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Music, Myth and Story in Medieval and Early Modern Europe
 1783273712, 9781783273713

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and facilitating further study into the Enlightenment and beyond.

MUSIC, MYTH and STORY

Looking beyond the well-known figure of Orpheus, this collection explores the myriad stories that shaped not only musical thought, but also its styles, techniques and practices. The essays show that music itself performed and created knowledge in ways parallels to myth, and worked in tandem with old and new tales to construct social, political and philosophical views. This relationship was not static, however; as the Enlightenment dawned, the once authoritative gods became comic characters and myth became a medium for ridicule. Overall, the book provides a foundation for exploring myth and story throughout medieval and early modern culture,

in Medieval and Early Modern Culture

Myths and stories offer a window onto medieval and early modern musical culture. Far from merely offering material for musical settings, authoritative tales from classical mythology, ancient history and the Bible were treated as foundations for musical knowledge. Such myths were cited in support of arguments about the uses, effects, morality and preferred styles of music in sources as diverse as theoretical treatises, defences or critiques of music, art, sermons, educational literature and books of moral conduct. Newly written literary stories too were believed capable of moral instruction and influence, and were a medium through which ideas about music could be both explored and transmitted. How authors interpreted and weaved together these traditional stories, or created their own, reveals much about changing attitudes across the period.

KATHERINE BUTLER is a senior lecturer in music at Northumbria University. SAMANTHA BASSLER is a musicologist of cultural studies, a teaching artist, and an adjunct

Contributors: Jamie Apgar, Katie Bank, Samantha Bassler, Katherine Butler, Elina G. Hamilton, Sigrid Harris, Ljubica Ilic, Erica Levenson, John MacInnis, Patrick McMahon, Aurora Faye Martinez, Jacomien Prins, Tim Shephard, Jason Stoessel, Férdia J. Stone-Davis, Amanda Eubanks Winkler. Cover Image: Suzanne de Court, Minerva Visits the Muses on Mount Helicon, painted enamel mirror, early 17th century. Robert Lehman Collection, 1975, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Public Domain. Cover design by Greg Jorss.

an imprint of Boydell & Brewer Ltd PO Box 9, Woodbridge, Suffolk I PI2 3DF and 668 Mt Hope Ave, Rochester NY 14620, USA

Edited by Katherine Butler and Samantha Bassler

professor in the New York metropolitan area.

MUSIC, MYTH and

STORY in Medieval and Early Modern Culture

Edited by Katherine Butler and Samantha Bassler

studies in medieval and renaissance music 19

Music, Myth and Story in Medieval and Early Modern Culture

Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Music issn 1479-9294 General Editors Tess Knighton Helen Deeming This series aims to provide a forum for the best scholarship in early music; deliberately broad in scope, it welcomes proposals on any aspect of music, musical life, and composers during the period up to 1600, and particularly encourages work that places music in an historical and social context. Both new research and major re-assessments of central topics are encouraged. Proposals or enquiries may be sent directly to the editor or the publisher at the addresses given below; all submissions will receive careful, informed consideration. Professor Tess Knighton, Institucio Mila i Fontanals/CSIC, c/ Egipciaques, Barcelona 08001, Spain Dr Helen Deeming, Department of Music, Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey tw20 0ex Boydell & Brewer, PO Box 9, Woodbridge, Suffolk ip12 3df Previously published titles in the series are listed at the back of this volume.

Music, Myth and Story in Medieval and Early Modern Culture

Edited by Katherine Butler and Samantha Bassler

the boydell press

© Contributors 2019 All Rights Reserved. Except as permitted under current legislation no part of this work may be photocopied, stored in a retrieval system, published, performed in public, adapted, broadcast, transmitted, recorded or reproduced in any form or by any means, without the prior permission of the copyright owner First published 2019 The Boydell Press, Woodbridge ISBN 978-1-78327-371-3 The Boydell Press is an imprint of Boydell & Brewer Ltd PO Box 9, Woodbridge, Suffolk IP12 3DF, UK and of Boydell & Brewer Inc. 668 Mt Hope Avenue, Rochester, NY 14620–2731, USA website: www.boydellandbrewer.com A CIP catalogue record for this title is available from the British Library The publisher has no responsibility for the continued existence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-party internet websites referred to in this book, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate This publication is printed on acid-free paper Typeset in Adobe Arno Pro by Sparks Publishing Services Ltd—www.sparkspublishing.com

Contents List of Illustrations

vii

List of Contributors

x

Editors’ Note Introduction Katherine Butler and Samantha Bassler

xiv 1

i  myth in medieval music theory and philosophy

1 Music and the Myth of Apollo’s Grove John MacInnis

17

2 The Consolation of Philosophy and the ‘Gentle’ Remedy of Music Férdia J. Stone-Davis

32



3 And in England, There are Singers: Grafting Oneself into the Origins of Music Elina G. Hamilton

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ii  iconologies of music and myth



4 The Harmonious Blacksmith, Lady Music and Minerva: The Iconography of Secular Song in the Late Middle Ages Jason Stoessel

5 Foolish Midas: Representing Musical Judgement and Moral Judgement in Italy c.1520 Tim Shephard and Patrick McMahon

63

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iii  myths in renaissance philosophies of music 6 Marsilio Ficino and Girolamo Cardano under Orpheus’s Spell Jacomien Prins

7 Origin Myths, Genealogies and Inventors: Defining the Nature of Music in Early Modern England Katherine Butler

107

124

vi

Contents

iv  myth and musical practice

8 How to Sing like Angels: Isaiah, Ignatius of Antioch and Protestant Worship in England Jamie Apgar 9 In Pursuit of Echo: Sound, Space and the History of the Self Ljubica Ilic

141 156

v  narratives of performance



10 Ophelia’s Mad Songs and Performing Story in Early Modern England Samantha Bassler

11 Dangerous Beauty: Stories of Singing Women in Early Modern Italy Sigrid Harris

169

187

vi  myth and music as forms of knowledge

12 ‘Fantastic Spirits’: Myth and Satire in the Ayres of Thomas Weelkes Katie Bank 13 Feeling Fallen: A Re-telling of the Biblical Myth of the Fall in a Musical Adaptation of Marvell’s ‘A Dialogue between Thyrsis and Dorinda’ Aurora Faye Martinez

207



224

vii  re-imagining myths and stories for the stage

14 ‘Armida’s Picture we from Tasso Drew’?: The Rinaldo and Armida Story in Late Seventeenth- and Early Eighteenth-Century English Operatic Entertainments 241 Amanda Eubanks Winkler

15 Translating Myth Through Tunes: Ebenezer Forrest’s Ballad Opera Adaptation of Louis Fuzelier’s Momus Fabuliste (1719–29) 259 Erica Levenson Bibliography Index

277 305

Illustrations Colour Plates i Andrea di Bonaiuto da Firenze, Triumph of Saint Thomas Aquinas (post restoration 2003–4), detail of the Seven Liberal Arts on the right. Florence, Santa Maria Novella, Cappellone degli Spagnoli. © 2018 Photo SCALA, Florence, courtesy of Musei Civici Fiorentini ii Sandro Botticelli, Philosophy Presenting Lorenzo Tornabuoni(?) to the Seven Liberal Arts. Musée du Louvre. © Zenodot Verlagsgesellschaft mbH. Licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License, www. gnu.org/licenses/fdl.html iii Berlin, Staatsbibliothek Museen de Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz: Kupferstichkabinett, MS 78.C.28. Image © 2018 bpk-Bildagentur iv Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale: Banco Rari 229, fol.IV verso. Reproduced by permission of the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities, and Tourism (MiBACT). Further reproduction prohibited v Dosso Dossi, Allegory of Music. Florence, Museo Horne. © 2018 Photo SCALA, Florence vi Cima da Conegliano, Judgement of Midas, oil on panel, 43 × 73 cm, 1513–17. National Gallery of Denmark, Copenhagen. © SMK Photo vii Lorenzo Lotto, Allegory of Virtue and Vice, oil on panel, 57 × 42 cm, 1505. National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. Photograph courtesy of the National Gallery of Art, Washington viii Agnolo Bronzino, Apollo and Marsyas, oil on panel transferred to canvas, 48 × 119 cm, c.1530–2. Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg. Photograph © The State Hermitage Museum. Photo by Leonard Kheifets ix Marco Jadra, Polygonal Virginals, cypress, maple, ebony and ivory, 17.1 × 146.3 (front) × 42.6 cm, 1568. Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Photograph © Victoria & Albert Museum, London x Sir Anthony van Dyck (Flemish 1599–1641), Rinaldo and Armida (1629), oil on canvas, 93 × 90 in. (253.3 × 228.7 cm). The Baltimore Museum of Art: The Jacob Epstein Collection, BMA 1951.103. Photograph by Mitro Hood

Illustrations

viii

Black and White Plates Coëtivy Master (Henri de Vulcop?), Philosophy Presenting the Seven Liberal Arts to Boethius. Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum: MS. 42, fol.2v. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program 4.2 Musica shown in an Initial from a Copy of Boethius’s De musica. London, British Library: Burney 275, fol.359v. Image by the British Library. Public domain 4.3 Minerva. Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France: frç. 12420, fol.13v. Reproduced by permission of the library 4.4 Minerva. Paris, Bibliothèque National de France: frç. 598, fol.13r. Reproduced by permission of the library 6.1 Girolamo Cardano, ‘Lament’ in De tranquillitate, OO, vol. 2, pp. 346–7. Reproduced from the facsimile reprint of Cardano’s Opera Omnia with the kind permission of Frommann-Holzboog Verlag e.K.

4.1

69 69 81 82

120

Musical Examples 12.1 12.2 12.3 14.1

Thomas Weelkes, ‘Ha Ha’, Ayres and Fantastic Spirits (London, 1608), bars 1–5, transcribed by Francis Bevan Thomas Weelkes, ‘Since Robin’, Ayres and Fantastic Spirits (London, 1608), bars 6–12, transcribed by Francis Bevan Thomas Weelkes, ‘Aye Me Alas’, Ayres and Fantastic Spirits (London, 1608), bars 8–10, transcribed by Francis Bevan John Eccles, ‘For Revenge to Armida We Call’, bars 1–7, from Rinaldo and Armida, London, British Library, Add. MS 29738

213 217 220 248

Figures 1.1 14.1 14.2

The Order of Planetary Orbits According to Eriugena 27 Structural Similarities between The British Enchanters and Rinaldo 250 Comparison of Rinaldo and Armida and Rinaldo 251

Tables

1.1



1.2

Greater Perfect System as Presented by Boethius in De institutione musica 22 Lesser Perfect System as Presented by Boethius in De institutione musica 23

Illustrations ix





1.3



1.4



3.1 3.2 3.3

4.1 4.2 4.3 15.1 15.2 15.3

Immutable System, Combining both the Greater and Lesser Perfect Systems Eriugena’s Listing of the Tetrachords of the Immutable System Compared to De nuptiis, Book IX and Boethius’s De institutione musica, Book I London, British Library: Lansdowne MS 763, fol.56v Sources for Definitions of Musicus and Cantores Comparison of Passages on the Origin of Music in De origine et effectu musicae The Ordering of the Liberal Arts The Pairing of the Liberal Arts with their Inventors Text and Translation of Francesco Landini’s Musica son Verse Sung by Momus from Destouches and La Motte’s Issé (1719), Act IV, Scene 3 Verse Sung by Momus in the Final Vaudeville of Fuzelier’s Momus Fabuliste (1719) Verse and Marginalia from ‘Momus Fabuliste’, Recueil de chansons choisies en vaudevilles. Pour servir à l’histoire, anecdottes depuis 1697 jusques à 1731

23 25 47 51 54 66 67 71 269 273 273

The editors, contributors and publisher are grateful to all the institutions and persons listed for permission to reproduce the materials in which they hold copyright. Every effort has been made to trace the copyright holders; apologies are offered for any omission, and the publisher will be pleased to add any necessary acknowledgement in subsequent editions.

Contributors Katherine Butler is a senior lecturer at Northumbria University. Her research focuses on the musical culture of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England. She has written on wide-ranging topics, including court music, civic pageantry, ballads and popular song, gender, death songs and elegies, music philosophy, mythology, manuscript miscellanies and early music printing. Her book, Music in Elizabethan Court Politics,was published in 2015. She also has articles published or forthcoming in Renaissance Quarterly, Early Music, Music and Letters, the Journal of the History of Ideas, the Journal of the Royal Musical Association, The Library and the Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle. Samantha Bassler is a cultural musicologist of early music, and teaches music history and music theory as an adjunct professor at New York University, Mannes School of Music, Molloy College, and Rutgers University at Newark. Her research interests include English Reformation music and politics, music, disability and femininity in early modern England, the reception history of early English music, and music analysis. Her articles appear in Music Theory Online, postmedieval, The Oxford Handbook of Music and Disability Studies and Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy. Jamie Apgar received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, with a dissertation entitled ‘“Singing by Course” and the Politics of Worship in the Church of England, c.1560–1640’. His secondary interest in reconstruction led to an article, co-authored with Richard Freedman and Micah Walter, on the former’s Du Chemin Lost Voices Project, as well as a reconstruction of Alfonso Ferrabosco the Elder’s Da pacem, Domine for the Byrd Ensemble (Seattle). He currently directs the music programme at All Souls Episcopal Parish, Berkeley, serves as Chapel Musician at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific, and sings countertenor with professional ensembles in northern California. Katie Bank completed her doctoral thesis, ‘Music and Minde: Knowledge Building in Early Seventeenth-Century English Domestic Vocal Music’, at Royal Holloway, University of London in 2016, supervised by Helen Deeming (Royal Holloway) and Lisa Jardine (University College London). Her research reflects an interdisciplinary attention to the role of music within frameworks of knowledge, particularly music’s intersection with natural philosophy, the passions and concepts of sense perception. She is currently an associate of the Centre for Editing Lives and Letters at University College London and teaches tutorials at the University of Oxford. An avid choral singer, she performs regularly in London and abroad. Amanda Eubanks Winkler is Associate Professor of Music History and Cultures at Syracuse University. Her research and performance activities focus on English theatre music, with articles on topics ranging from seventeenth-century didactic



Contributors xi

masques to Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera; a book, O Let Us Howle Some Heavy Note: Music for Witches, the Melancholic, and the Mad on the SeventeenthCentury English Stage (2006); two editions of Restoration-era theatre music; and a co-edited collection, Beyond Boundaries: Rethinking Music Circulation in Early Modern England (2017). She has been awarded fellowships and grants from the NEH and the AHRC (UK). Elina G. Hamilton is an Assistant Professor at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, where she has been a faculty member since 2014. She received her doctorate from Bangor University in North Wales. She specialises in the history of English music theory during the transition between the Ars antiqua and Ars nova. Additional research interests include women’s work in music and Western music in Japan. Sigrid Harris lectures on the music of the Middle Ages, Renaissance and Baroque at the University of New England, Australia. She holds a PhD in musicology from the University of Queensland, Australia, and has received grants to do research in Florence, London, Modena, Oxford and Paris. She has presented her work at medieval and Renaissance music conferences in Certaldo, Birmingham, Brussels, Sheffield, Prague and Maynooth; the American Musicological Society Annual Meeting, Rochester; the Monteverdi 450th Anniversary Conference, Cremona; the Musical Humanism Conference, Venice; the Biennial International Conference on Baroque Music, Salzburg; and the Gesualdo 400th Anniversary Conference, York. Ljubica Ilic holds degrees from the University of Arts in Belgrade (BA in musicology) and the University of California, Los Angeles (MA and PhD in musicology), where she was a Chancellor’s Fellow. She was an Ahmanson-Getty Postdoctoral Fellow (2007–8) and a Visiting Professor in the Department of Musicology at UCLA (2008–9). Her first book, Music and the Modern Condition: Investigating the Boundaries, was published in 2010. Her research interests revolve around sonic experiences of space, spirituality and desire in modern Western culture. She is an Assistant Professor at the Academy of Arts, University of Novi Sad. Erica Levenson received a doctorate in musicology from Cornell University in 2017. She researches the theatrical and operatic exchanges between France and England that accompanied the flow of music, musicians, dancers and other performers across the Channel during the first half of the eighteenth century. She considers, in particular, how translations, revivals, adaptations and musical borrowings humorously mediated between French and English, as well as elite and popular cultures. She is currently a lecturer in the Department of Art and Music Histories at Syracuse University. John MacInnis is Associate Professor of Music and Department Co-Chair at Dordt College (Sioux Center, IA), where he teaches music history and music theory. His dissertation (Florida State University, 2014) traces the influence of music as a liberal art in the writings of John Scottus Eriugena, a ninth-century

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Contributors

philosopher. His other research interests include the place of music in Neoplatonic philosophy in late antiquity and the Middle Ages. As a collaborative keyboardist, he performs regularly in chamber music ensembles on the piano and organ. Aurora Faye Martinez is a doctoral researcher in English literature at the University of Birmingham. She has written a review of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Henry V in Shakespeare 12 (2016). Her research interests include early modern and romantic literature, pastoral, satire, historicism, genre theory, and manuscripts and early printed books. She earned her MA degree in literature at Northwestern University, Illinois and her BA in psychology at the University of Chicago. Patrick McMahon completed his undergraduate studies in music at the University of Sheffield in 2016. He contributed to the Leverhulme Trust-funded project ‘Music in the Art of Renaissance Italy, 1420–1540’ as a Research Assistant, initially through the competitive Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience scheme, and subsequently through work on his final-year dissertation. Jacomien Prins is an assistant professor at the Department of Philosophy and Cultural Heritage of Ca’ Foscari University of Venice. She has worked extensively on the interaction between music theory and philosophy in the Renaissance. Her work includes Echoes of an Invisible World (2014), Sing Aloud Harmonious Spheres (2017), The Routledge Companion to Music, Mind and Well-being (2018) and an edition of Marsilio Ficino’s Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus (forthcoming). She is currently working on a project titled ‘A Well-Tempered Life: Music, Health and Happiness in Renaissance Learning’, which analyses the conceptions of music psychology and therapy in the writings of a group of Renaissance scholars. Tim Shephard is Senior Lecturer in Musicology at the University of Sheffield, and also holds a status-only appointment as Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Toronto. His research into music, art and identity in Renaissance Italy has appeared in journals including Renaissance Quarterly, Renaissance Studies and Viator. He is the author of Echoing Helicon: Music, Art and Identity in the Este Studioli (2014) and co-editor of The Routledge Companion to Music and Visual Culture (2014). From 2014 to 2017 he led the project ‘Music in the Art of Renaissance Italy, 1420–1540’ funded by the Leverhulme Trust. Jason Stoessel is a Senior Lecturer in Music at the University of New England, Australia. His recent publications have appeared in Musicology Australia, Plainsong and Medieval Music, Intellectual History Review, Musica Disciplina, Sources of Identity (2017) and Europäische Musikkultur im Kontext des Konstanzer Konzils (2017). He has held a research visitorship for the Balzan ‘Towards a Global History of Music’ project at the University of Oxford (2013), was an Associate Investigator of the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions (2014–17) and has received consecutive Australian Research Council Discovery Project grants (2015–17 and 2018–21).



Contributors xiii

Férdia J. Stone-Davis is an interdisciplinary academic working at the intersection of music, philosophy and theology, as well as a musician. Her publications include the monograph Musical Beauty: Negotiating the Boundary between Subject and Object (2011), a co-edited volume titled The Soundtrack of Conflict: The Role of Music in Radio Broadcasting in Wartime and in Conflict Situations (2013), an edited volume on Music and Transcendence (2015) and an edited Contemporary Music Review journal issue, ‘Home: Creating and Inhabiting Place through Music Activity’ (vol.34, 2015).

Editors’ Note

T

he collection has its origins in a panel brought together for the 2014 Medieval and Renaissance Music Conference held in Birmingham. The panel, chaired by Tim Shephard and featuring papers by Katherine Butler, Samantha Bassler and Katie Bank, was entitled ‘Music, Myth, and Story in Late Renaissance England’. The editors would like to thank the Music and Letters Trust for their grant to support the publication of this volume, particularly its colour plate section. Note that medieval and early modern spelling and grammar have been modernised throughout this volume.

Introduction Katherine Butler and Samantha Bassler

T

he primary modern association of myth is with falsehood. A myth is a story or belief that is untrue, or is used in phrases such as the ‘man behind the myth’, referring to an exaggerated or idealised persona that blurs the reality. These associations of myth, however, arose in the nineteenth century.1 Indeed, in the medieval and early modern periods, the word ‘myth’ was not yet in use; however, ‘mythology’ was defined in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century English dictionaries as ‘the declaration or exposition of fables’, while mythologising was ‘an expounding or moralising upon a tale’.2 The expectation was not that such myths were false, but rather that they held deep meanings that needed to be teased out and interpreted. In this collection, the phrase ‘myth and story’ is intended to encapsulate the vast array of stories that were told about music: from the biblical episodes that were regarded as infallible truth, through the myths about the gods and heroes of the ancient world that were believed to communicate the wisdom of the ancient times, through legendary tales of historical personages, to newly created, literary stories. The roles these stories played in medieval and Renaissance music culture differed. Biblical and mythical tales were seen as encapsulating ancient or divine wisdom and were mined for episodes that could be interpreted in support of particular positions in musical arguments. By contrast, newly created stories held no authority, but were nevertheless a site for exploring contemporary conceptions and anxieties surrounding music and musical practices. While the relative authority granted to scriptural, mythical, historical and literary stories differed, all of these story-types played a role in constructing the period’s musical culture. How authors interpreted and wove together these traditional stories or created their own reveals much about changing attitudes across the period.

1

Oxford English Dictionary, ‘myth, n.’, OED Online www.oed.com/view/Entry/124670. Accessed 25/2/2018. 2 Thomas Elyot, The Dictionary of Sir Thomas Elyot Knight (London, 1538), sig.O3v, ‘Mythologia’; Thomas Blount, Glossographia, or, A Dictionary Interpreting All Such Hard Words of Whatsoever Language Now Used in our Refined English Tongue with Etymologies, Definitions and Historical Observations on the Same (London, 1661), sig.Dd2v. See also Henry Cockeram, The English Dictionary: or, An Interpreter of Hard English Words (London, 1623), sig.Hv. The word ‘fable’ was variously used to mean a mythological story, a story told to convey a lesson, or a fictitious or even deliberately false story: Oxford English Dictionary, ‘fable, n.’, OED Online www.oed.com/view/Entry/67384. Accessed 25/2/2018.

