Journal article

Some Other Note: The Lost Songs of English Renaissance Comedy

David McInnis

EARLY THEATRE | ITER | Published : 2019


Every student of early modern theatre understands, on some level, that music featured prominently in the performance of plays; Alan C. Dessen and Leslie Thomson, in their Dictionary of Stage Directions in English Drama (Cambridge, 1999), identify 630 explicit stage directions for music to sound in over 220 plays. But because even those play-texts which print lyrics typically do not include printed music to accompany them, I would suggest that very few scholars appreciate quite how extensive a role music played. Like prologues, epilogues, and letters, songs circulated independently of play-texts, leading (we might assume) to an increased propensity for loss. On rare occasions, though, a music..

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