dramaturgy by conducting close readings of musical printed materials related to Shakespeare’s use of song in dramatic scenes in comedy.

This study is supported by the ARC Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions and is considering songs within dramatic texts alongside prominent musical philosophies of the time. This includes readings of treatises on affecting the passions through music, rhetoric and music, and philosophies of the senses for understanding the significance of instrumentation and singing in communicating meaning to audiences in Elizabethan and Jacobean drama.

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