2

Katherine Butler and Samantha Bassler

Music-Themed Myths The figure who dominates our understanding of the role of myth in the musical culture of this period is Orpheus. His relationship with opera, poetry and the powers of music has been the subject of numerous books tracing his influence from the Middle Ages and Renaissance to modern times.3 To a lesser extent, the psalmist King David has dominated the biblical stories of music,4 while for stories relating to female musicians either the dangerous Sirens or the Christian musical patron Saint Cecilia have been the dominant focus.5 It is true that Orpheus was the primary figure on the early operatic stage and had a major influence especially on musical philosophers in the Renaissance, and also that David’s healing of Saul had a major influence on theories of music’s anti-demonic powers or role as a cure for melancholy.6 Yet reading any work in the laudes musicae tradition reveals a plethora of commonly cited stories concerning music’s origins and inventions, influence on human passions, healing powers, effects on nature, and role in politics, society and worship, as well as warnings regarding its sensual dangers or improper use. One distinctive aim of this collection, then, is to look beyond Orpheus and the handful of other figures that have come to dominate our picture of musical mythology, and expose a wider complex of biblical, mythical and otherwise authoritative stories that were the foundation for medieval and early modern musical 3

See for example: John Warden, ed., Orpheus: The Metamorphoses of a Myth (Toronto, 1982); Daniel P. Walker, ‘Orpheus the Theologian and Renaissance Platonists’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 16 (1953), 100–20; John Block Friedman, Orpheus in the Middle Ages (Cambridge, MA, 1970); Kenneth R.R. Gros Louis, ‘The Triumph and Death of Orpheus in the English Renaissance’, Studies in English Literature, 1500–1900 9 (1969), 63–80; Vladimir L. Marchenkov, The Orpheus Myth and the Powers of Music, Interplay: Music in Interdisciplinary Dialogue (Hillsdale, NY, 2009) and numerous others cited in Chapter 6, note 1. 4 See for example: Werner Kümmel, ‘Melancholie und die Macht der Musik: Die Krankheit König Sauls in der Historischen Diskussion’, Medizinhistorisches Journal 4 (1969), 189–209; Katherine Butler, ’Divine Harmony, Demonic Afflictions, and Bodily Humours: Two Tales of Musical Healing in Early Modern England’, Perfect Harmony and Melting Strains: Transformations of Music in Early Modern Culture, ed. Wolfram Keller and Cornelia Wilde, forthcoming; Dagmar Hoffmann-Axthelm, ‘David musicus, or: On the Power of String Music’, Essays on Renaissance Music in Honour of David Fallows: Bon Jour, Bon Mois et Bonne Estrenne, ed. Fabrice Fitch and Jacobijn Kiel (Woodbridge, 2011), pp.326–37. 5 On the Sirens, see for example: Linda Phyllis Austern and Inna Naroditskaya, eds, Music of the Sirens (Bloomington, 2006); Elizabeth Eva Leach, ‘“The Little Pipe Sings Sweetly while the Fowler Deceives the Bird”: Sirens in the Later Middle Ages’, Music and Letters 87 (2006), 187–211; Elena Laura Calogero, Ideas and Images of Music in English and Continental Emblem Books: 1550–1700, Saecula Spiritalia 39 (Baden-Baden, 2009), pp.96–122. For Saint Cecilia, see for example: Richard Luckett, ‘St. Cecilia and Music’, Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association 99 (1972), 15–30; Thomas Connolly, Mourning Into Joy: Music, Raphael, and Saint Cecilia (New Haven, 1994); Kelley Harness, Echoes of Women’s Voices: Music, Art, and Female Patronage in Early Modern Florence (Chicago, 2006), pp.67–9. 6 On Orpheus and early opera, see Frederick W. Sternfeld, The Birth of Opera (Oxford, 1993), pp.1–30; Ruth Katz, Divining the Powers of Music: Aesthetic Theory and the Origins of Opera (New York, 1986), pp.111–19.



Introduction 3

thought. The chapters here touch on musical stories relating to Pythagoras, Tubal/ Jubal/Tubalcain, Isaiah, Ignatius, Echo, Apollo, the Muses, Pan, Midas, Marsyas, Minerva, Mercury, Philomena or the nightingale, Amphion and Arion. These are by no means comprehensive; the pool of commonplace stories was so broad that a single volume cannot address them all. Not only were there many myths, but there were also many approaches to their interpretation. Biblical stories may have been considered infallible, but that did not mean there was agreement on their interpretation. For example, concerning the story of David curing the affliction of King Saul with his harp-playing (1 Samuel 16: 14–23), there was disagreement as to whether the illness should be interpreted as demonic possession or melancholy, and whether the cure should be attributed to David’s harp-playing or rather God’s providence.7 The interpretation of musical myths from classical mythology was a subject of even greater debate.8 Stripped of their pagan religious connotations, there was a general assumption that mythology contained important meanings beneath its superficial implausibility, but there was no agreement on what that meaning was and how it should be revealed. The main interpretative traditions had their origins in classical antiquity, but continued to inform medieval and early modern readings. The cosmological tradition equated the classical gods with planetary bodies.9 When coupled with the idea that music governed the universe from the harmonious movements of the heavens, through the workings of the body and soul, to its audible manifestation in instrumental and vocal music, this meant that direct parallels could be drawn between astrology, mythology and music. A famous visual example is the frontispiece to Gaffurius’s Practica musice (1496), in which an enthroned Apollo presides over the Muses on one side and the planets on the other, with the names of the musical tones and modes linking them and demonstrating the correspondence between all three elements.10 Such correspondences can be seen stretching from Martianus Capella’s De nuptiis Philologiae et Mecurii and Macrobius’s commentary on Cicero’s Somnium Scipionis in the fifth century, throughout the Middle Ages, and into Marsilio Ficino’s attempts to rediscover Orphic song through which mastery of the harmonies of the spheres could enable healing, the control of passions and the exorcising of demons.11 The second tradition was the Euhemerist or historical method, named after the Greek Euhemerus who was credited with instigating this approach in the fourth

7

Kümmel, ‘Melancholie und die Macht der Musik’; Butler, ‘Divine Harmony, Demonic Afflictions, and Bodily Humours’; Hoffmann-Axthelm, ‘David musicus, or: On the Power of String Music’. 8 Katherine Butler, ‘Changing Attitudes Towards Classical Mythology and their Impact on Notions of the Powers of Music in Early Modern England’, Music and Letters 97 (2016), pp.42–60 (44–8). 9 Jean Seznec, The Survival of the Pagan Gods: The Mythological Tradition and its Place in Renaissance Humanism and Art (New York, 1972), pp.1–83. 10 Franchinus Gaffurius, Practica Musice (Milan, 1496), frontispiece. 11 See chapters 1 and 6 in this volume.

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century bc.12 This practice regarded the classical gods as historical men whose great deeds and inventions caused their peoples to worship them and poets to exaggerate their exploits further still. Another related and similarly influential perspective was that of the Roman scholar Varro (116–27 bc), who had labelled this period between the unknown age and the beginning of recorded history as the ‘age of myth’.13 This was an age whose records were not true history, but poetic creations, founded in reality, but not literally true. The mythical Greek musicians were typically regarded as rulers who had discovered the art of music and brought their peoples to civility, or else had invented specific instruments. This interpretation was generally the method chosen by those narrating the mythical origins of music throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance.14 The third alternative strategy for interpreting musical myths was the moral or allegorical method. From this perspective, myths had no grounding in actual people or events, but were rather a repository of hidden philosophical knowledge.15 Allegory was a central method in Renaissance mythographies such as Giglio Gregorio Giraldi’s Historia de deis gentium (1548), Natale Conti’s Mythologiae (1567) and Vincenzo Cartari’s Imagini colla sposizione degli dei degli antichi (1556).16 In the medieval period, there was a tendency to read myths as paralleling biblical events – equating Orpheus with Christ or Eurydice with Eve.17 In the early modern period, moral or political interpretations tended to be favoured instead. One of the most common musical examples of these allegorical interpretations was the reading of Amphion’s building of the walls of Thebes and Orpheus’s taming of wild beasts as signifying the civilising effects of music and poetry.18 In practice, the Euhemerist and allegorical positions were closely intertwined. Authors did not subscribe to one method or the other, but rather integrated aspects of both. Indeed, sixteenth-century mythographers tended to assume a historical personage behind the myth even as they allegorised its content, while allegory also served Euhemeristic thinking by providing a means of explaining away the incredible elements of myths as the literary exaggerations of poets.19

12

Seznec, The Survival of the Pagan Gods, pp.4, 11–36; Arthur B. Ferguson, Utter Antiquity: Perceptions of Prehistory in Renaissance England (Durham, NC, 1993), pp.11–45; Luc Brisson and Catherine Tihanyi, How Philosophers Saved Myths: Allegorical Interpretation and Classical Mythology (Chicago, 2004), pp.128–31, 152–4. 13 Ferguson, Utter Antiquity, p.49. 14 See chapters 3 and 7 is this volume. 15 Seznec, The Survival of the Pagan Gods, pp.4, 84–121; Don Cameron Allen, Mysteriously Meant: The Rediscovery of Pagan Symbolism and Allegorical Interpretation in the Renaissance (Baltimore, 1970); Joseph M. Ortiz, Broken Harmony: Shakespeare and the Politics of Music (Ithaca, NY, 2011), pp.83–8; Brisson and Tihanyi, How Philosophers Saved Myths, pp.132–5; Edgar Wind, Pagan Mysteries in the Renaissance (London, 1958), pp.17–21. 16 Seznec, The Survival of the Pagan Gods, pp.229–56. 17 Friedman, Orpheus in the Middle Ages, pp.2, 38–85, 118, 125–6. 18 Calogero, Ideas and Images of Music, pp.6–43. 19 Ferguson, Utter Antiquity, pp.37–9.



Introduction 5

Allegory has been credited with ensuring the survival of mythology, both by attributing significant truths to what might otherwise have been rejected as bizarre or scandalous stories, and by enabling myths to be constantly adapted and reinterpreted.20 Allegory assigned a deep significance to mythology, while removing its pagan religious connotations, although some religious commentators still considered myths to be Satanic creations designed to imitate scriptural truth and confuse the faithful.21 Moreover, allegory also allowed Francis Bacon to suggest a continued role for mythological wisdom alongside empirical and experimental forms of inquiry. In works such as De Sapientia veterum (1609), he came to regard myths as the imperfectly preserved remnants of humanity’s greater understanding of nature from an illiterate period soon after the Fall. The allegories contained in these myths needed to be revealed so that they could guide modern inquiry, the wisdom they contained pointing the way to knowledge that could be verified through the observation of nature.22 The changing relationship between mythology and musical knowledge is another key theme in this collection. These changes do not perhaps occur where one might expect. There is no stark transformation of the way in which mythology is interpreted as one moves chronologically between the periods typically labelled medieval and Renaissance. Indeed, the interpretative methods applied to mythology across the period date back to the classical world, and had changed little.23 Only in the seventeenth century do signs of a changing relationship with mythology begin to occur as a growing emphasis on empirical and experimental philosophy gradually challenged the authority of ancient wisdom and mythological knowledge.24 In The Untuning of the Sky, John Hollander argued for a ‘demythologising’ of music during the seventeenth century, which he traced particularly through representations of music in poetry. He suggested that musical myths and images of heavenly and earthly concord were reduced to ‘decorative metaphor and mere turns of wit’, reflecting a diminishing belief in universal harmony.25 Yet 20

Brisson and Tihanyi, How Philosophers Saved Myths, pp.1–2. Kevin Killeen, Biblical Scholarship, Science and Politics in Early Modern England: Thomas Browne and the Thorny Place of Knowledge (Farnham, 2009), p.104. 22 Paolo Rossi, Francis Bacon: From Magic to Science, trans. Sacha Rabinovitch (Chicago, 1968), pp.73–134; Barbara Carman Garner, ‘Francis Bacon, Natalis Comes and the Mythological Tradition’, Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 33 (1970), 264– 91; Rhodri Lewis, ‘Francis Bacon, Allegory and the Uses of Myth’, Review of English Studies 61 (2010), 360–89. 23 Seznec, The Survival of the Pagan Gods, pp.3–4. 24 On new approaches to musical knowledge see for example: Penelope Gouk, ‘Acoustics in the Early Royal Society 1660–1680,’ Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London 36 (1982), 155–75; Penelope Gouk, Music, Science and Natural Magic in Seventeenth-Century England (New Haven, 1999), pp.61–3; H. Floris Cohen, Quantifying Music: The Science of Music at the First Stage of Scientific Revolution 1580–1650 (Dordrecht; Boston, 1984); Victor Coelho, ed., Music and Science in the Age of Galileo (Dordrecht; London, 1992); Paolo Gozza, Number to Sound:  The Musical Way to the Scientific Revolution (Boston, 2000). 25 John Hollander, The Untuning of the Sky: Ideas of Music in English Poetry, 1500–1700 (Princeton, 1961), pp.18–19. 21

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this demythologisation was a long process and even the emerging tendency to rationalise mythology had classical origins. As Thomas Browne attempted to root out ‘vulgar error’ in received wisdom and criticised the ‘mendacity of Greece’ for ‘poisoning the world ever after’ in his Pseudodoxia epidemica (1646), he turned to the rational explanation for the mythical wonders first put forward by the Greek Palaephatus in the fourth century bc.26 Palaephatus had argued that Orpheus had calmed the rage of the Bacchides with his music, who then came down from the mountain bearing branches, appearing from a distance like a walking wood.27 At the end of the seventeenth century, even members of the Royal Society such as Robert Hooke and John Wallis were still arguing for some element of truth within these myths. Hooke saw parallels between the tale of Amphion using music to move stones and build the walls of Thebes, with experimentally verifiable phenomenon in which inanimate objects can be made to move by music: the sound of one string being struck can cause vibrations in another string tuned to same pitch, or a glass filled with water will move if another tuned to same pitch is made to sound.28 John Wallis meanwhile drew comparisons between the attractive powers of Orpheus’s music and the behaviour of contemporary country people who ran after fiddlers or flocked to ballad singers at a fair.29

New Stories Newly created stories did not have the same authority as myth and could not be called upon as evidence to support moral, philosophical or musical argument. Yet literary stories were nevertheless an important site for exploring, shaping and transmitting knowledge and ideas. Beyond the authority granted to myth as the material on which arguments and opinions could be founded, a clear distinction between the two is often impossible to draw. Indeed, poets in this period often regarded themselves as philosophers whose eloquent language could educate and instil the values of rational life and a well-ordered society. As the poet Sir Philip Sidney put it: the poet is indeed the right popular philosopher, whereof Aesops tales give good proof: whose pretty allegories, stealing under the formal tales of beasts, make many, more beastly then beasts, begin to hear the sound of virtue.30 26

Sir Thomas Browne, Pseudodoxia Epidemica, or, Enquiries into Very Many Received Tenents and Commonly Presumed Truths (London, 1646), pp.20 and 22. 27 Palaephatus, Peri apiston = On Unbelievable Tales: with Notes and Greek Text from the 1902 B.G. Teubner Edition, ed. and trans. Jacob Stern (Wauconda, IL, 1996), p.65. 28 Gouk, ‘Role of Acoustics’, 593–5, 598–601; Katherine Butler, ‘Myth, Science, and the Power of Music in the Early Decades of the Royal Society’, Journal of the History of Ideas 76 (2015), 47–68 (57). 29 Butler, ‘Myth, Science, and the Power of Music’, 61–2; John Wallis, ‘A Letter of Dr. John Wallis, to Mr. Andrew Fletcher; Concerning the Strange Effects Reported of Music in Former Times, Beyond What is to be Found in Later Ages’, Philosophical Transactions 20 (1698), 297–303. 30 Sir Philip Sidney, An Apology for Poetry (London, 1595), sig.[D4]v.



Introduction 7

Like myth, newly written stories were regarded as capable of communicating essential truths and shaping the morality and values of their readers. The pastoral genre offers a clear example of this, as it was widely used as a setting in which political and social ideas could be safely explored.31 The poet George Puttenham described the pastoral topos as one in which ‘under the veil of homely persons, and in rude speeches’ one could ‘insinuate and glance at greater matters, and such as perchance had not been safe to have been disclosed in any other sort’.32 The parallels with allegorical readings of myth are apparent; the anonymous author of The Praise of Music, for example, advocated that readers of myth should ‘draw the veil aside, and look nearer into that, which now we do but glimpse at’. 33 Storytelling in this context is a kind of contemporary myth-making, creating a safe space in which to explore controversial ideas. Moreover, the pastoral genre was itself closely connected to the mythical realm of Arcadia, and often borrowed its characters.34 Katie Bank’s chapter in this volume explores the blurred lines between mythology and pastoral, suggesting that both were sites for self-examination and probing the boundaries of truth and fiction.35 This ability of literature to act as a site for exploring and shaping contemporary beliefs, politics, social norms and values was not restricted to pastoral genres. Since the 1980s, the ‘New Historicists’ have explored how literary texts can not only reflect wider culture, but also actively shape it. As Jean Howard put it: literature is an agent in constructing a culture’s sense of reality ... instead of a hierarchical relationship in which literature figures as the parasitic reflector of historical fact, one imagines a complex textualized universe in which literature participates in historical processes and in the political management of reality.36 This position has been applied extensively in the realm of the court, for example, where scholars have demonstrated the conscious use of literature for persuasion, to offer political counsel and to fashion contemporary notions of gender and power.37 Several chapters in this volume apply similar perspectives to exploring the con 31

See for example: Louis Montrose, ‘“Eliza, Queene of Shepheardes,” and the Pastoral of Power’, English Literary Renaissance 10 (1980), 153–82. 32 George Puttenham, The Art of English Poesy Contrived into Three Books (London, 1589), p.31. 33 The Praise of Music wherein besides the Antiquity, Dignity, Delectation, and Use thereof in Civil Matters, is also Declared the Sober and Lawful Use of the Same in the Congregation and Church of God (Oxford, 1586), p.5. 34 See for example: Giuseppe Gerbino, Music and the Myth of Arcadia in Renaissance Italy (Cambridge, 2009) and chapter 12 in this collection. 35 See Katie Bank’s chapter 12 in this collection. 36 Jean Howard, ‘The New Historicism in Renaissance Studies’, English Literary Renaissance 16 (1986), 13–43 (25). 37 For a few examples see: Louis Montrose, ‘“Shaping Fantasies”: Figurations of Gender and Power in Elizabethan Culture’, Representations 2 (1983), 61–94; Greg Walker, Plays of Persuasion: Drama and Politics at the Court of Henry VIII (Cambridge, 1991); The Politics of Performance in Early Renaissance Drama (Cambridge, 1998).

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struction of cultural conceptions of music through stories, including its relationship with gender, impairment and the knowledge of one’s self, the world and the divine order.38 Moreover, storytelling in the medieval and early modern world was not restricted to poetic, theatrical or similar literary creations. Many educational treatises and conduct books in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Europe were written in dialogue form; well-known examples include Baldassare Castiglione’s Il Cortegiano (1528) and Thomas Morley’s Plain and Easy Introduction to Practical Music (1597). The root of this communicating is storytelling, enacted through oral conversation.39 An imaginary dialogue is created through which knowledge can be communicated and explored. Nor was dialogue the only storytelling form to transcend the literary sphere. Férdia Stone-Davis’s chapter in this volume explores how autobiography could be combined with allegorical storytelling to communicate complex ideas about harmony, human life and the divine order. Literary forms could be used as the vehicles for communicating knowledge and ideas about music. Furthermore, in Stone-Davis’s chapter the story is not solely an invention, but grounded in autobiographical events. In postmodern scholarship, theories of storytelling become wrapped up in the transmission of knowledge and the construction of selves, people and cultures, even in non-fictional texts. One example is the work of the scholar Natalie Zemon Davis, whose scholarship on early modern European culture focuses on the documents through which people crafted stories and narratives about themselves, and on storytelling as a method of historiography. Davis’s work requires us to consider the role of veracity in storytelling and story-making, highlighting how the storyteller or writer crafts the meanings and knowledge transmitted in stories to suit their own purposes.40 The influence of the act of storytelling on the creation of meaning spans the realms of myth and new story, as even myths must be retold or assembled into larger narratives to generate meaning. Other examples in the following chapters include the retelling of music’s origin stories, varied operatic versions of the story of Rinaldo and Armida, and strategies for characterising gender and disability in Shakespeare’s plays.41 In all 38

See chapters 2, 10 and 11. On dialogue form see for example: Cathy Shrank, ‘All Talk and No Action? Early Modern Political Dialogue’, The Oxford Handbook of English Prose 1500–1640, ed. Andrew Hadfield (Oxford, 2013), pp.27–42; Virginia Cox, The Renaissance Dialogue: Literary Dialogue in its Social and Political Contexts, Castiglione to Galileo (Cambridge, 1992). 40 See the following scholarship by Natalie Zemon Davis for examples of her methodology: Women on the Margins: Three Seventeenth-Century Lives (Cambridge, MA, 1995); Fiction in the Archives: Pardon Tales and Their Tellers in Sixteenth-Century France (Stanford, CA, 1987); The Return of Martin Guerre (Cambridge, MA, 1983). Other scholarship inspired by Davis’s method includes: Kathleen Loysen, Conversation and Storytelling in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century French Nouvelles (New York, 2004) and Richard M. Fraher, ‘Criminal Defense as Narrative: Storytelling and Royal Pardons in Renaissance France’, The University of Chicago Law Review 55 (1988), 1010–15 (1010–11). 41 On origin myths see chapters 3 and 7; on Rinaldo and Armida see chapter 14; on narratives of disability in Shakespeare’s plays see chapter 10. 39



Introduction 9

these cases – whether the plot is mythological or a new tale – it is the storytelling strategies that provide insights into cultural concerns on issues as diverse as disability, gender, morality, musical aesthetics and functions, national identity, politics and theatre.

Music, Myth and Story If the ways in which both myth and story communicated knowledge and ideas were numerous, their relationship with music was equally multi-faceted. Myths and other authoritative stories that featured music and musicians were the foundation for various kinds of musical knowledge. Music-themed myths, which appeared in books ranging from theoretical treatises, to sermons, to conduct books, were cited to criticise or defend music’s role in society, to justify new musical styles or to attack such innovations. Composers attempting to recapture something of music’s affective powers as reputed in myth were inspired to create new genres such as monody, recitative and opera.42 These widely known stories did not need to be retold in these contexts. Authors could merely reference particular characters or episodes to support their opinions with the expectation that their audiences would know the details. Myths also provided symbolic material for poetic conceits, manuscript illuminations, portraiture or emblems on musical themes, and narratives for theatre, dance, spectacle and song.43 Through these varied media, myths carried musical concepts into wider cultural consciousness, while musical re-tellings of individual myths reinforced the continued authority and currency of mythology. Myths could be liberally adapted in such performances, as was the case in early opera, for example.44 In such adaptations the boundary between authoritative myth and new literary story is blurred. Performances of myth do not merely rehearse ancient values, but are rather adapted to express and create new ones. Moreover, new stories that feature musical plot devices are often inspired by themes, motifs and ideas, whose inspiration might be traced back to myth. Nor was it only in the realm of literature that the spheres of myth and newly created story came within touching distance. Even in theoretical and philosophical works, authors manipulating the wealth of musical mythology might impose their own narrative frameworks and organising principles to create coherence.45 42

Marchenkov, The Orpheus Myth and the Powers of Music, pp.62–70; Sternfeld, The Birth of Opera, pp.1–30; Katz, Divining the Powers of Music, pp.111–19. 43 For some examples see: Calogero, Ideas and Images of Music; Kathi Meyer-Baer, Music of the Spheres and the Dance of Death: Studies in Musical Iconology (Princeton, 1970); Elisabeth Henry, Orpheus with His Lute: Poetry and the Renewal of Life (London, 1972); Rachel Falconer, Orpheus Dis(re)membered: Milton and the Myth of the Poet-Hero (Sheffield, 1996); Carl van de Velde, ed., Classical Mythology in the Netherlands in the Age of Renaissance and Baroque: Proceedings of the International Conference, Antwerp, 19–21 May 2005 (Leuven; Paris, 2009); Gerbino, Music and the Myth of Arcadia; Bruno Forment, ed., (Dis)embodying Myths in Ancien Régime Opera: Multidisciplinary Perspectives (Leuven, 2012). 44 Sternfeld, The Birth of Opera, pp.1–30. 45 See chapter 7 in this volume.

