Front cover image for Four and twenty fiddlers : the violin at the English court, 1540-1690

Four and twenty fiddlers : the violin at the English court, 1540-1690

"On 1 May 1540 six Jewish string players newly arrived from Italy were given posts at Henry VIII's court. They were probably the first violinists to set foot in England, and the group they founded became one of the country's most enduring musical institutions, serving Tudors, Stuarts, and Hanoverians in turn. The 24 places established for it by Charles II only finally disappeared from the royal household in this century."--BOOK JACKET. "On one level this book is a history of the first 150 years of this institution. It recognizes for the first time the central role of the court in the musical life of Tudor and Stuart England, and in doing so presents a novel and fascinating picture of the musical profession of the time. But it also explores a number of other issues, largely neglected until now. The first chapter is a new account of the origin of the violin, placed in the wider context of the development of instruments and instrumental music in the later Middle Ages. The second explains the role of music and musicians in the daily round of court life, and their dealings with the court bureaucracy. Running through later chapters is a concern to show how particular genres of consort music derive from the repertory of known ensembles at court and outside, and how the size and composition of these ensembles determined types of scoring and styles of writing."--BOOK JACKET. "The author has examined a mass of archival material for this study, and, by relating it to the surviving musical repertory, shows how seemingly dry-as-dust documents can contribute a good deal to our understanding of music of the past, and can often have a direct bearing on how we should perform it. As befits the director of one of our leading early music groups, Peter Holman tackles head-on many thorny questions of scoring and performance practice raised by the English consort repertory from Henry VIII to Purcell, and reaches some startling conclusions. This book will be of interest not only to scholars of Tudor and Stuart music, but historians in general, as well as string players and anyone involved in performing music of the period."--BOOK JACKET
Print Book, English, 1993
Clarendon Press ; Oxford University Press, Oxford, New York, 1993
Criticism, interpretation, etc
xxvii, 491 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
9780198161455, 9780198165927, 019816145X, 0198165927, 019816145X
"Quagmires of history and terminology" - the origin of the violin; "The place of a musicon in ordinary" - place and patronage at court; "Mynstrelles with straunge soundes" - fiddles, rebecs and viols at the Early-Tudor court; "Musicke of violenze" - the Elizabethan String Consort; "Common musicke" - the violin outside the court; "Nach Englischer Art" - a "lost" repertory of Elizabethan dance music; "In the arte of musicke and skill of danceing" - the Jacobean Court Orchestra; "Coperarios musique" - the households of Prince Henry and Prince Charles; "His majesties musique of violins" - the Caroline Court Orchestra; "The fancy-musick" - the violin and court chamber music; "The fideldedies" - Charles II and the 24 violins; "Waiters upon the violin" - the 24 violins at court; "By intervals design'd" - music for the London stage; "Infinitely gallant" - court masque and opera; "The French fantastical light way" - violins in the Chapel Royal; "A mighty musique entertainment at court" - reform and retrenchment. Appendices: succession of places for string-players at the Early-Tudor court; succession of places for court violinists 1540-1642; succession of places in the 24 violins 1660-1685; some sizes of court violin bands in performance 1607-1685. Donated in memory of Kathleen Parlow