Instrumentalists and Renaissance Culture, 1420-1600: Players of Function and Fantasy

Instrumentalists and Renaissance Culture, 1420-1600: Players of Function and Fantasy

By: Victor Anand Coelho (author), Keith Polk (author)Hardback

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This innovative and multi-layered study of the music and culture of Renaissance instrumentalists spans the early institutionalization of instrumental music from c.1420 to the rise of the basso continuo and newer roles for instrumentalists around 1600. Employing a broad cultural narrative interwoven with detailed case studies, close readings of eighteen essential musical sources, and analysis of musical images, Victor Coelho and Keith Polk show that instrumental music formed a vital and dynamic element in the artistic landscape, from rote function to creative fantasy. Instrumentalists occupied a central role in courtly ceremonies and private social rituals during the Renaissance, and banquets, dances, processions, religious celebrations and weddings all required their participation, regardless of social class. Instrumental genres were highly diverse artistic creations, from polyphonic repertories revealing knowledge of notated styles, to improvisation and flexible practices. Understanding the contributions of instrumentalists is essential for any accurate assessment of Renaissance culture.

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About Author

Victor Coelho is Professor of Music and Director of the Center for Early Music Studies at Boston University. A Fellow of Villa I Tatti, the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence, his books include Music and Science in the Age of Galileo, The Manuscript Sources of Seventeenth-Century Italian Lute Music, Performance on Lute, Guitar, and Vihuela, and The Cambridge Companion to the Guitar. In 2000 he received the Noah Greenberg Award given by the American Musicological Society for outstanding contributions to the performance of early music, resulting in a recording (with Alan Curtis) that won a Prelude Classical Award in 2004. His recordings as lutenist and director appear on the Stradivarius, Toccata Classics and Teldec labels. Keith Polk is a Professor Emeritus at the University of New Hampshire, and has also taught at Brandeis University, the New England Conservatory, and Regents College, London. He is one of the foremost authorities on Renaissance instrumental music, and has produced numerous articles and several books on the subject, including German Instrumental Music of the Late Middle Ages (Cambridge, 1992). He is also a professional player of the French horn, having performed with the San Diego Symphony, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Orchestra, Boston Baroque, and the Smithsonian Chamber Players. His Festschrift, Instruments, Ensembles, and Repertory, 1300-1600, edited by Timothy McGee and Stewart Carter, was published in 2013.


Prologue: the culture of Renaissance instrumental music; 1. Renaissance instrumental music and its patrons; 2. A source-based history of Renaissance instrumental music; 3. The players; 4. Instrumental music for celebration and ceremony; 5. The instrumentalist's workshop: pedagogy, intabulation, and compositional process; 6. Renaissance instruments: images and realities; Epilogue.

Product Details

  • publication date: 26/05/2016
  • ISBN13: 9781107145801
  • Format: Hardback
  • Number Of Pages: 345
  • ID: 9781107145801
  • weight: 850
  • ISBN10: 1107145805

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