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There were also parallels in how music and myth or story functioned as forms of knowledge. All could make complex ideas tangible, and were considered means of secretly instilling morality under the guise of pleasurable entertainment. All were arts whose narratives influenced the cultural, social and political issues of the day.46 Musical settings of myths could therefore work in tandem to create meaning and explore contemporary issues. Moreover, as a new emphasis on experimental and empirical bases for knowledge emerged during the seventeenth century, music offered a means for turning myth into a kind of ‘lived experience’, given voice and life through song.47 Yet equally musical settings could work to undermine myth as its once authoritative gods and heroes were debased by association with popular song and comic theatre.48 The latter example illustrates the extent to which music was itself the vehicle for storytelling and myth-making. A musical setting is no mere passive vehicle for transmitting a story, but communicates in tandem with verbal or visual means of storytelling to support, heighten, add new perspectives or even undermine potential meanings.49 Moreover, music itself can function as a story within a story, affirming, commenting upon, enhancing or performing socio-cultural values. Music can tell its own story, as well as act as part of a larger narrative. In this way, chapters in this collection read narratives of music and disability within Shakespeare plays or reveal ideas of the early modern self in echo songs within larger operas.50 The essays in this collection take a range of musical, literary, theatrical and iconographical perspectives to demonstrate the influence of myths and stories on musical theory, philosophy, performance, meaning and techniques through a series of case studies spanning the fifth to the early eighteenth centuries. To accommodate their conceptual and chronological breadth, the geographical range is narrower. The focus is on Italy – where many of the key mythographical works of the Renaissance originated – and England – where the moral debates surrounding music’s role in moral society and religious worship provide a wealth of material for exploring the role of myth and story in shaping these arguments – and, to a lesser extent, on France. It is hoped that this volume will inspire an increasing interest in the roles of myth and story in musical culture, and thereby enable these themes to be explored across a wider geographical field. 46

On music as a site for exploring or influencing culture or politics numerous works could be cited, but see for example: Richard Freedman, ‘Claude Le Jeune, Adrian Willaert and the Art of Musical Translation’, Early Music History 13 (1994), 123–48; Katherine Butler, Music in Elizabethan Court Politics (Woodbridge, 2015); Kate van Orden, Music, Discipline, and Arms in Early Modern France (Chicago, 2005); Hyun-Ah Kim, The Renaissance Ethics of Music: Singing, Contemplation and Musica Humana (London, 2015); and chapters 10, 11, 14 and 15 in this volume. 47 See chapters 2, 12 and 13 in this volume. 48 Curtis Price, ‘Orpheus in Britannia’, Music and Context: Essays for John M. Ward, ed. Anne Dhu Shapiro (Cambridge, MA, 1985), pp.264–77; Butler, ‘Changing Attitudes Towards Classical Mythology’, 54–9; chapter 15 in this volume. 49 On music’s ability to change the meaning of its text, see chapters 12 and 15. For examples of musical settings acting in a more supportive way, see chapters 6 or 13. 50 See chapters 9 and 10.



Introduction 11

The collection’s arrangement is both chronological and thematic. Beginning in the medieval period, the opening section considers the influence of myth in music theory. John MacInnis and Férdia Stone-Davis demonstrate the importance of both music and myth to the medieval understanding of humanity’s place in the cosmos in Eriugena’s music treatise, glosses on Capella’s De nuptiis Philologiae et Mecurii and Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy. MacInnis’s chapter demonstrates how music theorists drew inspiration from allegorical and mythological narratives. Myths of the ancient Greek gods encapsulated cosmological truths about the harmony of the spheres, as well as musical theoretical principles that were equally foundational to theological understanding of the universe and the human soul. In Stone-Davis’s chapter on Boethius’s Consolation, similar conceptions of music’s permeation of the created order and its ability to re-harmonise its subjects are presented through an autobiographical story presented in allegorical form. StoneDavis’s chapter is also the first of several that explore parallels between myth and music as forms of knowledge. She argues that in Boethius’s Consolation, music emerges as a means of world-making and making sense of our environment. Like myth, music is a means of telling stories and creating meaning. In the final chapter of this section, Elina Hamilton considers the importance of variants in the re-telling of mythological narratives in the first of two chapters considering the significance of origin myths and the genealogies constructed for music. Hamilton analyses how traditional narratives were manipulated to suit local contexts, and how the positioning of particular types of musician or specific geographical areas within the received story could fashion musicians’ sense of identity. The later treatment of these origin myths, in the context of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century debates about the virtues and vices of music, is the subject of Katherine Butler’s chapter seven. Butler explores how authors wove the traditional origin myths into new frameworks and narratives to make sense of competing stories of music’s origins, defend music’s exceptional nature and qualities, and justify particular understandings of music’s nature and place in human existence. The following sections juxtapose essays exploring iconographical representation and verbal interpretation of myths during the later Middle Ages and Renaissance, demonstrating myths’ capacity to influence moral, cultural and philosophical conceptions of music and musicianship. Spanning musicology and art history, Jason Stoessel’s chapter sheds new light on the iconography of medieval song by tracing the significance of Minerva and her relationship to the figures of Jubal/Tubalcain/Pythagoras and Lady Music. He demonstrates how Tubalcain became iconographically associated with polyphonic, vernacular song collections in particular (as opposed to liturgical polyphony), explores connections between the iconography of the liberal and mechanical arts, and builds to a reconsideration of Dosso Dossi’s Allegory of Music, based around a new identification of one of the figures. In the following chapter, Tim Shephard and Patrick McMahon draw connections between the literary and visual modes of representing the myth of the musical contest between Apollo and Pan, during which King Midas’s poor judgement earned him ass’s ears. Focusing particularly on visual representations of the judgement of Midas by Cima da Conegliano, Lorenzo Lotto and Agnolo Bronzino, they show how the myth was reshaped and retold in ways that engaged

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with broader contemporary discourse on musical and moral judgement in 1520s Italy. This is an example of how musical taste can be constructed through myth. Turning then to Renaissance philosophy and the written word, Jacomien Prins contrasts Ficino and Cardano’s interpretations of Orpheus as either a divine being with supernatural musical-magical powers, or a human being capable of purging his spirit of mournful emotions through music. These contrasting interpretations show how the elusive figure of Orpheus could be employed to justify new and contrasting aesthetic standards emerging in Italy from the end of the fifteenth century. As noted above, Butler’s chapter returns to myths of music’s origins, exploring how the metanarratives used to give coherence to this array of competing stories gradually shifted in light of changed perceptions of humanity’s relationship to nature and the ancient world. Mythical influence was far from merely conceptual, however, so part four considers its impact on musical style. Jamie Agpar draws connections between alternatim choral singing and stories of angel song from the Bible and early church, while Ljubica Llic analyses links between the mythical nymph Echo and echo effects in Italian opera. Then, in part five, representations of performance in literature shed light on cultural responses to music-making by social groups defined by gender and disability. Samantha Bassler argues that the mad songs in Shakespeare’s plays tell a story of early modern conceptions of music, madness and gender. Sigrid Harris explores the relationship between women’s music and themes of seduction, emasculation and mortality in Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata (1575), Boiardo’s Orlando innamorato (1494) and at the court of Ferrara. The seventeenth century saw distinct changes in the intellectual climate, with the growing influence of empirical and experimental philosophy and the shifting status of mythology and ancient wisdom. Part six explores the parallel roles of music and myth as forms of knowledge, suggesting that despite the challenges to mythology brought by the new philosophies, musical portrayals of myth might nevertheless offer a means of negotiating between old and new concepts of truth. Katie Bank shows how music, myth and satire combined to probe contemporary awareness of the self in three ayres by Thomas Weelkes. Aurora Faye Martinez offers a literary perspective, using Edmund Burke’s aesthetic philosophy to suggest why myths set to or expressed through music persisted in the early modern period, focusing particularly on a musical adaptation of Andrew Marvell’s ‘A Dialogue between Thyrsis and Dorinda’. The final essays in part seven explore musical representations of myths or wellknown stories for the operatic stage. Amanda Eubanks Winkler illustrates how re-imaginings of the Rinaldo and Armida story could articulate contemporary anxieties about opera’s connotations of gender, morality, nationalism and political power. Lastly, Erica Levenson analyses the interrelation of mythology and balladry on the English and French stages to reveal how, as the Enlightenment dawned, myth finally became a medium for ridicule as the once authoritative gods and heroes became ballad opera characters. Collectively, these essays trace the evolution of concepts of myth and story before the establishment of modern definitions. People in the medieval and early



Introduction 13

modern periods engaged in teasing out the potential meanings in myths and stories about influential musical figures, as well as moulding new stories of their own. Shifts in attitudes to mythical knowledge were at the heart of changing philosophies of the music of the spheres, from the Neoplatonist view of music as a universal harmony that connects the mind to the body and corrects imbalances, to the Cartesian view of the separation of mind and body. Yet the influence of myths and stories also extended beyond the philosophical and theoretical into wider culture through theatre, art and music to shape everyday morality, politics and constructions of identity. These essays reveal people’s persistent but changing relationship with these myths and stories, developing and clarifying our understanding of their significance in musical and wider culture. Music, myth and story are revealed to be fluid and interrelated concepts, deeply embedded in medieval and early modern thought and practice. This fluidity enabled myths to both drive and adapt to change, ensuring their continued significance in medieval and early modern culture, and beyond.

i myth in medieval music theory and philosophy

1

Music and the Myth of Apollo’s Grove John MacInnis

T

he myth of Apollo’s sacred and mysterious grove is recounted by Martianus Capella (fl. fifth century) in the first book of De nuptiis Philologiae et Mecurii (The Marriage of Philology and Mercury). In Capella’s allegorical narrative, which frames seven encyclopedic summaries of the liberal arts, the god Mercury, symbolising the Divine mind, weds Philology, a human maiden considered worthy of deification because of her intellectual accomplishments. Philology is commended to Mercury by the god Apollo, who then accompanies Mercury as he seeks final approval for the marriage from Jupiter. At the wedding, Mercury presents seven maidens who each expound one of the seven liberal arts. The scene depicting Apollo’s grove, in which Mercury visits Apollo and the two set off for Olympus (De nuptiis, sections 11–29), is filled with musical references reinforcing foundational conceptions that persisted throughout the Middle Ages, namely that the structures of music point to the ordering of the physical universe and the soul’s quest for God. In Apollo’s grove, Mercury encounters trees that resonate in proportions expressed in the Pythagorean sequence 12:9:8:6, and Mercury is told that it is appropriate that the grove of Apollo is so harmonious, because the Sun modulates the movements of the heavenly spheres. Also, in this narrative, Mercury must cross seven rivers symbolising the planetary orbits to approach Apollo, and he notes that many souls, making a similar transit, seem unnaturally captivated by the alluring melody of Venus. On their journey to Olympus, the gods Mercury and Apollo are joined by the nine Muses, who each ride a singing swan. Along the way, each Muse stops at the celestial sphere to which she is particularly attuned, e.g. Melpomene, Muse of Tragedy, with the Sun’s orbit, and Calliope, Muse of Epic Poetry, with Mercury’s, and so on.1 Though prominent, the musical significance of the scene in Apollo’s Grove is not limited to the so-called music of the spheres. For Neoplatonists, like Capella and those who read him in the Middle Ages, the order observed in carefully modulated musical harmonies pointed not only to the ordering of the cosmos, seen in the planetary movements, but also to the sort of ordering needed in each individual life, described metaphorically as the journey of a human soul to Earth, for birth in a physical body, a life well lived, and then a worthy return to the heavens at death.2 1

William Harris Stahl, Richard Johnson and E.L. Burge, Martianus Capella and the Seven Liberal Arts, 2 vols (New York, 1971–7), vol.2: ‘The Marriage of Philology and Mercury’, p.16. 2 The supposed movement of souls through the heavens is not unique to Capella; a Neoplatonic notion, it is found in many other sources, studied throughout the Middle Ages. For example, the commentary of Macrobius on Cicero’s Somnium Scipionis (The

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This inter-referentiality of musical order, cosmic order and the responsibility of individuals to order their inner lives was expounded extensively by the Carolingian scholar John Scottus Eriugena in the ninth century. With his commentary on Capella’s De nuptiis, Book I, Eriugena included a short musical treatise titled De armonia caelestium motuum siderumque sonis (Concerning the Harmony of Heavenly Movements and the Sounds of the Stars). This chapter will demonstrate that Eriugena, following Capella, described the movement of human souls across the planetary system as a metaphor for deification, all in the context of describing musical theoretical principles. Deification (aka Apotheosis or Theosis) is the process of final union and identification of the soul with God, its source, and the use of musically rich myth to describe deification was not uncommon in late Antique writings. For example, in Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy the Orpheus myth is cited at the end of Book III as an example of the sort of single-minded attention one must pay to personal cultivation and spiritual excellence.3 That is, Boethius connects the myth of the musician Orpheus, travelling upwards from Hades toward the light, as an appropriate description of his own desire for union with God and the need to leave behind the bondages and trials of those below. In addition to explaining the connection of a story about deification with music by Eriugena, this chapter will describe how Eriugena’s placement of his treatise, De armonia, after his glosses on the scene in Apollo’s grove was purposeful. In fact, Eriugena drew on this scene to structure his music treatise; Capella’s mythology served as an inspiration for Eriugena’s musical explanations. In the end, it will be seen that a unifying theme for Eriugena is the presence of central and proportionally defined mediators such as the Sun, which modulates the celestial spheres, the mese in the Immutable System of tetrachords, or the human mind that is strengthened by learning and erudition and orients the soul toward God, away from the pollutions associated with corporeal existence.

Dream of Scipio) recounts the ultimate origin and end of the soul in this way: “‘Men were created with the understanding that they were to look after that sphere called Earth, which you see in the middle of the temple. Minds have been given to them out of the eternal fires you call fixed stars and planets, those spherical solids which, quickened with divine minds, journey through their circuits and orbits with amazing speed. Wherefore, Scipio, you and all other dutiful men must keep your souls in the custody of your bodies and must not leave this life of men except at the command of that One who gave it to you, that you may not appear to have deserted the office assigned you. But, Scipio, cherish justice and your obligations to duty, as your grandfather here, and I, your father, have done; this is important where parents and relatives are concerned, but is of utmost importance in matters concerning the commonwealth. This sort of life is your passport into the sky, to a union with those who have finished their lives on earth and who, upon being released from their bodies, inhabit that place at which you are now looking’ (it was a circle of surpassing brilliance gleaming out amid the blazing stars), ‘which takes its name, the Milky Way, from the Greek word.’” Ambrosius Aurelius Theodosius Macrobius, Commentary on the Dream of Scipio by Macrobius, ed. William Stahl (New York, 1990), p.72. 3 Boethius, The Consolation of Philosophy, trans. S.J. Tester (Cambridge, MA, 1973), pp.307–11. See also Férdia Stone-Davis’s chapter 2 in this volume.



Music and the Myth of Apollo’s Grove 19

John Scottus Eriugena and Capella’s De nuptiis John Scottus Eriugena (c.810–77) lived during the flourishing of culture, learning, and ecclesiastical reform that had begun under the reign of Charlemagne (742–814).4 The ‘Carolingian Renaissance’ is also sometimes described as the ‘Carolingian Renovatio’. However it is named, this period included educational advances across a vast territory overseen by powerful centralised governments, beginning with Charlemagne himself, who ruled much of modern Europe at the height of his power as Holy Roman Emperor. Eriugena was born in Ireland and came to work in the court of Charles II (‘the Bald’) sometime before 851, possibly as early as 840.5 Around 851, Bishop Pardulus of Laon mentioned Eriugena in a letter (Scotum illum qui est in palatio regis, Joannem nomine, ‘The Scot who is in the king’s palace, by the name of John’)6 and that he was requested to contribute to the predestination debate stirred up by the Saxon monk Gottschalk. This letter by Pardulus is the first recorded mention of Eriugena, and Eriugena’s treatise, De divina predestinatione (Concerning Divine Predestination), is his earliest known work. It remains uncertain where Eriugena spent his time while employed by Charles II, who supported a palace school in the Laon region, perhaps at Quierzy, Laon itself or Compiègne. Also, there is no certain knowledge of his exact position; perhaps he was a cleric or monk. Biographical interest in Eriugena began in the twelfth century in the writings of William of Malmesbury (De gestis pontificum anglorum). William recorded that Eriugena did serve at the Carolingian court, but in the end returned to England and settled at Malmesbury.7 It is also from William that we learn the legend of Eriugena’s martyrdom; his students are said to have stabbed him to death with their pens. Eriugena’s ability as a scholar, the opinion of his pupils notwithstanding, is attested by his vast and varied output. His comments on Martianus Capella’s De nuptiis are extensive and display specific and speculative knowledge of the liberal arts. De nuptiis was itself widely read and discussed during the Carolingian Renovatio and throughout the Middle Ages as a summary of the liberal arts,8 and Eriugena’s comments on this work were studied and referenced by other scholars, 4

The name ‘Eriugena’ (‘Irish-born’) was invented by John Scottus himself, and he used it to sign his translation of Pseudo-Dionysius’s works (860–2). Although it has become conventional practice, adding the name Eriugena to Scottus is somewhat redundant, since both names refer to John’s Celtic background. 5 Dermot Moran, The Philosophy of John Scottus (New York, 1989), p.27. 6 Pardulus, ‘Epistola ad ecclesiam Lugdunensem’, De tribus epistolis, ed. Jacques-Paul Migne, Patrologiae Cursus Completus ... Series Latina 121 (Paris, 1852), col.1052a. 7 Eriugena’s supposed amiable relationship with Charles II is relayed by William by way of a famous joke. The King is said to have asked while dining, ‘Quid distat inter sottum et Scottum?’ (What separates a drunkard from an Irishman?). Eriugena nimbly replied, ‘Tabula tantum’ (Only a table). William of Malmesbury, De gestis pontificum anglorum libri quinque, ed. N.E.S.A. Hamilton (Cambridge, 2012), p.392. 8 For a translation, see Stahl and Johnson, trans., Martianus Capella ... vol.2. For the Latin, see James Willis’s edition, Martianus Capella (Leipzig, 1983).

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such as Remigius of Auxerre.9 In addition to introducing the artes, De nuptiis also presented a primer of Neoplatonic thought and summarised aspects of Aristotle’s categories. The abstruse vocabulary and recondite sentences of De nuptiis necessitated a tradition of glosses, in which Eriugena participated. Eriugena’s Annotationes in Marcianum (Annotations on Martianus), as they are called, are preserved in several manuscripts, notably one at Paris’s Bibliothèque Nationale de France (MS Latin 12960) and one at the Bodleian Library, Oxford (MS Auct. T.2.19). The Paris manuscript was created in the monastery of St Pierre in Corbie in the late ninth century, and it was edited and printed in 1939 by Cora Lutz. The Oxford manuscript dates from the late ninth or early tenth century and is probably from St Vincent in Metz. Eduard Jeauneau published an edition of Eriugena’s glosses in the Oxford manuscript in 1978.10 Eriugena’s music treatise, De armonia, is found in the Oxford manuscript but not in the Paris manuscript, nor is the material contained in it addressed so extensively by Eriugena in his glosses over other sections of De nuptiis, such as Books II and IX. In his commentary over De nuptiis, Eriugena’s approach is markedly philosophical, and he wrote fluently concerning music theory and its connections to cosmology, drawing upon Calcidius’s Latin translation of and commentary on Plato’s Timaeus and Macrobius’s commentary on Cicero’s Somnium Scipionis.11 Music is a special case in De nuptiis; musical references appear throughout the first two introductory books, and Harmonia, personifying musical theoretical knowledge, makes her presentation to the wedding party last of all the maidens, who embody each of the liberal arts. The overall importance of Harmonia is confirmed by Capella at the beginning of Book IX, when Apollo declares of her: ‘It would be a grave offense to exclude from this company the one bridesmaid who is the particular darling of the heavens, whose performance is sought with joy and acclamation.’12 Theorising about the movements and music of the heavens had been a preoccupation and persistent intellectual pursuit since antiquity. Some, like Pliny, in his Naturalis historia (Book II, chap.20), likened the sounds of heaven to the lyre and proposed tuning the cosmos in terms of an octave with different musical intervals 9

Cora Lutz, ‘The Commentary of Remigius of Auxerre on Martianus Capella’, Medieval Studies 19 (1957), 137–56. 10 Edouard Jeauneau, ‘Le commentaire érigénien sur Martianus Capella (De nuptiis, Lib.I) d’après le manuscrit d’Oxford (Bodl.Libr. Auct.T.2.19, fol. 1–31)’, Quatre thèmes érigéniens (Montreal, 1978), pp.91–166. As to the question of whether the Paris and Oxford manuscripts come from different periods in Eriugena’s career, viz. an original draft and then a revision, Jeauneau considers them both to be derived from an earlier, more complete source. For a summary of the different perspectives, see Mariken Teeuwen, Harmony and the Music of the Spheres: The Ars Musica in Ninth-Century Commentaries on Martianus Capella (Boston, 2002), pp.45–6. 11 See John Magee’s critical edition and translation of Calcidius: On Plato’s Timaeus (Cambridge, MA, 2016) and William Stahl’s translation of Macrobius, Commentary on the Dream of Scipio (New York, 1990). 12 Stahl and Johnson, trans., Martianus Capella, vol.2, p.346. It should be noted that Ilsetraut Hadot, in Arts libéraux et philosophie dans la pensée antique (Paris, 1984), p.149, reads Harmony’s placement at the end of De nuptiis not as emphasis, but as affording the beautiful imagery of singing as the gods proceed to the marriage chamber, at the story’s close.



Music and the Myth of Apollo’s Grove 21

between the planets (e.g. a whole tone between the Earth and Moon, a semitone between the Moon and Mercury, etc.) or in terms of the velocity and size of each planet’s orbit, each producing a different musical pitch. In fact, Capella presented a scalar model of the spheres in De nuptiis, Book II, but Eriugena, in his notes on Capella’s text, expounded a distinctly different approach, in which the heavenly music is organised like the Immutable System of tetrachords and produces an infinite variety of musical sounds.13

Eriugena’s Commentary on De nuptiis, Book I Turning to Eriugena’s approach, then, it should be noted that his music treatise, De armonia, lies inserted between his comments on sections 15 and 16 of De nuptiis, Book I and not at the section of Book II mentioned above, in which Capella presents an octave model of the planets and their pitches. Eriugena’s choice was deliberate, for his discussion arises from this earlier portion in Book I. In fact, Eriugena’s glosses for sections 11-15 outline much of the material presented more fully in his treatise. In section 11, Mercury approaches Apollo’s grove and sees the scope of human history: empires rising and falling, human souls beginning and ending their earthly lives, and a ‘sweet music’ arising from the trees – symbolising the music of the spheres: Amidst these extraordinary scenes and these vicissitudes of Destinies, a sweet music arose from the trees, a melody arising from their contact as the breeze whispered through them; for the crests of the great trees were very tall and, because of this tension, reverberated with a sharp sound [acuto sonitu, i.e. a high pitch]; but, whatever was close to and near the ground, with drooping boughs, shook with a deep heaviness of sound [gravitas rauca quatiebat, i.e. the lowest pitch]; while the trees of middle size in their contacts with each other sang together in fixed harmonies of the duple [2:1, octave], the sesquialtera [2:3, fifth], the sesquitertia [3:4, fourth] also, and even the sesquioctava [9:8, whole tone] without discrimination, although semitones [limmata] came between. So it happened that the grove poured forth, with melodious harmony, the whole music and song of the gods.14

The ratios arising from Apollo’s trees are the basis of Pythagorean tuning, systematised in the famous series 12:9:8:6. Yet, remarkably, Eriugena moves in another direction and, in his comments, applies the Immutable System of tetrachords to the sounding trees. Inherited from Ancient Greek music theory, the Immutable System was a two-octave organisation of fixed notes defining tetrachords – groups of four notes spanning five semitones – with moveable inner notes whose placement specified 13

See Gabriela Currie, ‘Concentum celi quis dormire faciet? Eriugenian Cosmic Song and Carolingian Planetary Astronomy’, Quomodo cantabimus canticum?: Studies in Honor of Edward H. Roesner, ed. David Butler Cannata et al. (Middleton, 2008), p.19. 14 Stahl and Johnson, trans., Martianus Capella, vol.2, pp.9–10. Comments in brackets are my own.

