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Title: Theatrical Aspects and Meanings of Music in English Renaissance Drama
Author: Wong, Katrine Ka-Ki
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2008
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Abstract:
The central concern of this thesis is the negotiation between the dichotomous qualities with which ~usic is associated: the heavenly and the demonic. This duality has always been an important concept in social and philosophical perception ofthe art since classical times. Despite the moral threat that some thinkers have warned about with regards to engaging oneself in musical activities, the element ofmusic is indispensable on the Renaissance stage. The thesis is constructed around a discussion ofthe theatrical meanings ofmusic and its expression of gender, love, and love-related madness in Renaissance drama. One of my major intentions is to e~plore music in non-Shakespearean works in order to provide a wider context, one that has received very little critical discussion. Theatrical music, both songs and instrumental episodes, helps in shaping audience response toward characters and events. Therefore an important aspect of this thesis is the discussion of recent stage productions of Shakespearean plays, which are used to illustrate theoretical questions encountered in the process ofexamining theatrical music and its meanings. The Introduction explores questions related to the mechanisms of meaning-making I in music and in various types of musical episodes in the theatre. As is informed or implied by . . stage directions, instrumental music can be classified as diegetic or non-diegetic, but I argue that both diegetic and non-diegetic music can be further described as either inset or non-inset. Song episodes are relatively more straightforward to be identified as either perfonnative or impromptu. Some of these issues regarding theatrical meanings of music and the musical portrayal of characters and dramatic atmosphere are explored in detail in a case study of Autolycus's songs in recent productions of The Winter sTale. The chapter 'Music and Women' investigates the parallelism between music and women in the Renaissance, and the moral dichotomy of good and evil present in women engaged in singing and instrumental perfonnance. The existing scholarship on music and Shakespearean female characters will be expanded into an analysis of a much wider range of women on the Renaissance stage and their relationship with their music. 'Music and Men' develops similar questions, with masculinity as the focal point. The central argument of this chapter is that Renaissance men are also concerned with the binary effects of music on their masculine identity. The subject of music and masculinity in Renaissance literature has hardly received any examination, a lack which this chapter attempts to begin to repair. The chapter discusses the paradox that while music is an indispensable part of a boy's education in becoming' a well-developed and multi-skilled man, as \vell as a vital factor found in male bondjng, it can, however, also effeminate' a man unless appropriate 'masculine' music is practised in a temperate and moderate ~anner. 'In 'Music and Love', that music is ubiquitously dualistic is once again manifested in the central theme of love and lust in Renaissance drama. Following the observation in the two chapters on women and men that music can trigger off both divine and vulgar feelings, so can the feeling of love be celestial or obscene. Love can also lead to erotomania and various kinds of madness, which will be discussed in the latter half of the chapter. Two more case studies of Twelfth Night and Hamlet are included to further explore queries developed in the examination of the bipolarity in the practice of music related to men and women in times of both sanity and madness. These questions include the distinction between diegeticlnon-diegetic music and in-set/non in-set music; how music contributes to the semantics of love and madness in a specific performance environment; how our modem understanding and interpretation of theatrical music differ from or resemble the socio-culturally positioned perception in Renaissance England.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: University of Leeds, 2008 Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.490819  DOI: Not available
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