John MacInnis

22

Table 1.1  Greater Perfect System as Presented by Boethius in De institutione musica. Fixed pitches indicated with an asterisk (*) Pitch Name Proslambanomenos or Prosmelodos Hypate hypaton* Parhypate hypaton Lichanos hypaton Hypate meson* Parhypate meson Lichanos meson Mese* Paramese* Trite diezeugmenon Paranete diezeugmenon Nete diezeugmenon* Trite hyperboleon Paranete hyperboleon Nete hyperboleon*

Tetrachord

} } } }

Hypaton

Meson

Diezeugmenon

Hyperboleon

genus, i.e. diatonic, chromatic or enharmonic.15 The Immutable System combined pitches specified in the tetrachords of the Greater Perfect System (consisting of two octaves, with two pairs of conjunct tetrachords separated by a middle point of disjunction, fifteen pitches) and the Lesser Perfect System (spanning an eleventh with three conjunct tetrachords, eleven pitches). Tables 1.1 and 1.2 show the pitches and tetrachords of the Greater and Lesser Perfect systems as presented using their Greek names by Boethius in De institutione musica (The Fundamentals of Music).16 Considered in terms of individual pitches, the two systems mostly overlap and result in five tetrachords (see Table 1.3).17 In De institutione musica, Boethius also 15

Between the fixed notes of a tetrachord, the diatonic genus followed the pattern of semitone, tone and tone. The chromatic genus followed the pattern of semitone, semitone and tri-hemitone (i.e. three semitones). The enharmonic genus followed the pattern of diesis (i.e. quartertone), diesis, ditone (i.e. two tones). Perhaps because the diatonic genus was preferred in Boethius’s own day, in addition to a perception that its division of tonal space more closely related to the medieval chant repertoire, the diatonic genus was emphasised in medieval music theory. Charles M. Atkinson, The Critical Nexus: Tone-System, Mode, and Notation in Early Medieval Music (Oxford, 2009), p.11. 16 Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, Fundamentals of Music, trans. Calvin M. Bower, ed. Claude V. Palisca (New Haven, 1989), pp.37–9. 17 Ibid., p.44.

Music and the Myth of Apollo’s Grove 23



Table 1.2  Lesser Perfect System as Presented by Boethius in De institutione musica. Fixed pitches indicated with an asterisk (*) Pitch Name

Tetrachord

Proslambanomenos or Prosmelodos Hypate hypaton* Parhypate hypaton Lichanos hypaton Hypate meson* Parhypate meson Lichanos meson Mese synemmenon* Trite synemmenon Paranete synemmenon Nete synemmenon*

} } }

Hypaton

Meson

Synemmenon

Table 1.3  Immutable System, Combining both the Greater and Lesser Perfect Systems Pitch Name

Tetrachord

Latin Name

Hypaton

Principales

Meson

Mediae

Synemmenon

Coniuncti or Divisarum

Diezeugmenon

Disiuncti

Hyperboleon

Excellentes

Proslambanomenos Hypate hypaton* Parhypate hypaton Lichanos hypaton Hypate meson* Parhypate meson Lichanos meson Mese* Trite synemmenon Paranete synemmenon Nete synemmenon* Paramese* Trite diezeugmenon Paranete diezeugmenon Nete diezeugmenon* Trite hyperboleon Paranete hyperboleon Nete hyperboleon*

} } } } }

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included Latin names for these five tetrachords, which are listed beside the Greek names in Table 1.3.18 In his glosses, Eriugena’s application of tetrachord names to the trees in Apollo’s grove is as follows: In all music that is made on strings, fourths and fifths arise. The first tetrachord is called principalis principalium, the second is called subprincipalis principalium, the third mediarum, the fourth disiunctarum, the fifth hyperboleon, that is, excellentium. Therefore, in the first tetrachord the lowest voice is made, but in the last tetrachord is the highest, and whatever is in the middle is some kind of mixture between low and high. Therefore, Capella says in the following, media ratis [middle of the raft] that is, in the middle of the tree.19

Subsequently, Eriugena explains that he understands the term ‘tone’ (tonus) to refer to shifting proportional relationships between the planets, as opposed to fixed distances from each other, and he affirms that in his conception the music of the spheres spans two octaves.20 In fact, it appears that the two octaves of the Immutable System are what Eriugena had in mind, but with a few oddities. First, in the passage quoted above, Eriugena names the tetrachords, but these designations do not align with Capella’s description in De nuptiis (Book IX, section 961)21 or Boethius’s in De institutione musica (Book I, chap.25 and Book IV, chap.3).22 In fact, Eriugena used string names in the first tetrachord, principalis principalium and subprincipalis principalium (i.e. hypate hypaton and parhypate hypaton), to refer to the first two tetrachords. Lastly, he named the disiunctarum (diezeugmenon) tetrachord, but not the coniunctarum (synemmenon). Eriugena’s tetrachord names are listed in comparison to Capella’s and Boethius’s in Table 1.4. Despite the peculiarities in how he names these tetrachords, it must be remembered, with significance for the following, that in the Immutable System the central pitch, the mese, occupies a central placement in the system considered as a whole as well as dynamically within the different octave species. The importance of the mese is observed in the act of tuning a monochord in order to make audible the intellectually discerned pitches of the Immutable System. The mese is the first pitch established at a ratio of 2:1, and, beginning with this one pitch, the entire array of

18

Ibid., p.46. Boethius’s alternative name for the Synemmenon tetrachord is Divisarum (p.125). 19 Jeauneau, ‘Le commentaire érigénien’, pp.117–18. All translations from this source are my own. 20 Currie, ‘Concentum celi quis dormire faciet’, p.30. Currie writes, ‘Eriugena generates, for the first time in the history of medieval re-evaluations of the Neoplatonic music of the spheres, a two-octave cosmic span with the Sun in the middle, functioning as the mese. It becomes the unifying element for all Eriugenian discussion of cosmic music.’ 21 Stahl and Johnson, trans., Martianus Capella, vol.2, pp.370–1. 22 Boethius, Fundamentals of Music, pp.46 and 125.

Music and the Myth of Apollo’s Grove 25



Table 1.4  Eriugena’s Listing of the Tetrachords of the Immutable System Compared to De nuptiis, Book IX and Boethius’s De institutione musica Book I Eriugena

Capella DN IX

Boethius DIM I.25

principalis principalium

principalium

principalium

subprincipalis principalium

mediarum

mediarum

mediarum

coniunctarum

coniunctarum

disiunctarum

separatarum

disiunctarum (or divisarum)

hyperboleon  (i.e. excellentium)

excellentium

excellentium

other pitches is established (cf. Boethius’s De institutione musica, Book IV, chap.5).23 Therefore, it is important to note that Eriugena, glossing the word lymmata from Capella’s Latin text, identifies the Sun as mese: Lymmata, that is, a semitone. He says this, because some say the tones from the Sun to the Moon are whole. Again, the tones from the Sun to Saturn are said to be whole. Thence, it turns out that the Sun is the mese, that is, it keeps a middle place [locum, i.e. orbit].24

Moving past the harmonious trees, in Capella’s story, Mercury explains to his companion Virtue that hearing the celestial music in Apollo’s grove makes sense, since all the spheres of the cosmos are modulated (moduletur) by the Sun. Mercury then shows Virtue seven rivers they must cross, beginning in section 14, all symbolising the planetary orbits. Capella presents these multi-coloured rivers in the following order: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury and the Moon. In his description, Capella pays special attention to Venus, an amber river over whose alluring fragrance and charming melody human souls seem to obsess: Within shone a river purer than amber, with a crowd of people standing beside it who desired this more than the other rivers of the Destinies [Fortunarum]; some of these people were allured by its fragrant perfume; others were charmed by the sound of gentle melody from its waves. Many were thirsting to taste a drink of

23

Boethius, Fundamentals of Music, pp.126ff. ‘Divide AB into four parts with three points: C, D, and E. Therefore the total, AB, will be the duple of DB and AD, and AD and DB will each be duples of AC, CD, DE, and EB. Thus AB will be the lowest (the proslambanomenos), and DB the mese, for it is half the total length, and as AB is double the length of DB, DB is twice as high as AB. For, as was discussed above, the relationship of length and pitch is always reversed; to the degree that a string is higher, it will be shorter’ (p.128). 24 Jeauneau, ‘Le commentaire érigénien’, pp.118–19.

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its delicious stream, while some people wanted the water to bathe and soothe themselves and to be immersed in it.25

In Capella’s story, the individual and corporate destinies of humans seem to be connected to the movements of the planets, symbolised in these rivers, which sometimes toss and buffet helpless souls. The problem is that, for Capella, all souls must ascend back to heaven after their earthly death, traversing the same celestial path they followed before birth, but only some souls make it, while others are lost, forever caught in ‘the lower regions’. It is here, with this mention of the plight of souls transmigrating the sounding spheres, that Eriugena inserted his harmonic treatise, De armonia.

Eriugena’s Music Treatise In De armonia, Eriugena begins just as he did with glosses for this section of De nuptiis, by dividing the heavens into the two octaves of the Immutable System. In his conception, the lowest pitch is produced by Saturn, the highest by the Firmament; the Sun stands in the middle as the mese. Specifically, Eriugena explains that there are eight pitches produced by the seven planets and the Firmament. These pitches are determined by speed, length of orbit and, in the case of the planets, their relation to the whirling Firmament. Eriugena states that the pitches rise between Saturn and the moon (the opposite of Capella’s description in De nuptiis, Book II) and that those planets below the Sun strain upwards toward those sounds that are higher in terms of placement.26 The order of the celestial spheres presented by Eriugena, rising from the Earth, is: Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and Firmament (see Figure 1.1). In this treatise, Eriugena makes the notable assertion that it is ‘not the positioning of the planets, but the proportional ratio of the pitches that produces the heavenly harmony’,27 and he explains: 1) why this understanding is significant and 2) possible sources of confusion. Using the Sun and Saturn as an example, he clarifies that depending on their placement in relation to each other – not their position above the Earth – these planets can bring forth an octave, a fifth and a fourth. That is, as the Sun and Saturn approach each other in their courses, the harmony between them changes. Eriugena claimed that once this principle is grasped, one may believe: that in the eight sounds of the heavens all possible musical consonances can be made – not only through the three genera, I mean the diatonic, chromatic, and 25

Stahl and Johnson, trans., Martianus Capella, vol.2, pp.10–11. Jeauneau, ‘Le commentaire érigénien’, p.124. ‘Moreover, the planets located under the Sun stretch toward the higher sounds, because they are both farther from the speed of the sphere and run in shorter orbits in the heavens.’ 27 Ibid. The full sentence reads: ‘And, through this, not the positioning of the planets, but the proportional ratio of the pitches produces the heavenly harmony, particularly since this ratio does not depend upon the position ascending and descending in the cosmos.’ 26

Music and the Myth of Apollo’s Grove 27



Figure 1.1  The Order of Planetary Orbits According to Eriugena

enharmonic, referring to tetrachords, but, likewise, even in others [i.e. other genera], which are beyond all mortal reasoning.28

Eriugena discerned that confusion in terminology was a hurdle to be overcome in understanding his presentation, and, proceeding as he did in his earlier glosses, he then explained possible meanings for the word tonus. That is, his treatise resembles the material covered in his earlier glosses; he describes his application of the Immutable System of tetrachords to the sounding spheres, and then he explains the interpretive possibilities of the word tonus: And it should be noted that these tones [toni, i.e. considered as distances], which are calculated from the Earth to the Sphere, e.g. the tone from Earth to the Moon, may not be in the ratios of the pitches, but in the distances of their positions. For there are many kinds of tones. Accordingly, tones are distances between the stars, i.e. how far each planet is apart from another and how far the Moon is removed from the Earth. These tones vary according to the diversities of the planets’ arcs and orbits. It is this kind of tone that Martianus defines, saying, ‘A tone is a distance with a measure, determined by rule.’ This kind of tone is called ‘interval’ in music. Alternately, there are tones of time, arranged in 28

Ibid., p.126.

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long or short duration. There are tones of breath, defined in density or sparseness of sounds. And there are tones of harmonies, which are now under discussion, defined in lowness and highness of sounds, of which each proportion of consonances is composed.29

In this discussion, Eriugena initially explains Capella’s use of the term tonus in a way that would encompass one sense of the word modus, as a specific set of pitches and intervals, though what mattered for Eriugena were the proportional relationships at play within the entire moving system, the ‘tones of harmonies’ and not specific pitches applied to each planet.30 As an example, Eriugena pointed to the organ. The placement of any particular organ pipe makes no difference for the proportional relationships between all the pipes considered as a complete system. In another analogy, this time to a choir of vocalists, Eriugena summarised all of the preceding argument: Now, let us use a certain example so that it may be clearly evident what we are trying to assert. In a choir where many singers sing together simultaneously, the place where each singer is situated is not considered, rather, the proportional relationship of his sounding voice to the others. For, wherever the person who sings the lowest pitch will have been positioned, it is necessary that he should maintain the lowest ratio of all pitches. By the same reasoning, wherever in the choir might be the one who sings the highest pitch, he necessarily will hold the highest of all pitches. Accompanying voices should be similarly understood; of which, not the placed position, but the proportional relationship between the voices is distinguished in the whole of the melody. Therefore, in vain, one considers the heavenly music to be constrained by the ratios of local intervallic distances, in which nothing else is seen except the ascent and descent of lowness and highness.31

It is here, after such a fascinating and challenging discussion, that previous scholars have ended their considerations of Eriugena and the harmony of the spheres.32 Examining the context for Eriugena’s treatise suggests that more should be said, though. Remembering that the last glosses before this treatise begins were on the plight of human souls, it is striking that, similarly, Eriugena’s music treatise now continues specifically on the topic of souls:

29

Ibid., p.127. Cf. Barbara Münxelhaus, ‘Aspekte Der Musica Disciplina Bei Eriugena’, Jean Scot Érigène et l’histoire de la philosophie: Laon, 7–12 juillet 1975 (Paris, 1977), p.262. Münxelhaus summarises the exceptional nature of Eriugena’s presentation and concludes that the variable system proposed by Eriugena is truly unique in the tradition of theorising about the music of the spheres. 31 Jeauneau, ‘Le commentaire érigénien’, p.129. 32 That is, previous scholars have not incorporated Eriugena’s subsequent discussions of the soul in this treatise when considering this work. 30

Music and the Myth of Apollo’s Grove 29



The following is according to the Platonic sect of the most ancient Greeks concerning the fall and returning of souls, who, as with all souls simultaneously created before earthly bodies, are led astray, having been deceived in the starry heavens. Being neither strong enough nor willing to follow the speed of the celestial sphere, they choose the slowness of Saturn. First, down from the celestial seats they fall into the revolutions of Saturn, and from there, beginning to fall and without reason strong enough to hold them, they are impelled to fall through the various orbits of the planets all the way to earthly bodies, in which, by diverse sins and polluted by filth, they are forced again to be loosened and to descend to the lower regions, i.e. to that life which follows the death of the flesh.33

For Eriugena, corruptions associated with earthly life keep souls from regaining heaven, and deification is needed. Deification, the process of final union and identification with God, is a central idea for Eriugena, as for earlier Neoplatonists. For example, in Book V of his lengthiest philosophical work, Periphyseon, Eriugena explained how he understood that the wicked would be lost forever; by persisting in their resistance to God, their own wilful fantasies will consume them until nothing is left: It is our belief that the various kinds of punishment will not be found localised in any place anywhere in the whole of this visible Universe, or, to be succinct, anywhere within the length and breadth of the nature which is created by God. Moreover they never shall exist, any more than they do at present, save in the perverse motions of evil and corrupt wills and consciences, and consist in late and unavailing repentance, and in every kind of perversion of power, whether in the human or the angelic creature ... For although the lust and fever will always be present in perverse wills, seeing that the object of lust can never be attained, and the flame of evil will have nothing but itself to consume, what else is left but stinking corpses lacking all vital motion, lacking, that is, all substance and potency of natural goods? And here it is, perhaps, that we have the most severe torments of evil men and evil angels, the lust for evil combined with the impossibility of assuaging it, either before or after the Day of Judgement.34

Keeping in mind Eriugena’s theological views and the vivid language he employed to describe them, consider the final portion of his harmonic treatise, which describes the plight of souls in Capella’s myth: Souls are unable to reach their former placement without the purification called ἀποθέωσις [apotheosis], i.e. redeification, because of the corporeal stains of pollution. The Ancient Greeks believed that as souls cling first to divinity in indivisible unity, there they should return, after having been cleansed, but stained souls are unable to make it back. It is in these pathways of the planets that the 33

Jeauneau, ‘Le commentaire érigénien’, p.130. Eriugena, Periphyseon, trans. I.P. Sheldon Williams and John O’Meara (Washington, DC, 1987), pp.612–13.

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Greeks believed souls to be cleansed. Since the ethereal spaces are not of the same nature, indeed, some are said to be cold, some fiery hot, some temperate, they assigned each soul individually a place according to its own merits. The pathway of Saturn is called the river Styx; this is sadness, to which Martianus alludes calling Saturn the ‘most unhappy of the gods,’ because of its excessive cold, which comes about due to its distance from the Sun and the slowness of its orbit. The pathway of Mars is called πυριφλεγέθων, i.e. fire inflaming. In these two pathways [i.e. Saturn and Mars], wicked spirits are either always to be tormented, if they had been excessively wicked, or to be cleansed, and so are able to return to a certain respite. This respite was believed to be in the pathway of Jupiter and Venus, in which are the Elysian fields, this is what they thought to be the plains for the relaxation from penalty. But, because of love of the flesh, to which they have been yoked from birth, these souls are neither in the state of purifications, nor in the forgetful rest of those having been cleansed, they seek to return again to a body. On the other hand, some souls completely despise their bodies and naturally approach the stars from which they evidently had fallen. Therefore, Capella says that some souls are restored to the shores, that is, to a former state, some to be entirely freed from bodies. Moreover, the free balance of souls, by which it is considered whether they are going to return to bodies or, having scorned all fleshly lodging, to return to their former seat, is signified through one of the destinies moving out of and returning to various streams. Indeed, not even a malicious wave could restrain them, as he himself [i.e. Capella] said. So great is the freedom of the human soul that if it should wish to remain in misery, it remains, and, contrariwise, if in its integrity it should persevere. So much is sufficient to say concerning the misery of human thinking and concerning the machinations of the unfaithful.35

Eriugena’s insistence on ‘the free balance of souls’ is interesting to note, considering his participation in the predestination controversies of the ninth century. But, more to the point, it seems that as Eriugena preferred a more complex understanding of the tones between planets (proportion in reference to the Sun versus fixed intervals), so he articulated an approach that considered the soul’s journey through the heavens to be more than a journey from point A to point B. Stated simply, his aim in these glosses was to expound his own view that the soul must regulate itself carefully in pursuit of deification.

Conclusion At this point, one observes the brilliance in Eriugena’s presentation. For, as human intellect, cultivated by the liberal arts, may understand musical proportions and modulate music well,36 the cosmos has a proportional ordering considered in ref 35

Jeauneau, ‘Le commentaire érigénien’, pp.131–2. Here I am using Augustine’s (as well as Censorinus’s and Cassiodorus’s) definition of musica as scientia bene modulandi (‘music is the science of modulating well’), i.e. modulatio, from modus, the application of measure.

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erence to the central, modulating Sun, standing for divine intelligence, and, just so, the soul, metaphorically journeying through the heavens, necessitates an appropriate ordering, guided by intellect, fortified by moral strength and undistracted by base sensuality. This examination of Eriugena’s harmonic treatise, placed as it is among his glosses over the scene in Apollo’s grove in Capella’s De nuptiis, highlights an important instance of musically rich narratives shaping and reinforcing philosophical and theological views in late antiquity and the Middle Ages. The supposed harmony of the spheres in this and other stories meant more than a song; it provided a narrative that inspired music theorists with the importance of their art, signified the beauty of an ordered universe and pointed to the superintending intelligence from which all things flow and to which they must return.37

37

Perhaps as testament to the power of this sort of story esteemed in the Middle Ages, one may note that, in the twentieth century, Igor Stravinsky draws on this rich Neoplatonic narrative of musical structures reflecting a larger structure to the universe and the soul’s quest for God in his Poetics of Music. His concluding words are: ‘For the unity of the work has a resonance all its own. Its echo, caught by our soul, sounds nearer and nearer. Thus the consummated work spreads abroad to be communicated and finally flows back toward its source. The cycle, then, is closed. And that is how music comes to reveal itself as a form of communication with our fellow man – and with the Supreme Being.’ Igor Stravinsky, The Poetics of Music (New York, 1947), p.146.

2

The Consolation of Philosophy and the ‘Gentle’ Remedy of Music * Férdia J. Stone-Davis

I

n The Myths We Live By, Mary Midgley addresses the tendency to divide science from myth (and fact from story) by showing that science is not a disinterested enterprise, but an ‘ever-changing imaginative structure of ideas by which scientists continue to connect, understand and interpret’.1 In particular she addresses how certain concepts within scientific discourse act not just ‘as passive pieces of apparatus like thermostats’, but exert an influence on the materials they examine.2 Her ultimate point is that ‘truth’ is situated in and shaped by frames of experience and modes of reference. A precedent of Midgley’s view is found directly in Ludwig Wittgenstein’s ‘language-games’,3 but extends across history, including Martin Heidegger’s understanding of language as the ‘house of being’, Herder’s ‘constitutive’ view of language,4 and Plato’s theory that world disclosure depends upon epistemic perspective.5 Drawing upon Plato and the Greek tradition, Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy brings into sharp focus the fluid and narrative character of reality pointed out by Midgley, as well as the broader validity of her case. As we shall see, the Consolation is a form of autobiography and as such can be seen as a performative exercise through which Boethius comes to an understanding of himself. In the light of the situation he finds himself in, Boethius struggles to tell a story that makes sense of the events in his life. He requires the intervention of Lady Philosophy, who reveals their coherence. Importantly, the therapeutic mechanisms that Lady Philosophy brings to bear



* This chapter builds on and develops the author’s previous research on Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy in Musical Beauty: Negotiating the Boundary between Subject and Object (Eugene, 2011). 1 Mary Midgley, The Myths We Live By (Oxford, 2004), p.3. 2 In particular, Midgley looks at the concepts of the machine, the self-interested individual and competition between individuals. 3 Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, trans. G.E. Anscombe, P.M.S. Hacker and Joachim Schulter, rev. 4th edn (Oxford, 2009), section 23. 4 See Johann Gottfried Herder, ‘On the Origin of Language’, On the Origin of Language: Essay on the Origin of Languages / Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Essay on the Origin of Language / Johann Gottfried Herder, trans. John H. Moran and Alexander Gode (New York, 1966). Charles Taylor classes Herder’s view of language as ‘constitutive’ in The Language Animal: The Full Shape of the Human Linguistic Capacity (Cambridge, 2016), pp.16–20, 28. 5 See in particular the allegory of the cave in Plato, Republic, Book VII, 514a–517a, in Plato: Complete Works, trans. G.M.A. Grube, rev. C.D.C. Reeve and ed. John M. Cooper (Indianapolis, 1997), pp.97–1223.

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in her dialogue with Boethius rely upon an ‘imaginative pattern’6 that sees God as creator and source, and the world’s existence as dependent on order and harmony. This manifests not only in terms of the arguments that Lady Philosophy sets out but underpins the role of music, which is decisive to the re-telling; music is the principle of harmony and permeates every aspect of the created order, including Boethius, whom it acts upon to re-order and re-harmonise. Ultimately, however, music gathers force in the Consolation not simply as a concept within an imaginative structure, but as an action, a means of being in the world. As such, music facilitates world-making: the process through which humans attempt to make sense of themselves and the environment in which they are situated.

The Consolation of Philosophy as Autobiography The composition of the Consolation of Philosophy draws upon a number of genres, including consolation, philosophical dialogue and Menippean satire.7 Together they create a unique type of autobiographical narrative. Thomas Mathien understands autobiography as any text that deals with the author’s life as a central topic and does so through the use of simple or complex forms of retrospective narrative.8 Consolation is one of the five autobiographical forms he identifies; its purpose is ‘to demonstrate the genuine value of an apparently unhappy life’.9 In considering how this occurs, it is worth reflecting a moment on autobiographical writing more generally. Garry Hagberg notes that such writing allows an individual to arrive at an understanding of him or herself,10 holding, as I have summarised elsewhere, that ‘through self-description the subject relates to aspects of her life and makes sense of them from the standpoint of the “I” that is here-and-now. It is from this perspective that events acquire significance and that “I” create a picture to which “I” bear resemblance.’11 It is in autobiographical writing that the permeability of fact and story becomes clear: although objects and events (the ‘facts’ comprising one’s existence) do not change, their significance and relation to other objects and events, as well as their relation to a person’s life as a whole, can be perceived differently upon reflection and in retrospect. Autobiography allows one to create a picture of oneself. Over the course of the Consolation, Boethius re-assesses the trajectory and meaning of his life, which recent events have caused him to doubt – the work is written from prison where he awaits execution12 and is set against the backdrop of his radical 6

Midgley, The Myths We Live, p.1. John Marenbon, Boethius (Oxford, 2003), p.97. 8 Thomas Mathien, ‘Philosophers’ Autobiographies’, Autobiography as Philosophy: The Philosophical Uses of Self-Presentation, ed. Thomas Mathien and D.G. Wright (Oxford, 2006), pp.14–30 (14). 9 Ibid., p.20. 10 Garry L. Hagberg, Describing Ourselves: Wittgenstein and Autobiographical Consciousness (Oxford, 2008), espec. chap.6. 11 Férdia J. Stone-Davis, ‘Music and Worldmaking: Haydn’s String Quartet in E-Flat Major (op.33, no. 2)’, Music and Transcendence, ed. Férdia J. Stone-Davis (Aldershot, 2015), pp.125–46 (136–7). 12 Henry Chadwick, Boethius: The Consolations of Music, Logic, Theology, and Philosophy (Oxford, 1981), p.54. 7

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change of circumstance: ‘having been rich, powerful, and influential, he is suddenly condemned as a traitor and stripped of his goods, imprisoned, and sentenced to death’.13 Importantly, this re-assessment occurs indirectly: it is the figure of Boethius (rather than the author)14 who is consoled,15 and he is consoled not through a self-directed process of reflection, but under the guidance of a third party, the persona of Lady Philosophy.16 More significantly, especially in light of Midgley’s comment about the active rather than passive character of concepts within discourse, music becomes a therapeutic tool. Music is a central concept within the metaphysics underpinning Boethius’s thought; it is a means of understanding the world. However, it is through its performance that music exerts an influence on Boethius: Boethius responds to the music Lady Philosophy sings, and in which he becomes immersed.

Music as a Therapeutic Tool The Consolation pays witness to the active character of music, where it is embedded both implicitly and explicitly in the narrative. Implicitly, music appears within Boethius’s allusion to the quadrivium. The quadrivium comprises four disciplines (arithmetic, music, geometry and astronomy).17 Each of these is concerned with knowledge of that which is unchanging (and is therefore a preparation for the philosophical enterprise),18 and is so through a mutual dependence on number, which Boethius argues is the foundation of all things in his treatise on Arithmetic: From the beginning, all things whatever which have been created may be seen by the nature of things to be formed by reason of numbers. Number was the ­principal 13

Marenbon, Boethius, p.96. References to the Consolation are to the book, section, verses (where appropriate) and page numbers in the translation by Victor Watts (London, 1999). For further information about the context giving rise to Boethius’s situation, see his own account in Consolation, Book I.4, pp.8–15. Cf. also Chadwick, Boethius: The Consolations of Music, chap.1, especially pp.46–56. 14 ‘There is no good reason to suppose that the circumstances of its composition were other than they are described – those of a man in the condemned cell, with little hope of reprieve. But this is not to say that the states of mind attributed to the character Boethius need ever have been those of the real Boethius. Boethius the character is a persona, very possibly fictional in many of his thoughts and feelings, although sharing the events of Boethius the author’s life. It is important that the two figures be kept distinct.’ Marenbon, Boethius, p.99. 15 Boethius is also a pattern for humankind. The Consolation is written in such a way as to identify Boethius with humankind. Examples of this synonymy extend throughout: see ibid., Book I.3, p.7 and Book II.2, pp.25–6. Moreover, Lady Philosophy addresses Boethius in the plural: see for example Book III.3, p.51 and Book IV.6, p.106. 16 Marenbon says, ‘It is Boethius himself, alone, who is consoled and does the consoling, but the fiction of the dialogue suggests that he is consoled by another.’ He notes that the form of the Consolation, ‘in which the author consoles a representation of himself, through a fictional figure, is unprecedented’. Marenbon, Boethius, p.97. 17 Boethius wrote treatises on all four subjects (although not all have survived) and reputedly coined the term. For more information on the quadrivium and the particular importance of music, see Férdia J. Stone-Davis, Musical Beauty: Negotiating the Boundary between Subject and Object (Eugene, 2011), pp.2–13. 18 See Stone-Davis, Musical Beauty, pp.8–10.



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exemplar in the mind of the creator. From it were derived the multiplicity of the four elements, from it were derived the changes of the seasons, from it the movement of the stars and the turning of the heavens.19

Music also appears within allusions to the three classes of music identified by Boethius in his treatise The Fundamentals of Music – cosmic, human and instrumental music – and their dependence upon consonance and harmony.20 Through the interrelation of movement, sound, ratio and consonance, each class of music exists: each sphere contains a number of movements and thus a plurality of sounded notes that cohere through harmony. Consonance emerges laterally within the different spheres through harmony, which draws the individual movements within each sphere of the cosmos into concord. Yet it also appears cosmically as each sphere is harmoniously fitted to its cosmic counterparts. Cosmic music involves the consonance of celestial bodies, the binding of elements and the arrangement of seasons.21 Human music is the harmony of the cosmos embodied within humankind, in the consonance of body and soul, in the joining of the parts within the soul itself, of the rational and irrational parts, and in the mixing of the elements and the fixed proportioning of members within the body alone.22 Instrumental music is harmony which rests in various instruments.23 Boethius’s recognition in the Consolation that the world is ordered invokes the quadrivium and connects music both ontologically and epistemologically to reality. Soon after her entrance, Lady Philosophy makes it clear that formerly Boethius spent a great deal of time studying the quadrivium.24 She remembers how Boethius as an ‘Astronomer once used in joy / To comprehend and to commune / With planets on their wandering ways.’25 Boethius’s study of the movement of the sky implicitly invokes cosmic music: ‘The world in constant change / Maintains a harmony, / And elements keep peace / Whose nature is to war.’26 Moreover, both Boethius and Lady Philosophy recall how he previously rendered the secrets of 19

Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, Boethian Number Theory: A Translation of the De Institutione Arithmetica, trans. Michael Masi (Amsterdam, 1983), p.xxx. See also Boethius, Fundamentals of Music, trans. Calvin M. Bower, ed. Claude V. Palisca (New Haven, 1989), Book I, section 2, pp.9–10. 20 For a detailed explanation of the importance of consonance, see Stone-Davis, Musical Beauty, pp.19–25, and for a fuller discussion of the classes of music, see ibid., pp.25–30. 21 Boethius, Fundamentals, Book I, section 2, pp.9–10. 22 Ibid., Book I, section 2, p.10. 23 Ibid. 24 On the figure of Lady Philosophy, see Marenbon, Boethius, pp.153–4. Boethius compares his current situation to that in which he and Lady Philosophy used to meet and study together: Consolation, Book I.4, p.9. Myra L. Uhlfelder notes that the study of astronomy had revealed the orderly arrangement and movement of heavenly bodies, and that perception of this order had served as an exemplum for Boethius in developing a principle of order for his own life: ‘The Role of the Liberal Arts in Boethius’ Consolatio’, Boethius and the Liberal Arts: A Collection of Essays, ed. Michael Masi (Berne, 1981), pp.17–34 (24). 25 Boethius, Consolation, Book I.2, verses 10–12, p.5. 26 Ibid., Book II.8, verses 1–4, p.45.

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nature intelligible.27 Boethius’s previous study of the quadrivium underpins his continued belief that God is both the source and end of creation:28 ‘I could never believe that events of such regularity are due to the haphazards of chance. In fact I know that God the Creator watches over His creation.’29 God’s creation of the world is inextricable from its ordering,30 and aspects of the world’s order often accompany the mention of creation in the Consolation. Examples extend from the organisation of celestial bodies31 to the patterns of the season,32 to the place of humankind. As will become clear, it is the place of humankind within the order which is vital, since it enables Boethius to recover: From one beginning rises all mankind; For one Lord rules and fathers all things born. ... He closed in bodies minds brought down from on high, A noble origin for mortal men.33

Explicitly, music is actively present throughout the various stages of Boethius’s recovery, preparing his mind for change. This transformation relies on harmony, extending throughout the created order via cosmic, human and instrumental music, and ordering everything contained therein. It is this that structures the Consolation and the recovery of Boethius: music, as the principle of harmony, manifested in performance, impacts on the mind through the body, restoring Boethius’s capacity to reason so that he can recognise his place within God’s created order and make sense of his life once again. In this way, as sound, music encourages the soul and the body to resonate harmoniously. Music is pivotal throughout the Consolation’s six sections, although its function changes as Boethius’s reason becomes stronger. The work begins (Book I.1–3) by introducing Boethius’s situation to the reader. Music signals his change in fortune, for Boethius ‘once wrote songs with joyful zeal’, but is now ‘driven by grief to enter weeping mode’.34 It is at this point that Lady Philosophy makes her appearance, reflecting upon Boethius’s decline and diagnosing his condition (Book I.3–7). Lady Philosophy observes that in Boethius’s present state of mind a ‘great tumult of emotion’ has fallen upon him so that he is ‘torn this way and that by alternating fits of grief, wrath, and anguish’.35 She thus begins treatment by first applying ‘gentler’ remedies that will ‘temper’ Boethius so that he is ‘ready to receive the strength of a 27

Ibid., Book I.2, verses 22–3, p.6. For the assumption that God is source and end, see ibid., Book I.6, pp.19–20. 29 Ibid., Book I.6, p.19. 30 See ibid., Book I.5, verses 1–4, p.15; Book I.6, verses 1–6, p.18; Book I.6, verses 15–16, p.18; Book I.6, verses 17–18, p.18. 31 See ibid., Book I.5, verses 5–9, p.15 ; Book III.2, verses 1–6, p.50. 32 See ibid., Book I.5, verses 18–22, p.15. 33 Ibid., Book III.6, verses 1–2; 5–6, p.59. 34 Ibid., Book I.1, verses 1–2, p.3. 35 Ibid., Book I.5, p.18. 28



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sharper medicament’ (Book II.1–4).36 Significantly, the gentle remedies consist of music and rhetoric, selected for their capacity to promote moderation and stability. Lady Philosophy then moves on to ‘stronger’ ones (Book II.5–8), countering Boethius’s belief that Fortune has turned against him. The instability and disorder of Fortune is contrasted with the stability and order of God. Only at this point does Lady Philosophy introduce ‘bitter’ remedies, turning attention away from partial good and happiness towards perfect good and happiness (Book III.1–12). Following this, the final obstacles to Boethius’s recovery are removed (Book IV.1– V.6). The use of music changes over the course of the Consolation, and in the final section, when Boethius is stronger, the reliance upon performed music diminishes and it acts as a ‘refreshment’ from the exercise of reason.

Book I.1–2: Fortune’s Abandonment of Boethius Boethius’s perception of his predicament is clear; God has abandoned him. However, Lady Philosophy is adamant that Boethius’s abandonment is self-imposed: ‘you have wandered away yourself, or if you prefer to be thought of as having been banished, it is you yourself that have been the instrument of it’.37 As a result, Boethius’s vision is impaired: So sinks the mind in deep despair And sight grows dim; when storms of life Inflate the weight of earthly care, The mind forgets its inward light And turns in trust to the dark without.38

This impairment is evident in the opening lament, where Boethius implicitly expresses his alienation. He seeks the comfort of the Muses rather than God, vents his sorrow ‘with the help of my pen’, and despairs. Notably, Lady Philosophy is quick to banish the Muses: ‘“Who,” she demanded, her piercing eyes alight with fire, “has allowed these hysterical sluts to approach this sick man’s bedside? They have no medicine to ease his pains, only sweetened poisons to make them worse.”’39 Having dismissed the Muses and diagnosed Boethius’s condition, Lady

36

Ibid. Ibid., Book I.5, pp.16–17. 38 Ibid., Book I.2, verses 1–5, p.5. Supporting this, Lady Philosophy recollects a previous and contrasting scenario: ‘Now see that mind that searched and made / All Nature’s hidden secrets clear / Lie prostrate prisoner of night. / His neck bends low in shackles thrust, / And he is forced beneath the weight / To contemplate – the lowly dust.’ Ibid., Book I.2, verses 22–7, p.6. 39 Ibid., Book I.1, p.4. The Muses encourage Boethius to write elegy. Lady Philosophy sets herself over and against them: ‘poetry plays the painted whore to Philosophy’s virtuous woman’. Anna M. Crabbe, ‘Literary Design in De Consolatione’, Boethius: His Life, Thought and Influence, ed. Margaret Gibson (Oxford, 1981), pp.238–41 (250). Crabbe continues, ‘The stress in the De Musica on the inherent tendency of certain types of music to produce demoralizing “affectus” is closely parallel to Philosophy’s analysis of harm done by the Muses.’ 37

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Philosophy positions herself as physician.40 She will encourage Boethius to re-evaluate his situation and thereby illuminate his darkened vision. Music’s appearance at this early stage in the Consolation is important. It develops the premise introduced in Boethius’s Fundamentals that music is an expression of the soul,41 since music exemplifies Boethius’s demise.42 Moreover, granting music the capacity to express Boethius’s feelings prepares the ground for music as a means of transformation. This is supported by the Fundamentals where the power of music upon both body and mind is clear,43 and is crucial to Boethius’s recovery. Finally, the use of music in Boethius’s treatment reveals its modus operandi: music leads to change rather than demands it.

Book I.3–7: Diagnosis of the Problem Boethius’s display of grief allows Lady Philosophy to diagnose his condition and brings him to a point where he can begin treatment. It becomes apparent that Boethius holds God as ‘the source from which all things come’44 and that this is the root of his desolation since he cannot comprehend how the injustice he has suffered fits into God’s order.45 He concludes that God’s reign does not extend to humankind.46 Boethius’s quandary is marked, as is the two-fold edge of belief in the world’s creation. Belief in God’s order is responsible for Boethius’s despair, since Boethius is unable to reconcile the good works of his life with his current 40

Chamberlain suggests that Lady Philosophy is the ‘complete musicus’ since she fulfils the criteria of the perfect musician (instrumental skills, creative, judgement of rhythms, melodies). D.S. Chamberlain, ‘Philosophy of Music in the Consolatio of Boethius’, Speculum 45 (1970), 80–97; Gerard O’Daly, The Poetry of Boethius (London, 1991), p.55. However, one can perhaps go further and suggest that Lady Philosophy is the complete embodiment of music as the perfection of ‘human’ music, the consonance of body and mind. Thus, it is music rather than Lady Philosophy that stands as the true physician. 41 ‘Someone who cannot sing well will nevertheless sing something to himself, not because the song that he sings affects him with particular satisfaction, but because those who express a kind of inborn sweetness from the soul –regardless of how it is expressed – find pleasure.’ Boethius, Fundamentals, Book I, section 1, p.8. 42 Interestingly, Seth Lerer views Boethius’s situation and recovery through the loss, recovery and retrieval of language. One can relate this to Boethius’s incapacity to reason: he is thus rendered speechless (the Muses dictate to Boethius) and it is music that attends to him in the first instance. Seth Lerer, Boethius and Dialogue: Literary Method in The Consolation of Philosophy (Princeton, 1985). 43 Boethius says of the Pythagoreans: ‘they knew that the whole structure of our soul and body has been joined by means of musical coalescence. For just as one’s physical state affects feeling, so also the pulses of the heart are increased by disturbed states of mind.’ Boethius, Fundamentals, Book I, section 1, p.7. The body and soul are intimately connected, and music can directly impact the mind, purging and modifying mood. Boethius refers to the Pythagorean use of music in this regard. 44 Boethius, Consolation, Book I.6, p.19. For the strength of this assertion, see Uhlfelder, ‘The Role of the Liberal Arts’, p.23. 45 Boethius, Consolation, Book I.4, p.13. 46 Ibid., Book I.5, verses 23–7, p.16.



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predicament, but it is also crucial to his recovery – it is only by virtue of Boethius’s continued belief in God’s order that Lady Philosophy is able to treat him.47

Book II.1–4: ‘Gentler’ Remedies Lady Philosophy first employs gentle remedies since Boethius is too weak for anything stronger.48 As is made clear later, stronger remedies rely upon the use of reason. It is thus that the understanding of music within the Consolation presents itself: just as in the case of the other disciplines of the quadrivium, music is ultimately a preparation for reason, leading to knowledge of the unchanging. Lady Philosophy treats Boethius initially with the gentle action of music and rhetoric,49 taking his belief in God as creator as her oblique starting point. She examines his complaint that he has been stripped of all possessions and abandoned by Fortune and shows him that in Fortune Boethius ‘did not have and did not lose anything of value’.50 In doing so, Lady Philosophy implicitly contrasts the inconstancy of Fortune with the constancy of God.51 It is by means of this comparison that Boethius’s focus begins to sharpen, since God is the proper end through which all things are understood. Three points are of note in this initial treatment which reflect positively upon music, not simply as concept, but as action. First, Lady Philosophy uses sung melody,52 confirming that music is not simply a metaphor explaining the order of the world, but directly impacts on humankind through sound.53 Second, Lady Philosophy employs ‘melodies of varying mood’,54 disclosing the active dimension of music. In reaction to the weeping modes that lay hold of Boethius, Lady Philosophy uses different varieties that effect his initial transformation. This capacity for transformation derives from the principle of harmony established in the Fundamentals and the interrelationship of cosmic, human and instrumental music. Lady Philosophy uses musical modes that promote order and harmony, and make consonant the body and soul, orientating Boethius within the cosmos. As a result, 47

Ibid., Book I.6, p.20. Ibid. 49 Lady Philosophy uses ‘the persuasive powers of sweet-tongued rhetoric, powers which soon go astray from the true path’ unless they follow Lady Philosophy’s instruction, and music, ‘the maid-servant’ of Philosophy’s house, who will sing ‘melodies of varying mood’. Ibid., Book II.1, p.22. 50 Ibid. 51 Lady Philosophy demonstrates the imperfect character of Fortune, see ibid., Book II.1, p.23; Book II.2, p.25. Book II.4, p.30. 52 Ibid., Book II.1, p.22. 53 ‘Unlike the music and the Muses of the prisoner’s open lament, it [Philosophy’s music] will be both comforting and meaningful. Like De Trinitate’s spark of intelligence, this native music comes from within. It somehow belongs to us and resides in us.’ Lerer, Boethius and Dialogue, p.113. This supports Chamberlain’s reading (‘Philosophy of Music in the Consolatio of Boethius’) and goes against that of O’Daly, who says that human music ‘is no more than a metaphor for the body-soul structure’. The Poetry of Boethius, p.56. 54 Boethius, Consolation, Book II.1, p.22. 48

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40

through the body’s effect upon the mind, the mind becomes more receptive to the unpalatable truths that subsequent stronger treatment and the use of reason will reveal. Third, the action of music connects with pleasure: music presents truths in an appealing fashion and Boethius responds accordingly. Music’s therapeutic benefits are limited, however. Although music introduces harmony to Boethius, it acts largely as a preparation for reason. Moreover, the transience of sound means that pleasure is temporary: it is only while one is actually listening that one is filled with pleasure, and for the wretched, the pain of suffering goes deeper. So as soon as your words stop sounding in our ears, the mind is weighed down again by its deep seated melancholy.55

The benefits of the harmony that music establishes as sound are thus partial. Lady Philosophy agrees: ‘It is true,’ she rejoins, ‘for none of this is meant to be a cure for your condition, but simply a kind of application to help soothe a grief still resistant to treatment. When the time comes I will apply something calculated to penetrate deep inside.’56

Book II.5–8: ‘Stronger’ Remedies Having tempered Boethius’s grief a little by means of music and rhetoric, Lady Philosophy moves on to ‘rather stronger’ remedies.57 She reasons with Boethius by setting aside the transitory nature of Fortune’s gifts outlined to Boethius and taking a different approach by proving that, even if the gifts of Fortune were not transitory, they would still not bring true happiness. Once again Fortune is implicitly contrasted with God – God is the true source of happiness. In arguing this, Lady Philosophy reaffirms to Boethius that he is ‘weeping over lost riches’ (beauty, wealth and fame appear among the external blessings and riches that Lady Philosophy calls into question)58 and reminds him that he has found ‘the most precious of all riches – friends who are true friends’.59 This part of the treatment concludes with a poem linking creation, order and harmony.60 Here, a conjunction of different forms of music transpires: the poem about cosmic music is sung by Lady Philosophy. This arrests Boethius’s attention and instils in him a desire to hear more: ‘She has stopped singing, but the enchantment of her song left me spellbound. I was absorbed and wanted to go on listening.’61 Music thus presents truths through the poem’s content, but also through the physical manifestation of harmony in performance. By this means, Boethius’s recovery advances. 55

Ibid. Ibid. 57 Ibid., Book II.5, p.33. 58 Ibid., Book II.5–7, pp.33–44. 59 Ibid., Book II.8, p.45. 60 Ibid., Book II.8, pp.44–5. 61 Ibid., Book III.1, p.47. 56



The Consolation of Philosophy 41

Book III.1–12: ‘Bitter’ Remedies With Lady Philosophy’s song leading Boethius forth, he declares his readiness for stronger treatment.62 Notably, Boethius regards Lady Philosophy as ‘the greatest comfort for exhausted spirits’ and has been helped by the ‘weight’ of her ‘tenets’ and the ‘delightfulness’ of her ‘singing’. He implicitly pits the pleasure of music against the content of reason and draws attention to the character of subsequent remedies. In contrast to previous remedies, which are sweet and palatable, the next batch ‘taste bitter to the tongue, but grow sweet once they are absorbed’.63 The idea of absorption reinforces the fact that reason penetrates more deeply than music. The Orpheus myth is articulated at the end of Lady Philosophy’s use of bitter remedies, when Boethius is nearing a full recollection of his self-identity.64 This is significant: the myth supports Lady Philosophy’s use of music, the sweetness and pleasure of which have been used to cajole Boethius. In the myth, the power of music effects creation65 and secures the release of Eurydice from the underworld66 by attracting the listener and bringing about sympathy to change. Significantly, the myth is delivered in song by Lady Philosophy.67 Moreover, the myth is located at a transitional point and forms a didactic parallel.68 Boethius is almost free from the gloom that has imprisoned him, and the myth stresses to Boethius that he must maintain his upward ascent if he is to hold secure all that he has achieved thus far: For you the legend I relate, You who seek the upward way To lift your mind into the day; For who gives in and turns his eye Back to darkness from the sky, Loses while he looks below All that up with him may go.69

The bitter remedies aim to lead Boethius towards ‘true happiness’ and Lady Philosophy sketches an idea of ‘the cause of happiness’ through reasoned argument in the hope that Boethius will recognise ‘the pattern of true happiness’.70 To this end, Lady Philosophy first examines examples of ‘false happiness’ and returns

62

Ibid. Ibid. 64 Ibid., Book III.12, pp.79, 82–4. 65 Ibid., Book III.12, verses 5–13, pp.82–3. 66 Ibid., Book III.12, verses 20–8, p.83. 67 Ibid., Book IV.1, p.85. 68 On how Boethius re-writes the Orpheus myth see Lerer, Boethius and Dialogue, pp.159– 64; O’Daly, The Poetry of Boethius, pp.188–207. 69 Boethius, Consolation, Book III.12, verses 52–8, p.84. 70 Ibid., Book III.1, p.47. 63

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to beauty, wealth and fame. This time she places them within their proper order,71 suggesting that the happiness they offer is only partially true since humankind treats them as absolutes apart from God.72 The problem is plain: humankind has a faint vision of its origin and an instinctive desire to pursue absolute happiness and goodness, but is misguided and led astray.73 Elucidating the partial goodness of those things pursued by humankind, Lady Philosophy signals their source, self-sufficient goodness.74 Lady Philosophy informs Boethius that if he turns his ‘mind’s eye in the opposite direction’ he will see the ‘true happiness’ that Lady Philosophy has promised; she reasons from effect to cause, thereby locating perfect goodness and happiness in God.75 Lady Philosophy clarifies by contrasting perfect and imperfect goodness, and perfect and imperfect happiness, focusing on the contrast between unity and multiplicity, and the striving of all things for unity. Lady Philosophy maintains that everything strives towards unity.76 The underlying assumption is that unity is identical with goodness, and therefore that it is true that everything desires goodness.77 This realisation is pivotal to Boethius’s recovery, confirming to him the order of the world.78 This prepares the way for the confirmation that is shortly to follow, that Boethius has recovered well. Boethius confirms his belief in God as creator, which he articulated at the beginning of his journey. However, this time Boethius substantiates it with reasons, saying, ‘I still do think it is beyond doubt, and will always think so. I will briefly explain the arguments which convince me in this matter’ [my italics].79 The arguments that he gives are: (1) the unification of the diverse elements of the world into a whole; (2) the necessity of a power that holds together the unity of diverse elements; and (3) the necessity of a stable power which maintains the order of unstable elements.80 All that has gone before has led Boethius to this recognition that God is the source of everything. Lady Philosophy acknowledges the significance of this progression;81 however, to complete the final leg of Boethius’s recovery, Lady Philosophy addresses Boethius’s continuing conviction that although 71

Ibid., Book III.2, pp.49–50. The rest of Book III.3, pp.52–3, deals with wealth; ibid., Book III.4, pp.54–6, deals with appointments of high office; ibid., Book III.5, pp.56–8, deals with power; ibid., Book III.6, pp.58–9, deals with fame; ibid., III.7, pp.59–60, deals with bodily pleasure. 72 Ibid., Book III.2, p.49; ibid., Book III.8, p.62. 73 Ibid., Book III.3, pp.51–2. 74 Ibid., Book III.9, p.64. 75 Ibid., Book III.10, pp.68–9. 76 Ibid., Book III.11, p.77. 77 Ibid. The main reason for seeking all things is goodness: ‘For it is quite impossible for that which contains no good in itself whether real or apparent, to be an object of desire. On the other hand, things which are not good by nature are sought after if they nevertheless seem as if they were truly good.’ Ibid., Book III.10, p.72. 78 Ibid., Book III.11, p.77. 79 Ibid., Book III.12, p.79. 80 Ibid. 81 Ibid.



The Consolation of Philosophy 43

God orders creation, his order excludes humankind. She does so by echoing her former assertion that knowing God as the beginning of creation is to know him as its end. She argues that all things, including humankind, strive towards unity and therefore goodness, that God is supreme, and that all things thus strive towards God through their own nature and accord, and not by means of some imposition.82

Book IV.1–V.6: Clearing the Path Although this insight is momentous, Boethius’s dismay is intensified and attention returns to the problem at hand: ‘the greatest cause of my sadness is really this – the fact that in spite of a good helmsman to guide the world, evil can still exist and even pass unpunished.’83 Addressing this major obstacle gives impetus to the last phase of Boethius’s recovery. The rest of the Consolation deals with the existence of evil people amid a good ordering of creation and knowledge of God’s plan. It finishes with the question of the compatibility of providence and divine foreknowledge. It is at this point that the intimately related distinction between providence and fate is set in place, substantiating the idea that ‘even if you don’t know the reason behind the great plan of the universe, there is no need for you to doubt that a good power rules the world and that everything happens aright’.84 For providence is the plan which comes from the mind of God, while fate is its outworking in time.85 This distinction underpins the notion that knowledge is appropriate to the human capacity. The poem that follows is based on this assumption. Lady Philosophy maintains that just because the causes of human action are not as evident as the causes of the world, it does not mean that the human sphere is chaotic. Rather, it is that the cause remains unrevealed to the human mind. In light of this distinction, the problem faced by Boethius and all of humankind becomes apparent. Humankind cannot contemplate God’s order completely and it is this that is the source of many problems:86 But hidden cause confounds the human heart, Perplexed by things that rarely come to pass, For unexpected things the people dread. Then let the clouds of ignorance give way And these events will no more wondrous seem.87 82

Ibid., Book III.12, p.80. Ibid., Book IV.1, p.85. 84 Ibid. 85 Ibid., Book IV.6, p.104. Lady Philosophy is clear that everything that comes under Fate ‘is also subject to Providence’. However, ‘certain things which come under Providence are above the chain of Fate’. Such things ‘rise above the order of change ruled over by Fate in virtue of the stability of their position close to the supreme Godhead’. The distinction between Providence and Fate is not clearly defined, but graduated. Ibid., Book IV.6, p.105. 86 Ibid., Book IV.6, p.106. 87 Ibid., Book IV.5, verses 18–22, p.103. 83

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Within this final stage, the importance of reason is clear.88 The Consolation has demonstrated the growing strength of Boethius, such that he can now tackle questions such as the existence of evil, and problems such as providence and foreknowledge without the sweetening of rhetoric and music. It is pure reason that aids the remainder of Boethius’s recovery; Lady Philosophy says to Boethius: ‘But seeing you are so quick of understanding, I will pile the arguments on.’89 As a result, the sweetness and pleasure of music that coaxed Boethius through the earlier stages of his treatment now provide a temporary relief to the application of reason: You are worn out by the prolixity of the reasoning and have been looking forward to the sweetness of song. So take a draught that will refresh you and make you able to apply your thoughts more closely to further matters.90

Conclusion The transmission of the Greek worldview to the Latin-speaking world was a central motivation to Boethius as author, hence the emphasis in his treatises upon number as the foundation of the created order and music as the manifestation of harmony. In the Consolation, the guiding principle of Boethius-the-figure’s life – that there is a divinely instantiated order that gives coherence both to the world and to his own life – is unsettled by the turn of events that lead to his imprisonment. This obscures Boethius’s vision so that he is no longer able to make sense of his life and its place within the larger scheme of the cosmos. He spent time studying the order of things and yet there seems to be no order to his own life. Over the course of the Consolation Boethius’s vision is restored; he is able to find meaning in life events. This occurs through a dialogical interaction with Lady Philosophy, who employs medicines that simultaneously rely upon and demonstrate the importance of harmony and consonance to every level of existence. Music is important among these medicines. While reason provides the final and most effective remedy, music is integral throughout the process; it is part of the fabric of the cosmos and yields knowledge of how things really are. Thus it offers a way into an imaginative pattern that encourages a reading of the world in terms of harmony. More significantly, however, music is an action performed by Lady Philosophy for Boethius, who in experiencing it is affected, and his own mode of being in the world is altered as a result. The power of music in the narrative of the Consolation is thus evident: against the physical limitations imposed by the prison cell, and the psychological obstacles generated by his circumstances, the performance of music by Lady Philosophy for Boethius has the capacity to draw Boethius’s gaze so that, rather than being inwardly focused, he turns outwards, rais 88

Lady Philosophy thinks that ‘useful as it is to know about these matters, they are somewhat aside from our proposed path’ and that Boethius ‘may be so worn out by digressions’ that he will be ‘unable to complete the journey.’ Nevertheless, she does as Boethius wishes. Ibid., Book V.1, p.116. 89 Ibid., Book IV.2, p.90. 90 Ibid., Book IV.6, p.110.



The Consolation of Philosophy 45

ing his vision beyond the confines of his prison cell, and creating a different understanding of his own life and relationship to the world in which he finds himself. Attempts to situate musical meaning in a metaphysical framework, such as Boethius’s, are less commonplace now than they once were, and are often plagued with difficulty when made, since any kind of absolute frame has come to be regarded as suspicious. However, a case for music as a means of making sense, or world-making, is still viable in contemporary terms without recourse to a grand frame. A range of current cultural and sociological accounts of music and its uses powerfully demonstrate that music can be both what we know and how we know. Philosophically articulated, and in line with the action of music in the Consolation, music has the capacity to negotiate the tension between the constraining features of existence and the transcendence of these, even if this transcendence is only temporary.91 It is in this manner that music enables individuals to find significance in their lives by allowing them to relate to the world in different ways: musical activity can be a primary means of perceiving and interpreting an environment,92 it can enable individuals to create ‘manageable sites of habitation’ when traversing and inhabiting environments not of their making,93 it can challenge the constructions of existing worlds,94 and it can act variously as a ‘technology of the self ’95 or a ‘prosthetic technology of the body’96 that negotiates the entangled emotional and physical aspects of existence. Thus, just as music in the Consolation acts upon the limiting conditions of Boethius’s circumstances, allowing him to find and express a structure to his life and the world, so it continues to do so. Music remains an integral means through which humankind tells stories and finds meaning.

91

See Andrew Bowie, ‘Music, Transcendence, and Philosophy’, Music and Transcendence, ed. Férdia J. Stone-Davis (Aldershot, 2015), pp.213–23. 92 See for example, Steven Feld, ‘Waterfalls of Song: An Acoustemology of Place Resounding in Bosavi, Papua New Guinea’, Senses of Place, ed. Steven Feld and Keith Basso (Santa Fe, 1997), pp.90–135. 93 Michael Bull, Sounding Out the City: Personal Stereos and the Management of Everyday Life (Oxford, 2000), p.2. 94 Férdia J. Stone-Davis, ‘Worldmaking and Worldbreaking: Pussy Riot’s “Punk Prayer”’, Contemporary Music Review 34 (2015), 101–20. 95 Tia DeNora, Music in Everyday Life (Cambridge, 2014), p.46. 96 Ibid., p.102.

3

And in England, There are Singers: Grafting Oneself into the Origins of Music Elina G. Hamilton

M

usic treatises from the Middle Ages frequently begin by rehearsing a genealogical narrative for the authorities in music. Often these are intertwined with myths and legends inherited from previous generations. Boethius is cited as an authority for the division of a tone. Guido is considered the father of the monochord. Isidore gives the ultimate definition of musica. A number of theorists also felt it important to establish a story for the origins of music. In the narrative of origins, some theorists opt for a story of the Muses, while others lean towards tales of biblical heritage.1 De origine et effectu musicae, a late fourteenth- to early ­fifteenth-century music treatise from England, offers slight variants to both options in a combination story of music’s origin.2 In addition to the tales of Tubal from the Old Testament and mythical accounts of Pythagoras, De origine et effectu musicae records numerous authorities that make up the musical tradition from Boethius, Isidore and Guido, to Franco and Philippe de Vitry. Among what is expected, one source includes a poem that strategically places English singers among the authorities of the past (Table 3.1). The poem runs through a typical list of protagonists in the origin story, albeit with slight alteration to the chronology. Such deviation is not entirely uncommon in medieval texts. The border between legend and myth is sometimes difficult to distinguish in the different stories surrounding the origin of music, leading theorists to pen perplexing interpretations in their treatises. The elusive nature of these interpretations has resulted in a general dismissal of small deviations that do not fit into a so-called urtext narrative as unimportant and insignificant, sometimes for good reason. Noel Swerdlow is especially critical of the medieval authors, whose common sense seems to have escaped them when they wrote etymologies of music, altering the stories in various extremes. According to Swerdlow, histori 1

Noel Swerdlow, ‘Musica dicitur a moys, quod est aqua’, Journal of the American Musicological Society 20 (1967), 3–9. 2 The two manuscripts containing De origine et effectu musicae are: Oxford, Bodleian Library: Bodley 515, fols.89r–90r and London, British Library: Lansdowne 763, fols.55v–59r. The short and incomplete De origine et effectu musicae is divided into ­twenty-four chapters. Gilbert Reaney notes that John Hawkins was the first to bring attention to the two manuscripts. Both versions of De origine et effectu musicae appear in several other treatises, including portions of the Quatuor principalia, and were written in the mid-fourteenth century. The full text for De origine et effectu musicae is transcribed with commentary in Gilbert Reaney, ‘The Anonymous Treatise, “De origine et effectu musicae,” an Early 15th Century Commonplace Book of Music Theory’, Musica Disciplina 37 (1983), 101–19.

Grafting Oneself into the Origins of Music 47



Table 3.1  London, British Library: Lansdowne MS 763, fol.56v 1

Per Thubal inventa musarum sunt elementa atque columnellis nobis exempta gemellis, et post diluvium tunc subscriptus perhibetur: Philosophus princeps pater Hermes, hic Trimogestus, 5 invenit musas, quas dedit et docuit. Pictagoras tantum per malleos fabricantum, antea confusas numeravit tetrarde musas quem musis genera medium concordia vera qua tropus ex parte Boitius edidit. 10 Unum composuit ad Gamma vetus tetracordum, et dici meruit fuisse Guido monocordum. Gregorius musas primo carnaliter usas, usu sanctarum mutavit basilicarum; ast Augustinus formam fert psalmodizandi, 15 atque chori regimen Bernardus monachis offert. Ethimologiarum scribat coaduitor Ysydorus; pausas, iuncturas, fracturas atque figuras mensuratarum formavit Franco notarum, et Jhon de Muris variis floruitque figuris: 20 Anglia cantorum nomen gignit plurimorum.

Tubal discovered the principles of the Muses Which we free from small twin columns. And henceforth from the flood bestow the following words: Hermes Trismegistus, philosopher and foremost father, invented the Muses, which he bestowed and imparted. Though previously confused, with many blacksmith hammers Pythagoras enumerated music into four Which begat true harmonies from the Muses. From these parts Boethius disclosed tropes. Singlehandedly Guido constructed the ancient tetrachord to the Gamma, and it is rightly said that the monochord is his. Gregory changed what was first a carnal use by the Muses into one in service of the holy basilicas; On the one hand, Augustine brings Psalms to form; And on the other Bernardus offers choral direction to monks. Isidore writes about Etymologies; rests, ligatures, and fractures of mensural notation were formed by Franco Jehan de Murs flourished from various notes: Now England gives birth to the greatest number of singers.

I am grateful to Michael Tworek who helped me work out a translation for the particularly difficult Latin grammar in the verse. The Latin is transcribed in Gilbert Reaney, ‘The Anonymous Treatise, “De origine et effectu musicae,” an Early 15th Century Commonplace Book of Music Theory,’ Musica Disciplina 37 (1983), 101-19 (p.112)

cal facts were often replaced by mythical understanding of stories based on a pure trust in ancient texts, sometimes giving ‘the impression that they were not really understood by the writers themselves’.3 In De origine et effectu musicae, there is a unique addition to the common ancient list of authorities which is of significant interest: ‘Now England gives birth to the greatest number of singers.’ It is the conclusion of the poem, a casual final statement that positions England and its singers as the culmination of the origin myth, 3

Swerdlow, ‘Musica dicitur a moys’, p.3.

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that is rarely found elsewhere. By grafting England into the list of authorities, the author of the poem seems to suggest that English singers played a prominent role within a commonly inherited musical tradition of medieval Europe. Moreover, the placement of England in the poem in the final stanza elevates the singers to a place of significance among other great authorities. The author has made a conscious effort to position the nation within a historical understanding of the origins of music. Elsewhere I have argued that the unusual list for Walter of Evesham Abbey’s division of music in his De speculatione musicae was not an accident, nor was it quoted in error from the Isidore/Cassiodorian tradition, as suggested by Gerhard Pietzsch.4 In his Etymologies, Isidore of Seville separated music into three parts: harmonica, rhythmica and metrica. Walter’s division is a slight variant from the classic division and includes organica along with harmonica, rhythmica and metrica as one of the divisions of music. Pietzsch discarded this division as being inaccurate because he believed that Walter had confused the parts of music with the division of music.5 Rather I showed that Walter’s semi-original division may have related closely to the organisation of his own treatise, therefore being utterly purposeful in his variation. In a similar attempt to consider variants as important as a common narrative, the implication of the English singers in De origine et effectu musicae among the traditional authorities of music theory may show how deviation from an accepted narrative can provide insights to the reception of the origin myth in England.

English Singers During the fourteenth century, and certainly by the fifteenth, there is good reason to believe that English singers had a solid reputation among musicians in general. They are mentioned in a handful of treatises as possessing distinctly different practices from continental musicians, so the reference to England in the poem should not be surprising. The reference to England’s singers by Anonymous IV in the late thirteenth century is now quite famous. According to Anonymous IV, there were different methods of rhythmic modes in England.6 Their notation was also peculiar.7 Furthermore, the English understood propriety and perfection differently from the Parisians.8 Later, Jacobus de Liège echoes what Anonymous IV noted and wrote that singers in England allegedly named the notes of a scale in a different manner from the Parisian musicians.9 In 1357, Johannes Boen also wrote 4

Elina G. Hamilton, ‘Walter of Evesham’s De speculatione musicae: Authority of Music Theory in Medieval England’, Musica Disciplina 58 (2013), 153–66 (157–62). 5 Gerhard Pietzsch, Die Klassifikation der Musik von Boethius bis Ugolino von Orvieto, Studien zur Geschichte der Musiktheorie in Mittelalter 1 (Halle, 1929), p.97. 6 Jeremy Yudkin, ed., The Music Treatise of Anonymous IV: A New Translation (­Neuhausen-Stuttgart, 1985), p.14. 7 Ibid., pp.34–5. 8 Ibid., p.45. 9 Jacobi Leodiensis, Speculum musicae, ed. Roger Bragard, Corpus scriptorum de musica 3, 8 vols ([Rome], 1973), Book VI, chap.62, vol.6, p.165.



Grafting Oneself into the Origins of Music 49

of a personal encounter with singers at Oxford, puzzling over why the English specifically prefer singing thirds and sixths to fifths.10 Beyond these anomalies from continental practice, Anonymous IV writes that there are good singers in England (boni cantores errant in Anglia).11 Few authors in England thought it important to include observations of their own musicians nor, for that matter, do they include any opinions of continental practices. The inclusion of the cantor in De origine et effectu musicae not only diverges the story from music’s origins to introduce a different type of musician into the mythical narrative, it is also a unique mention of a local tradition by an English author. Yet the mention of a cantor among a list of musici, as if equal to them, may not have been well received. The term cantor specifically refers to practitioners, not to the theorists or the musicus who are listed at the beginning of the poem. With the exception of the praiseworthy singers from England, the term cantor during the Middle Ages specified only one type of musician: an ignorant one. A search through theoretical texts in Thesaurus Musicarum Latinarum confirms that the role of cantor is reflected as less knowledgeable by nearly all definitions given by theorists.12 If the descriptions given by theorists are representative of the common understanding of musicians’ places, the roles of musicus and cantor were so well defined that a reader of this poem could be expected to have at least a sceptical perspective on singers. Serious consideration of the definition of a musician began with Boethius, who early in his De institutione musica provides a clear division of three types of musicians. The first kind is those concerned with the performance of instruments. Performers, though skilled and dedicated, were not considered to possess knowledge of music and were believed incapable of reason. The second kind was those who composed music. Talent in this category is found through a natural instinct for poetry in music, but these musicians still cannot comprehend the principles of music. The third kind was those who could judge music. This third category, which covered all aspects of musical activities, was considered to consist of the optimal musicians because they understood the art as a whole.13 Boethius’s divisions for the ideal musician became the mainstay throughout the Middle Ages, repeatedly serving as a role model for anyone pursuing music. Yet it was Guido who provided musicians with a clearer distinction between the musicus and cantor, emphasising just how vast the difference between the two kinds of musicians could be. Often misquoted as being from his Micrologus, the poem given

10

Johannes Boen, Musica, Part IV, ed. Rob C. Wegman www.academia.edu/4511289/ Johannes_Boen_Musica_1357_Second_Half. Accessed 4/6/2016. 11 Der Musiktraktat des Anonymus 4, ed. Fritz Reckow, Beihefte zum Archiv für Musikwissenschaft 4–5, 2 vols (Wiesbaden, 1967), vol.1, p.50. 12 Thesaurus Musicarum Latinarum, dir. Giuliano Di Bacco http://boethius.music. indiana.edu/tml/. Accessed 4/6/2016. 13 Boethius, De institutione musica, Book I, chap.34: Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, Fundamentals of Music, trans. Calvin M. Bower, ed. Claude V. Palisca (New Haven, 1989), pp.50–1.

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in the Regulae rhythmicae became synonymous with the appropriate definition of a musician: From musicians down to singers – how immense the distance is! Singers sing, musicians know about what music’s nature is. But he who does, and does not know, a beast by definition is.14

An emphasis on knowing, as indicated through the italicised words in this translation by Charles Atkinson, was most crucial to musicians. The singer who does not know about music is compared to an animal that is wild, untamed and monstrous. Contrarily, the musician is praised for knowing how to sing and the nature of music. The longevity and widespread teaching of the distinction between the two is noticeable throughout the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries (Table 3.2). The author of Summa musice, writing in the early thirteenth century, emphasised the importance of differentiating cantor from musicus, likening a cantor to a drunkard seeking direction.15 Later in the century, Lambertus provided an additional poem that refines Guido’s beastly and incompetent artisan: A beast not a singer, is one who sings not by art but by practice; It is not the voice that makes the singer, but the lesson of art.16

The cantor described here is an even less desirable singer, a beast, who cannot possess the craft of the art. This beast describes a musician at their lowest possible quality. In his Lucidarium, Marchetto da Padova defines a musicus as someone who commands the cantor, as someone able to judge the acts of those who serve: Thus the musicus is to the cantor as the judge to the herald. The judge sets things in order and commands the herald to proclaim them. So it is with the musicus and the cantor: the musicus investigates, perceives, discerns, selects, orders, and disposes all things that touch on the science, and he commands the cantor, who serves as his messenger, to put them into practice.17 14

‘Musicorum et cantorum magna est distantia. / Illi dicunt, isti sciunt, quae componit musica./ Nam qui facit, quod non sapit, diffinitur bestia.’ Translation by Charles M. Atkinson in: ‘Reviewed Works: Hucbald, Guido, and John on Music; Three Medieval Treatises by Warren Babb and Claude Palisca; Commemoratio Brevis de Tonis et Psalmis Modulandis by Terence Bailey’, Journal of Music Theory 24 (1980), 268–77 (271). 15 Christopher Page, ed. and trans., Summa Musice: A Thirteenth-Century Manual for Singers (Cambridge, 1991), pp.55–6, 145–6. 16 ‘Bestia non cantor, qui non canit arte sed usu; Non vox cantorem facit artis sed documentum.’ Christian Meyer, ed. and Karen Desmond, trans., The ‘Ars musica’ Attributed to Magister Lambertus/Aristoteles (Farnham, 2015), pp.10–11. 17 ‘Est itaque musicus ad cantorem, sicut iudex ad praeconem: nam iudex ordinat, et per praeconem praeconizari mandat; sic et musicus ad cantorem. Nam musicus cognoscit, sentit, discernit, eligit, ordinat et disponit omnia, quae ipsam tangunt scientiam: et per cantorem iubet tamquam per suum nuntium practicari.’ Slightly modified translation from Marchetto da Padova, The Lucidarium of Marchetto of Padua, ed. and trans., Jan W. Herlinger (Chicago, 1985), pp.547–51.

Petrus dictus Palma ociosa Attr. John of Tewkesbury

Henricus Helene Johannes Valendrinus

Compendium de discantu mensurabili

Quatuor principalia

Summula

Opusculum monacordale

Ps. Bede Marchetto da Padova

Anonymous

De plana musica breve compendium

Musica quadrata seu mensurata

Anonymous

[Regulae de musica]

Lucidarium

Jerome de Moravia

Tractatus de musica

Guido, Regulae rhythmicae

Guido, Regulae rhythmicae (as Micrologus in text)

Boethius, De institutione musica Guido, Regulae rhythmicae (as Micrologus in text)

Guido, Regulae rhythmicae

Boethius, De institutione musica

Guido, Regulae rhythmicae

Guido, Regulae rhythmicae

Guido, Regulae rhythmicae (as Micrologus in text)

Guido, Regulae rhythmicae (as Micrologus in text)

15th century

14th century

Before 1351

1336

1317/18

Late-13th century

Late-13th century

1295

1285–90

c.1280

1215–17

Guido, Regulae rhythmicae

Boethius, Consolatio Philosophiae

Anonymous (Ps. Muris) Lambertus/Aristoteles

Summa musice

Date

Quote Source

Author

Tractatus de musica

Treatise

Table 3.2  Sources for Definitions of Musicus and Cantores

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In many ways, Marchetto’s roles for musicus and cantor here are harsher than Boethius’s original designation of three types of musician. Marchetto’s distinction implies a strict hierarchy and suggests slave-like command by the musicus over the cantor. There was hope for the singer, however. Where Marchetto strictly identifies who has command over the other, Jerome of Moravia offers to instruct the cantors in the knowledge of music so that they will become masters of the art, though perhaps not a musicus. Upon warning his readers that ignorance of music has been equated to being like a beast, Jerome’s Tractatus de musica approaches the subject more gently by uniformly bringing the speculative, practical and creative aspects of music together for instruction.18 The purpose of his treatise was not only to impart knowledge for the sake of knowledge, but also to offer a practical guide that would be helpful to his readers, likely singers. The mission for writing this treatise for his fellow Dominicans was simple: ‘in order that cantors know what comprises music and in order that they always proceed in melodies correctly’.19 English authors were aware of the distinction between musicus and cantor through older texts and through references in their new treatises. The author of Quatuor principalia, written sometime before 1351, dedicated an entire chapter to refining the distinction of musicians based on a hybrid of texts from Boethius, Guido and Lambertus.20 Unlike Marchetto, but in a similar manner to Jerome, the author of Quatuor principalia understood that singers can, and therefore must, learn the properties of music. These included the capability to identify consonance and rhythmic measure, in addition to knowledge of the power of music. Humility and patience are called for by the author, the musicus, who in the following portions of the treatise enlightens the cantor in the art of music.21 Evidently, there was some discrepancy between practice and theory. In all mentions of cantores above, it is impossible to gain an impression that singers were somehow good artists. They were described as beasts and considered the lesser servant of the musicus. In such a negative light, the superiority of English singers – in both competency and innovation, as described by Anonymous IV and Johannes Boen – must have surprised theorists. Otherwise, it is difficult to believe that the cantores would have been singled out in the poem, especially following the most authoritative canon of musicus. If English singers were exceptional in comparison to singers from other regions, and these observations were made by the musicus who knew the definition of a true singer, then could it be that English singers were unique among others in their knowledge? 18

Laura Weber, ‘Intellectual Currents in Thirteenth Century Paris: A Translation and Commentary on Jerome of Moravia’s Tractatus de musica’, PhD Diss., Yale University, 2009, p.41. 19 ‘Igitur scire cantores quid componit musica et eos in melodiis semper per artem recte incedere cupientes ad honorem Domini nostri Jesu Christi et gloriosissimae Virginis Mariae, matris ejus et beati Dominici praesentem summulam ex diversis majorum nostrorum dictis diligenti studio compilavimus.’ Ibid., pp.84–5. 20 Quatuor principalia, chap.9, First Fundamental; Luminita Aluas, ‘The Quatuor principalia musicae: A Critical Edition and Translation, with Introduction and Commentary’, PhD Diss., Indiana University, 1996, pp.540–1. 21 Ibid., p.540.



Grafting Oneself into the Origins of Music 53

A Creative Myth It is tempting to place this poem’s positive outlook onto English singers and disregard the context into which the statement is placed. In reality, the origin of music in De origine et effectu musicae contains a number of small anomalies and interpretative aspects to the legend of music’s origin which do not add up to the fully knowledgeable musician referred to by other theorists. This led Gilbert Reaney to describe the anonymous treatise as an essential source for an understanding of musical practice and historical knowledge in fourteenth-century England.22 Before the poem tells the story of the origin of music, the origin myth is first recounted in chapter 5 of De origine et effectu musicae, presented below in Table 3.3. In chapter 4 of this volume, Jason Stoessel offers an extensive survey of the tradition of the Tubal/Jubal narrative commonly narrated by theorists interested in discovering the origin of music in a Christian context. Based on Tubal’s status as the father of all who played stringed instruments and organs in Genesis 4, Stoessel contextualises the story as it relates to Italian treatises. Evidently, a similar tradition was also prominent in England. Slightly different versions of the origin myth can be found in the two English manuscripts. The opening of the legend as it is recounted in the Lansdowne manuscript begins with the principal protagonists for music’s origins as Tubal and Pythagoras, while the version in the Bodleian manuscript places the story of Pythagoras in the middle of the poem and includes the connection of music to the words ‘Moses’, ‘water’ and ‘sermon’, perhaps in connection to Noah’s flood. Both sources seem to repeat a popular version of the origin narrative compiled by Johannes Aegidius (between 1296 and 1304),23 whose placement of Tubal as the father of music can be found in other treatises in the fourteenth century, including those by Walter of Evesham Abbey, Jacobus de Liège, Johannes Boen and Jehan de Murs.24 In his Ars musica, Aegidius wrote that it was not Pythagoras who had originally discovered music, as had been narrated in previous legends. Instead, he refers to the divine authority of Scripture to confirm that Tubal was the father of music because he played the cithara and organ, and also discovered the pleasures of proportions and consonances to alleviate the burdens of shepherding. Aegidius corrects the famous myth:

22

Reaney, ‘The Anonymous Treatise’, p.108. Johannes Aegidius de Zamora, Ars musica, ed. Michael Robert-Tissot, Corpus scriptorum de musica 20 ([Rome], 1974), pp.12–13. 24 James W. McKinnon, ‘Jubal vel Pythagoras, quis sit inventor musicae?’ The Musical Quarterly 64 (1978), 1–28 (3). Tubal is also noted as the inventor of the science by Walter of Evesham (Walteri Odington, Summa de speculatione musicae, ed. Frederick F. Hammond, Corpus scriptorum de musica 14 ([Rome], 1970), p.61), while Johannes Boen in Ars (musicae) connects the story of Tubal to the book of Genesis, uniquely including a nod of recognition to King David as the calmer of the soul (Ars (musicae), ed. F. Alberto Gallo, Corpus scriptorum de musica 19 ([Rome], 1972, p.30). 23

Chapter 5

Capitulum 5

Chapter 5

‘De origine et effectu musicae,’ Bodleian Library, Oxford: Bodley 515, fol.89r

5 After the flood of Noah was fulfilled. The authority king Syrus, who was king of Assyria, Enchiridias, Constantine, and many others whose names I forget, laboured for the fulfilment in this knowledge.

5 If indeed the world would be destroyed by 5 Postquam diluvium Noe fuerat water, as through Noah’s flood, the bronze perimpletum, isti autores rex Syrus, column would remain. qui fuit rex Assiriorum, Enchiridias, Constantinus, et multi alii quorum nomina ignoro, laboraverunt in illa scientia adimplenda.

5 Si vero per aquam, columna aenea permaneret donec diluvium Noe perimpletum fuisset

3 On both columns wrote the one and only art of music, that is plain chant. If the world be demolished through fire, the brick would endure, for brick cannot be burned. 4 If [the world would be destroyed] through water, the bronze column would remain until the flood of Noah is fulfilled.

3 Et in ambabus scripsit artem musicalem aequiformem, id est planum cantum, ut si destrueretur mundus per ignem, columpna laterea permaneret, quia later non potest cremari.

4 Et in ambabus scripsit artem musicalem 4 On both columns he wrote the one and 4 Si vero per aquam, columpna aenea aequiformem, id est planum cantum, ut si only art of music, that is plain chant, so permaneret. destrueretur mundus per ignem, columna that if the world might perish through fire, latera permaneret, quia later non potest the brick would endure, for brick cannot cremari. be burned.

3 Quod cum Tubal audivit et scivit quod 3 Since Tubal heard and knew that God wished to put the world to the test, he deus voluit mundum periclitari, fecit duas built two columns, one of bronze, the columnas, scilicet unam aeneam, alteram lateram. other of brick.

1 Erat Tubal nomine quidam faber, qui 1 There was a blacksmith named Tubal, 1 Primo Moyses, quod dicitur a moys quod 1 Foremost Moses, which is called from per pondera trium malleorum super who striking an anvil through the weight est aqua, et icos quod est sermo. Moys that is water, and icos which is unam incudem percutiens, consonantias of three hammers, set harmonies in order. sermon.* ordinavit. 2 And before the flood of Noah, Jubal knew 2 Pythagoras, upon hearing this sound and 2 Et ante diluvium Noe, Jubal scivit quod 2 Audiens autem Pictagoras illum from God that the universe was in danger, entering the house of the blacksmith, built deus voluit mundum periclitari, fecit sonum, domum ingrediens fabri, fecit he built two columns, one of bronze, the duas columnas, unam aeneam, alteram proportionaliter quartum malleum qui in proportion a fourth hammer which by lateream. other of brick. adinvicem sonum mirabilem reddiderunt. turn [they] restored wonderful sound.

Capitulum 5

‘De origine et effectu musicae,’ British Library, London: Lansdowne MS 763, fol.56v

Table 3.3  Comparison of Passages on the Origin of Music in De origine et effectu musicae

8 (Of measureable music) 9 There was blacksmith named Tubal, who through the weight of three hammers which struck one anvil, regulated consonance.

8 (De musica mensurabili) 9 Erat quidem faber nomine Tubal, qui per pondera trium malleorum super unam incudem percutiens, consonantias ordinavit.

10 Audiens Pictagoras illum sonum, 10 Pythagoras upon hearing this sound, ingrediens illam domum fabri, fecit entered the house of the blacksmith. He proportionaliter quartum malleum built four hammers of equal weight to qui adinvicem sonum mirabilem bring order to the miracles of sound. reddiderunt. 11 Then Saint Augustine and Saint Gregory, 11 Postea vero Boetius, Presianus, Omerus, 11 Afterwards Boethius, Presianus, Omerus, Franco, Guido de Sancto Mauro, and who for the first time established uniform Franco, Guido de Sancto Mauro, et alii other authorities of whose names I forget, song in the whole church. auctores quorum nomina ignoro, in anxiously labour diversely in the practice illam artem practicam usque hodiernum diem secundum diversos colores sollicite of this art until this very day. laboraverunt. 12 After them, Isidore of the Etymologies and Johannes de Muris, who discussed the description of measureable song and rules of figures.

10 Then Philippe de Vitry, who composed that style called minor prolation in Navarre.

8 Then Guido of Sancto Mauro, and after them Guido Major and Guido Junior. 9 After them master Franco, who on mensural song established certain principles of figures, of alteration, of perfection, and of imperfection.

*  For more on the myth about moys, see: Noel Swerdlow, ‘Musica dicitur a moys, quod est aqua,’ Journal of the American Musicological Society 20 (1967), pp.3–9.

12 Post quos Ysidorus Ethimologiarum et Johannes de Muris, qui de cantu mensurabili et figuratione regulas descripsit dissertas.

11 Deinde sanctus Augustinus et sanctus Gregorius, qui cantum aequiformem in universali ecclesia primitus instituerunt.

8 Deinde Guido de Sancto Mauro, et post hos Guido maior et Guido iunior. 9 Post hos vero magister Franco, qui in cantu mensurabili figurarum, alterationum, perfectionum et imperfectionum principiorum certitudinem imposuit. 10 Tunc Philippus de Vitriaco, qui composuit illam figuram vocitatam minima prolatio in Navarina.

6 After the flood, King Cyrus, who was 6 Postea vero Gregorius in illa scientia 6 Afterwards Gregory laboured greatly in 6 Post diluvium Rex Cyrus, qui fuit the king of Assyria, and Encheridias and maxime laboravit, cuius gesta in universali this knowledge, whose work is contained rex Assiriorum, et Encheridias et Constantinus, et post hos Boitius autem Constantine, and after them Boethius, ecclesia continentur. in the whole church. also, demonstrated concordance with incipiens cum numerorum proportione concordantias demonstravit, ut in musica numerical proportion, so that in his music sua inuenti patet. the discovery lay accessible. 7 Postea vero Isidorus Ethimologiarum, et 7 Afterwards Isidore the Etymologist, et 7 Deinde Guydo monacus, qui compositor 7 Then Guido the monk, who was the creator of the instrument that is called caetera. cetera. erat grammatis quod monocordum dicitur, voces in lineis et spatiis dividebat, the monochord, divided voices on lines and spaces, which is the beginning of this quod initium est huius libri. book.

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Assuming from what was previously said, that the philosopher Pythagoras with his lively ingenuity did discover something of this art, he was nevertheless not its first discoverer or author. As we have it from the divinely inspired Chronicles of Hebraic truth, in the fourth chapter of Genesis, and from the gloss on the passage above, and from Rhabanus, and from Josephus the historiographer extraordinaire, and from Scholastic Histories, Tubal the son of Lamech by his wife Ada, was the father of those who play upon the cithara and organ.25

In the amended narrative, Aegidius adds further context to the legend by noting that Tubal knew of two perils, a flood and a fire, which would eventually destroy the world, though he was not aware through which God would act. In order to prevent the loss of music, Tubal made arrangements to preserve music by inscribing it onto two columns, one on marble, the other on brick. These specific materials were a logical choice by Tubal, according to the myth: an inscription on marble would withstand the flood as marble cannot be destroyed by water, while music written on the brick would be preserved through fire, for brick cannot be destroyed by fire.26 In De origine et effectu musicae, however, Aegidius’s myth is recounted with slight alterations. Whereas Aegidius clearly wished to separate myth from truth through the authority of Scripture by positioning Tubal above Pythagoras, the author of De origine et effectu musicae alters the tale to position Pythagoras as a contemporary of Tubal, returning Pythagoras as an equal in the legend. In the altered tale, the materials used to preserve music through worldly perils are different. In place of a marble column in Aegidius’s account, the column in De origine et effectu musicae is bronze. Moreover, Tubal is the blacksmith whom Pythagoras heard when he distinguished harmonious sounds (though conflation of the individuals results from Tubal’s complex family structure recounted in Genesis 4:22, since the blacksmith referred to by the author of De origine et effectu musicae is likely Tubal’s half-brother, Tubalcain, their father Lemach’s third son through his second wife Zillah, who was ‘an instructor of every artificer in brass and iron’).27 This version of the myth was based on Petrus Comestor’s Historia Scholastica from c.1170, in which the two narratives are recorded conflated:28 25

‘Sed supposito ex praedictis, quod Pythagoras philosophus vivaci suo ingenio aliquid invenerit huius artis, attamen non fuit huius artis inventor primarius sive auctor. Sicut enim habetur ex Chronicis divinitus inspiratis per Hebraicam veritatem, Genesis IV capitulo, et ex Glossa super eumdem locum, et ex Rabano, et ex Josepho historiographorum eximio, et ex Historiis Scholastics, Tubal, filius Lamech ex Ada uxore sua, pater fuit canentium in cithara et organo.’ Aegidius de Zamorensis, Ars musica, p. 36; translation adapted from McKinnon, ‘Jubal vel Pythagoras’, pp.3–4. 26 According to Josephus, the marble column was afterwards discovered in Syria. McKinnon, ‘Jubal vel Pythagoras’, p.4. 27 Paul E. Beichner, The Medieval Representative of Music, Jubal or Tubalcain?, Texts and Studies in the History of Mediaeval Education 2 (Notre Dame, 1954), p.7. 28 Though widely accepted as a seminal text in the universities of its time, Peter Comestor’s Historia Scholastica has received relatively little attention in modern scholarship. A recent evaluation of the making and immediate reception of this text is Mark J. Clark, The Making of the Historia scholastica, 1150–1200 (Toronto, 2015).



Grafting Oneself into the Origins of Music 57

The name of his [ Jabel’s] brother was Tubal, the father of players on the harp and the organ. He was the inventor of music, that is, of harmonies, so that pastoral labour might be turned into delights, but not indeed of instruments which were invented long afterwards. And because he heard that Adam had prophesied about two judgments, lest the art invented be lost, he wrote it on two columns, on each complete, one of marble, the other of brick, that the one might not be destroyed by the fire. Sella begot Tubalcain, who first invented the art of iron, prudently exercised things of war, and made works of sculpture in metals for the delight of the eyes. While he was making these things, the above mentioned, pleased with the sound of the metals, from their weights thought out their proportions [intervals] and their harmonies which were born of them, which discovery the Greeks erroneously attribute to Pythagoras.29

In a time when Aegidius’s version had taken over as the common and accepted narrative by many music theorists, the specific reference to Comestor’s Historia Scholastica is quite striking.30 To my knowledge, Comestor is not cited by music theorists until the end of the fifteenth century when Franchinus Gaffurius brings the narrative back in 1492. A reference can also be found in the Welsh ‘Val ir ordeinied kerdd dant’ (how cerdd dant was ordained) from c.1562–4, but does not appear anywhere else at the time De origine et effectu musicae was written in England.31 In addition to the unusual source for the origin myth, commonly known authorities of music theory are either misremembered or incorrectly connected. Collectively, the list of authorities in the Lansdowne manuscript is impressive. Yet the haphazard chronology suggests the author may have been writing down the names of the auctoritas only as they came to mind rather than in a systematic order. 29

‘Nomen fratris eius Iubal, pater canentium in cithara et organo. Non instrumentorum quidem que longe post inventa fuerunt, sed invenitor fuit musice, id est consonantiarum, ut labor pastoralis quasi in deliciis verteretur. Et quia audierat Adam prophetasse de duobus iudiciis, ne periret ars inventa, scripsit eam in duabus columnis, in qualibet totam una marmorea, altera latericia, quarum altera non dilveretur dilvuio, altera non solveretur incendio. Sella genuit Tubalcain, qui ferrariam artem primus invenit, res bellicas decenter exercuit, sculpturas operum in metallis in libidinem oculorum fabricavit. Quo fabricante Iubal, de quo dictum est sono malleorum delectatus ex ponderibus eorum proportiones et consonantias eorum que eis nascuntur ecogitavit. Quam inventionem Greci Pitagore attribuunt fabulose, sicut et ex opere fruticum excogitavit operari in metallis.’ Latin edition: Petri Comestoris, Scolastica Historia. Liber Genesis, ed. Agneta Sylwan, Corpus Christianorum. Continuatio Mediaevalis 191 (Turnhout, 2005), pp.54–5. Translation based on Paul E. Beichner, The Medieval Representative of Music, pp.10–11. 30 One of the few modern connections made between the myth given in De origine et effectu musicae and the Historia scholastica by Peter Comestor is by Kees Verduin on his personal website ‘A la recherche de GIIOHARGIIIVS’, which seeks to find the mythical connections of the Pythagoras/Tubal tales. https://leidenuniv.nl/fsw/verduin/ ghio/ghio.htm. Accessed 9/2/2018. 31 The Welsh version of this myth can be found in Gwysaney 28, fols.50r–60r: see Sally Harper, Music in Welsh Culture before 1650: A Study of the Principal Sources (Aldershot, 2007), pp.113–16.

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St Augustine and St Gregory are mentioned after Philippe de Vitry, while Isidore shares a place with Jehan de Murs. Additionally, ‘Enchiriadis’ is thought to be an individual rather than the title of a treatise. In the Bodleian manuscript, the scribe actually declares his ignorance of authorities twice. From what can be gathered through quotations in other medieval treatises, it is unusual for an author of a music treatise not to be able to distinguish between authorities and what they wrote. A variant of the type found in De origine et effectu musicae is quite rare. This distinct lack of accuracy in the Bodleian manuscript led Brian Trowell to suggest that the version presented in the Lansdowne manuscript was a later attempt to clean up what had been inaccurately transmitted.32 Gilbert Reaney suggested that these errors were made by a student, perhaps in the process of taking notes in a classroom.33 Reaney’s suggestion of student authorship is likely and more readily consistent with the identification of the poem’s source as coming from Peter Comestor, rather than directly from Aegedius as in the case of other theorists of the time. The Historia scholastica is known to have been a popular text among students at the early universities and therefore familiar to that scholarly community. In fourteenth-century England, Comestor’s text also appears more consistently among literary circles than in music treatises, including a reference by Ranulph Higden in his Polychronicon.34 For the sixteenth-century Welsh reference in ‘Val ir ordeinied kerdd dant’, Sally Harper assumes that ‘the text almost certainly came second-hand from the vast medieval chronicle of world history known as the Polychronicon, compiled by the Benedictine monk of Chester, Ranulph Higden [who died in 1364]’.35 A reference to the Tubal narrative in the late fourteenth or early fifteenth century, when De origine et effectu musicae is thought to have been written, may indicate an author interested in, but not an expert of, music theory. This would also explain why, although having heard of the great authors and works of music theorists, the author of De origine et effectu musicae was not able to recall them properly. He was likely not a musicus himself.

Conclusion Every musicus knew the protagonists in the myths and legends of music. Not every singer, however, seems to have been familiar with how, or within what order, each authority was known. Was the author also a singer, perhaps finding a way to bring the mythical tales together to prove England’s greatest ability? Perhaps the igno 32

It has been suggested by Brian Trowell that this Bodley 515 manuscript is an earlier copy and that the Lansdowne manuscript was written to clarify what the scribe of Bodley 515 missed. Brian Trowell, ‘Faburden–New Sources, New Evidence: A Preliminary Survey’, Modern Musical Scholarship, ed. Edward Olleson (London, 1980), pp.28–78 (58). 33 Reaney, ‘The Anonymous Treatise’, pp.101–2. 34 Beichner points out, for example, that in the Polychronicon by Ranulf Higden from 1387, Higden cites Peter Comestor. Beichner, The Medieval Representative of Music, p.14. 35 Harper, Music in Welsh Culture Before 1650, p.116.



Grafting Oneself into the Origins of Music 59

rance displayed in the recitation of the poem could be associated to the stereotypical perception and widely accepted medieval description of a cantor. The fifth chapter of De origine et effectu musicae may be an example of a singer recounting what he had learned through a musicus, conceivably in the way that Jerome of Moravia instructed his Dominican singers. Whoever was responsible for the two poems in De origine et effectu musicae dutifully included Tubal, Pythagoras, Boethius, Guido, Gregory, Augustine and Isidore in his treatise in an appallingly haphazard way. If the author were a singer, the lack of competency would verify why cantores were there to sing the music, but not to recount its history. For this author writing in England, myth, fact and history seem to have merged together, perhaps because none of these individuals were from, or in any way connected directly to, England. The only way to know about them was through studying texts that the English had incorporated into their own musical tradition. By adding a final stanza about English singers into the poem, and integrating their best-known quality into the story, the author seems to imply that, at least in his opinion, England held a prominent and worthy place among the authorities who are scattered throughout the history of music. The mixed messages incorporated into the mythical origins of music in De origine et effectu musicae offer a new glimpse into how legends became a part of a musician’s own identity in late medieval England.

ii iconologies of music and myth

4

The Harmonious Blacksmith, Lady Music and Minerva: The Iconography of Secular Song in the Late Middle Ages Jason Stoessel

T

owards the end of Imperial Rome’s dominion of North Africa, Martianus Capella penned his encyclopedic De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii (‘On the Marriage of Philology and Mercury’).1 The spectacle of Harmony’s entrance in the last book surpasses that of all other Liberal Arts.2 A train of minor deities, three musically inclined demigods (Pan, Silvanus and Faunus) and three legendary musicians (Orpheus, Amphion and Arion) precede her. Harmony enters, clad in gold, flanked by Phoebus Apollo and Minerva, and trailed by her mother Venus. She carries a shield decorated with concentric circles, attuned to one another and pouring forth a concord of all the modes.3 Her shield symbolises celestial harmony or the harmony of the spheres.4 Finishing a paean to the gods, Harmony complains that she has been forbidden to give an exposition of her art even among the stars when the heavens produce a harmony concordant with ‘the gamut of all proportions’. Yet, she goes on, she is the twin sister of the heavens, the shaper of human intelligence and character, and used by the Pythagoreans to assuage men’s ferocity. She invented musical instruments for humanity, was responsible for the song by which men praised the gods, and placated the underworld deities through ‘mournful song’. Her songs were used for military purposes, in times of peace, and – in a reference to Orphic lore – even to bend animals to human will. All mundane natural and manufactured things mirror the same celestial order that is Harmony, and Harmony is responsible for placating the gods and moving both humans and animals. 1

See John MacInnis’s chapter 1 in this volume. Martianus Capella, Martianus Capella, ed. James Willis (Leipzig, 1983), pp.337–89; William Harris Stahl, Richard Johnson and E.L. Burge, Martianus Capella and the Seven Liberal Arts: The Marriage of Philology and Mercury, 2 vols (New York, 1971, 1977), vol.2, pp.345–82. 3 Stahl et al., Martianus Capella, vol.2, pp.351–3. 4 Compare Macrobius’s commentary on Book V of Cicero’s Dream of Scipio (from the last book of the latter’s De re publica), Commentary on the Dream of Scipio, Book II, chaps 1–4; Ambrosius Aurelius Theodosius Macrobius, Commentaire au Songe de Scipion, ed. Mireille Armisen-Marchetti, 2 vols (Paris, 2001–3), vol.2, pp.1–3; translation: Ambrosius Aurelius Theodosius Macrobius, Commentary on the Dream of Scipio, trans. William Harris Stahl (New York, 1990), pp.72–4 (Cicero), pp.185–200 (Macrobius’s commentary). 2

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Martianus’s De nuptiis exercised a profound influence directly and indirectly on subsequent authors and traditions.5 The author’s vision of Harmony as a formidable young woman would be transformed iconographically into her equivalent, Musica (or Lady Music), in the following ages. To distinguish the more general understanding of music prevalent today from that of Antiquity, the Middle Ages and even the early modern period, I will use musica to refer to the often cosmologically bound idea of music in the Middle Ages and Musica for its allegorical representation. The two allegories – one literary, the other pictorial – that frame this essay encompass the rich mythical iconography of music in the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance. The subject of the final part of this essay, the early sixteenth-­ century Allegory of Music by Dosso Dossi (Giovanni de Lutero), marks a culmination and complication of this tradition whereby an iconographical polysemy was unleashed upon the courtiers of Este-ruled Ferrara. My journey from literary to pictorial imagery, from iconology to iconography (and back again), first outlines the enmeshing of Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian traditions of musical lore and imagery in the high and late Middle Ages. Although, as its Greek inventor, Pythagoras was regularly associated with Neoplatonic musica/Musica, a biblically related iconology emerged in the twelfth century that had a lasting influence on the iconography of music in the following centuries, especially in the pictorial arts of Italy from the mid-fourteenth century. The biblical figure of Tubalcain became synonymous with harmonic and rhythmic music. At first Tubalcain was associated with Musica, and then he assumed a life of his own in several songbooks decorated in fifteenth-century Italy. The iconology of Musica and her blacksmith also served as a model for artists decorating the life of Minerva in French translations of Giovanni Boccaccio’s De mulieribus claris. This blurring of boundaries finds precedents in the iconology of medieval authors from Isidore of Seville to Dante Alighieri, who drew comparisons between the making of song and the carding/weaving of wool. In iconographical if not iconological terms, Minerva, as the mythical inventor of numbers, metalwork and weaving, permeated the allegorical sphere of Musica through the shared symbology of the blacksmith and the weavers. Admitting Minerva into the musical iconography of the fifteenth century offers an opportunity to reconsider Dossi’s Allegory of Music, not strictly in terms of imposing yet another reading, but supplementing existing interpretations to emphasise this artwork’s iconographical polyvalence, rather than reasserting its ambivalence.

5

Calvin M. Bower, ‘The Transmission of Ancient Music Theory into the Middle Ages’, The Cambridge History of Western Music Theory, ed. Thomas Christensen (Cambridge, 2002), pp.136–67; Nancy Phillips, ‘Classical and Late Latin Sources for Ninth-­Century Treatises on Music’, Music Theory and Its Sources: Antiquity and the Middle Ages, ed. André Barbera (Notre Dame, IN, 1990), pp.100–35 (132–3); Mariken Teeuwen, ‘Seduced by Pagan Poets and Philosophers: Suspicious Learning in the Early Middle Ages’, Limits to Learning: The Transfer of Encyclopedic Knowledge in the Early Middle Ages, ed. Concetta Giliberto and Loredana Teresi (Leuven, 2013), pp.33–59.



The Iconography of Secular Song in the Late Middle Ages 65

Music’s Iconology: Allegory, Symbol and Myth The iconography of the seven Liberal Arts as young women in the plastic and pictorial arts from the twelfth century onwards has been studied extensively,6 so only a brief summary of relevant Italian and some French models is required. In fourteenth-century Italian frescoes, each Liberal Art is shown carrying or in close proximity to the various identifying iconographical accoutrements. When shown together, as in Andrea di Bonaiuto’s Triumph of Saint Thomas Aquinas in the Spanish Chapel of Santa Maria Novella, Florence (see Plate I), they are ranked according to a lopsided two-fold division. Usually grouped together, the trivium – the arts of language – contains grammar, logic (or dialectic) and rhetoric. The quadrivium – the arts of number – consists of arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy. In the plastic arts, the feminine personifications of the Liberal Arts are often shown standing. Almost without exception, they are seated in pictorial artworks, especially when paired with the so-called inventors of their art. Compared to their late antique and early medieval iconology, the arrangement of the Liberal Arts varied in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, as shown by selected examples in Table 4.1. Mid-fourteenth-century Italian allegories of the Liberal Arts witnessed a further iconographical development in which male figures – traditionally associated with the practice or invention of each field of knowledge – were shown in front of or below the feminine Liberal Arts (see Table 4.2). Although the Royal Portal of Chartres cathedral may provide a twelfth-century precedent, a conventional cycle of Liberal Arts,7 often in close association with the Virtues, seems to have been firmly established in Bologna and Florence by c.1350.8 Andrea di Bartolo da Bologna drew a series of illustrations of each Liberal Art with her inventor for Bartolomeo di Bartoli’s Canzone delle Virtù e delle Scienze, dedicated to Bruzio Visconti around 1349.9 Nicolò di Giacomo da Bologna depicted a scene show 6

Julius von Schlosser, ‘Giusto’s Fresken in Padua und die Vorläufer der Stanza della Segnatura’, Jahrbuch der Kunsthistorischen Sammlungen des Allerhöchsten Kaiserhauses 17 (1896), 13–100; Paolo D’Ancona, ‘Le rappresentazioni allegoriche delle arti liberali nel medio evo e nel Rinascimento’, L’Arte: rivista di storia dell’arte medievale e moderna 5 (1902), 137–56, 211–28, 269–89, 370–85; Adolf Katzenellenbogen, ‘The Representation of the Liberal Arts’, Twelfth Century Europe and the Foundations of the Modern Society: Proceedings of Symposium Sponsored by the Division of Humanities of the University of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Institute for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, November 12–14, 1957, ed. Marshall Clagett, Gaines Post and Robert Reynolds (Madison, 1961), pp.39–55; Felton Gibbons, Dosso and Battista Dossi, Court Painters at Ferrara (Princeton, 1968), pp.93–4; Philippe Verdier, ‘L’iconographie des arts libéraux dans l’art du moyen-âge jusqu’à la fin du quinzième siècle’, Arts libéraux et philosophie au moyen-âge (Montréal, 1969), pp.305–55. 7 Katzenellenbogen, ‘The Representation of the Liberal Arts’, pp.39–40. 8 Luigi Coletti, ‘Un affresco, due miniature e tre problemi’, L’Arte: Revista bimestrale di storia dell’arte medivale et moderna 37 (1934), 101–22. 9 Chantilly, Bibliothèque du Château: MS. 599 (XXC (1) 6); see Howard Mayer Brown, ‘St Augustine, Lady Music, and the Gittern in Fourteenth-Century Italy,’ Musica Disciplina 38 (1984), 25–65 (31–43); Donatella Melini, ‘Musical Iconography in the Visconti Codices’, Music in Art 37 (2012), 45–56 (46–8).

Grammar Grammar

Cassiodorus (6th century)

Isidore (7th century)

Rhetoric

Rhetoric

Logic Logic

Logic

Rhetoric b

Arithmetic

Arithmetic

Geometry Geometry

Musica

b

Arithmetic

Musica

Geometry Arithmetic

Giovanni di Ser Giovanni Guidi (c. 1460)

Astronomy

Astrology

Musica

Arithmetic

Rhetoric

Logic

Grammar

Geometry

Grammar

Rhetoric

Rhetoric

Musica

Musica

Geometry

b

Astronomy

Musica

Grammar

Logic

Astrology

Astronomy

Astronomyb

Musica

b

Boethius, De arithmetica presents the Quadrivium in the same order as Cassiodorus

a After Calvin M. Bower, ‘The Transmission of Ancient Music Theory into the Middle Ages,’ The Cambridge History of Western Music Theory, ed. Thomas Christensen (Cambridge, 2002), pp.136-67 (p.139).

Geometry

Astronomy

Geometry

Logic

Rhetoric

Logic

Nicolò da Bologna, Madrid Commentario (c.1350) and Grammar Milan Novella (1354) Andrea di Bonaiuto da Firenze, Spanish Chapel, Santa Arithmetic Maria Novella (1366-7) Pesellino workshop (c.1450) Arithmetic

Selected 14th- and 15th-century artworks showing Liberal Arts and their representatives (left to right)

Grammar

Varro/Martianus (1st/5th centuries)

Literary sources (first to last)a

Table 4.1  The Ordering of the Liberal Arts

The Iconography of Secular Song in the Late Middle Ages 67



ing the Liberal Arts and their inventors twice: in the Madrid copy of Bartolo di Sassoferrato’s Commentario on the Justinian Legal Code (signed and dated 1354 by Nicolò); and in the Milan autograph of Giovanni d’Andrea’s Novelle on the Decretals.10 Andrea di Bonaiuto’s Triumph of Saint Aquinas (1366–7) draws upon the same mid-century model. Relevant aspects of this convention were already known in mid-Trecento Florence based upon the approximate dating of the Viennese copy of Corvenevole of Prato’s panegyric for King Robert of Naples, which contains a cycle of illuminations in which the Virtues and Liberal Arts appear with their human representatives or inventors.11 At the same time that Andrea di Bonaiuto was painting his masterpiece in Florence, another Florentine painter, Giusto de’ Menabuoi, was completing his Liberal Arts cycle along the same lines in the Cortellieri chapel in the Church of the Eremitani in Padua. Although Menabuoi’s allegory was aggressively reworked in the seventeenth century and destroyed by Allied bombing in 1944, Paduan student and musician Hartmann Schedel of Nuremberg left a description that affirms this cycle’s connections to the earlier Italian tradition.12 All these examples situated Musica and her inventor within a larger schema consisting of a textual or visual allegory for moral education and the liberal arts. Howard Mayer Brown has shown that this multi-layer system of symbols and metaphors extols the intellectual and spiritual triumph of St Augustine, or is transferred to St Thomas Aquinas, in the case of the Spanish Chapel in Santa Maria Novella, Florence.13 From the fourteenth century, Musica was often shown holding a musical instrument – a portative organ, psaltery or lute – although the funerary monument of Table 4.2  The Pairing of the Liberal Arts with their Inventors Liberal Art

Grammar

Logic

Inventor

Priscian

Aristotle Cicero

10

Rhetoric

Arithmetic (Abacus)

Geometry

Musica

Astronomy

Pythagoras

Euclid

Tubalcain/ Tubal

Ptolemy

Respectively, Madrid, Biblioteca Nazionale: MS. B.2 and Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana: MS. B. 42; see Brown, ‘St Augustine, Lady Music, and the Gittern,’ pp.35–6; Federica Toniolo, ‘L’immagine di Tubalcain-Iubal e le iniziali a nastro del codice musicale estense’, The Manuscript Modena, Biblioteca Estense, α.M.5.24: Commentary, ed. Anne Stone (Lucca, 2005), pp.155–71 (pp.158–9); Milvia Bollati, ‘1. Niccolò di Giacomo (Bologna, documentato dal 1353 al 1401) e Stefano di Alberto Azzi (Bologna, documentato dal 1354 al 1402): Giovanni d’Andrea, Novella in libros Decretalium. Milano, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, ms. B. 42 inf ’, I corali di San Giacomo Maggiore: Miniatori e committenti a Bologna nel Trecento, ed. Giancarlo Benevolo and Massimo Medica (Ferrara, 2003), pp.181–6, illus. p.183. 11 Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek: Cod. S. n. 2639; see Schlosser, ‘Giusto’s Fresken in Padua’, pp.19–22. 12 Edition in Schlosser, ‘Giusto’s Fresken in Padua’, pp.91–4. 13 The following reading is informed by Ricouer’s theory that symbols extend supra-linguistically beyond their obvious metaphors; Paul Ricoeur, Interpretation Theory: Discourse and the Surplus of Meaning (Forth Worth, TX, 1976), p.55.

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King Robert of Naples shows her with a music roll. Although the model of Musica playing a lute provided a long-lasting precedent in the case of Nicolò da Bologna, after the mid-fourteenth century and well into the sixteenth century, the portative organ was Musica’s frequently employed symbol, first in those Liberal Arts series discussed above, and then independently. The fourteenth-century Florentine archetype of Musica playing an organ was repeated in the well-known Naples De musica of Boethius, copied early in the reign of Queen Joanna of Naples.14 Musicians playing an assortment of instruments surround her. Later the Coëtivy Master provided Musica with a sheet or roll of music notation (see Plate 4.1), but she still plays a tiny portative organ in Botticelli’s Philosophy Presenting Lorenzo Tornabuoni(?) to the Seven Liberal Arts (see Plate 4.2). Musica assumed a life of her own outside cycles like those discussed above. Tilman Seebass identifies several twelfth- and thirteenth-century manuscript illustrations or illuminations that show Musica playing a harp, monochord or bells.15 To the last category can be added an example from the British Library (see Plate 4.2) in which Musica plays various bells and is joined by three other instrumentalists. At other times, as in the famous frontispiece to the Florence Magnus Liber Organi, Musica does not hold any accoutrements, but was associated with symbols for the three different types of music in Pythagorean-Platonic cosmology – musica mundana, musica humana and musica instrumentalis.16 To these examples might be added those from the Codex Manesse.17 The cross-fertilisation of Musica’s iconography spilt over into musicians’ portraits and tombstones of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, especially miniatures found in the Squarcialupi Codex, and the tombstones of blind organist-composers Francesco Landini and Conrad Paumann. Tilman Seebass concluded that these representations embodied ideals of late medieval musicianship.18 Michael Long took this further by arguing that the creator of Landini’s portrait in the Squarcialupi Codex – and I would infer his tombstone – cast the composer in the image of Musica, in contrast to the Davidic iconography permeating Lorenzo Masini’s portrait in the same manuscripts.19 The appropriation of Musica’s iconology was by no means limited to Landini: two other organists, Andrea da Firenze (fol.183v) and Giovanni Mazzuoli (fol.195v), are portrayed in a similar manner in the same deluxe

14

Naples, Nazionale Vittorio Emanuele III: MS. V.A.14, fol.47v. Tilman Seebass, ‘Lady Music and Her Proteges from Musical Allegory to Musicians’ Portraits’, Musica Disciplina 42 (1988), 23–61. 16 Ibid., pp.29–30. 17 Recently discussed in Marc Lewon, ‘Meister Heinrich Frauenlob und Frau Musica: Eine neue Deutung de Frauenlob-Miniatur im “Codex Manesse”’, Sangspruchdichtung um 1300: Akten der Tagung in Basel vom 7. bis. 9 November 2013, ed. Gert Hübner and Dorothea Klein (Hildesheim, 2015), pp.293–306. 18 Seebass, ‘Lady Music’, pp.39–41; Kurt von Fischer, ‘“Portraits” von Piero, Giovanni da Firenze und Jacopo da Bologna in Einer Bologneser-Handschrift des 14. Jahrhunderts?’ Musica Disciplina 27 (1973), 61–4 and unnumbered plates. 19 Michael Long, ‘Singing through the Looking Glass: Child’s Play and Learning in Medieval Italy’, Journal of the American Musicological Society 61 (2008), 253–306 (268). 15

Plate 4.1  Coëtivy Master (Henri de Vulcop?), Philosophy Presenting the Seven Liberal Arts to Boethius. Los Angeles, J. Paul Getty Museum: MS. 42, fol.2v. Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program

Plate 4.2  Musica shown in an Initial from a Copy of Boethius’s De musica. London, British Library: Burney 275, fol.359v. Image by the British Library. Public domain

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manuscript.20 Landini’s portrait has an additional poignancy. It accompanies his Musica son, in which Musica (whom the illuminator also personifies in the lower frieze of the page as a seated young woman playing a portative organ) complains that her art is being spoilt by the ignorance and vice of inept musicians (see Table 4.3).21 Brown observed that when Musica is portrayed with her inventor the latter is identified as the biblical Tubal (equivalent to Jubal) or Tubalcain.22 I shall henceforth refer to this artistic representation as Tubalcain, acknowledging that this figure was sometimes labelled Tubal in the images examined here. The frontispiece at the beginning of the Trecento collection of songs, Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Ital. 568 (Pit) is one of the better-known examples of this ‘standalone’ iconology, showing a seated Musica playing a portative organ, below whom sits Tubalcain beating hammers on an anvil.23 Mirella Levi D’Ancona bestowed the name of the Master of Songs on the anonymous artist of this frontispiece,24 and associated this artist with the industrious centre of book production at the Camaldolese monastery of Santa Maria degli Angeli.25 Although some uncertainty remains, the artist’s style supports the conclusion that this frontispiece was added sometime after 1409, the latest dateable composition in Pit.26 A second example 20

This source appears to have been prepared in the orbit of the scriptorium of Santa Maria degli Angeli, Florence, and is decorated by no less than two anonymous illuminators: Luciano Bellosi, ‘The Squarcialupi Codex Master’, Il Codice Squarcialupi MS. Mediceo palatino 87, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana di Firenze: Studi raccolti, ed. F. Alberto Gallo (Florence; Lucca, 1992), pp.145–57; Magnolia Scudieri, ‘Cat. I. 22 Lorenzo Monaco (Firenze 1370 ca.-1422/1425 ca.) e Ignoto miniatore fiorentino del quarto decennio del ’400 Secondo Maestro del Codice Squarcialupi’, Miniatura del ’400 a San Marco dalle suggestioni Avignonesi all’Ambiente dell’Angelico, ed. Magnolia Scudieri and Giovanna Rosario (Florence, 2003), pp.115–20. 21 Giuseppe Corsi, ed., Poesie musicali del trecento, Collezione di opere inedite o rare 131 (Bologna, 1970), p.129. 22 Brown, ‘St Augustine, Lady Music, and the Gittern,’ p.28. The only other exception occurs in a twelfth-century copy of Boethius’s De Musica, now in the Newberry Library, Chicago, which associates Musica and Pythagoras diagrammatically. See Michael Masi, ‘A Newberry Diagram of the Liberal Arts’, Gesta 11 (1972), 52–6; Masi, ‘Boethius and the Iconography of the Liberal Arts’, Latomus 33 (1974), 57–75. Yet, as seen in several mid-fourteenth-century Italian examples, Pythagoras is invariably associated with arithmetic or its medieval technique, the abacus. 23 Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France: it. 568, fol.1. Colour images can be found on the library’s website gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b84490281. 24 Mirella Levi D’Ancona, ‘Don Silvestro dei Gherarducci e il ‘Maestro delle Canzoni’: Due miniatori trecenteschi della scuola di S. Maria degli Angeli a Firenze’, Rivista d’arte 32 (1957 [pub.1959]), 3–37; D’Ancona, The Illuminators and Illuminations of the Choir Books from Santa Maria degli Angeli and Santa Maria Nuova in Florence (Florence, 1994), pp.20–5. 25 Also see Jason Stoessel, ‘The Makers and Owners of Early Fifteenth-Century Song Books in Italy: The Benedictine Contribution to the Courtly Musical Culture of the Late Middle Ages’, Sources of Identity: Makers, Owners and Users of Music Sources Before 1600, ed. Lisa Colton and Tim Shephard (Turnhout, 2017), pp.77–96 (81–8). 26 This dating is based upon Nádas’s reading of Girand’ un bel falcon as an expression of Florentine antipathy towards Pope Gregory XII at the Council of Pisa in 1409; see Ursula Günther, John Nádas and John Stinson, ‘Magister Dominus Paulus Abbas de



The Iconography of Secular Song in the Late Middle Ages 71 Table 4.3  Text and Translation of Francesco Landini’s Musica son Musica son che mi dolgo, piangendo, veder gli effetti mie dolci e perfetti lasciar per frottol i vaghi intelletti. Perché ignoranza e vizio ogn’uom costuma, lasciasi ‘l buon e pigliasi la schiuma. Ciascun vuol inarrar musical note, e compor madrial, cacce, ballate, tenendo ognor le sue autenticate. Chi vuol d’una virtù venire in loda conviengli prima giugner a la proda. Già furon le dolcezze mie pregiate da cavalier, baroni e gran signori: or sono ‘mbastarditi e genti cori. Ma i’ Musica sol non mi lamento, ch’ ancor l’altre virtù lasciate sento.

I am Music, and tearfully complain of seeing interested minds forsake my sweet and perfect accomplishments for trifling street-songs. Everyone is getting so used to ignorance and vice that they reject what’s good and go for the scum. Everyone wants to wrestle with musical notes and compose madrigals, hunting songs, ballads; each one claiming artistic authenticity for his own. But whoever wants to be praised for any of his accomplishments must first reach his goal. Once my endearments were praised by knights, barons and great lords: now noble hearts are corrupted. But I, Music, am not complaining alone: I hear that the other Virtues have also been forsaken. Trans. Giovanni Carsaniga

from the lavish first page of Dante’s Commedia copied by Jacopo Guido di Puccini in Florence c.1420 exhibits a further connection with Santa Maria degli Angeli.27 The decoration, which shows the seven Liberal Arts and their inventors in separate frames, has been attributed to Bartolomeo da Fruosino, a lay illuminator regularly hired by the Camaldolese scriptorium.28 It is also beneficial to review the iconological tradition. Two blacksmiths figure in the iconology of European music and music theory. Paul Beichner, James McKinnon and Judith Cohen have examined this topic in detail, although their studies predate many important critical editions of medieval music theory.29 A thorough re-evaluation of this scholarship is needed, and the following synopFlorentia: New Documentary Evidence’, Musica Disciplina 41 (1987), 203–46 (204– 5, n.203). Another song in the collection, Godi, Firenze, has been dated to 1406; see Ursula Günther, ‘Zur Datierung des Madrigals “Godi Firenze” und der Handschrift Paris, B.N. fonds it. 568 (Pit)’, Archiv für Musikwissenschaft 24 (1967), 99–119. 27 Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, it. 74, fol.3r. Colour images can be found at http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/btv1b10500687r. See Laurence B. Kanter, Painting and Illumination in Early Renaissance Florence, 1300–1450 (New York, 1994), pp.314–17 (illus. p.316); Katia Zambrelli, ‘Maestro del Codice Squarcialupi’, Dizionario biografico dei miniatori italiani: Secoli ix–xvi, ed. Milvia Bollati (Milan, 2004), 502–3. 28 Compare Florence, Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Corale G 73, fol.35v; see, Ada Labriola, ‘Lorenzo Monaco miniatore tra il 1410 e gli ultimi anni di attività (e alcune proposte per la miniatura fiorentina del tempo’, Lorenzo Monaco dalla tradizione giottesca al rinascimento, ed. Angelo Tartuferi and Daniela Parenti (Florence, 2006), 84–95 (89). 29 Paul E. Beichner, The Medieval Representative of Music, Jubal or Tubalcain?, Texts and Studies in the History of Mediaeval Education 2 (Notre Dame, IN, 1954); Judith Cohen, ‘Jubal in the Middle Ages’, Yuval: Studies of the Jewish Music Research Centre 3 (1974), 83–99; James W. McKinnon, ‘Jubal vel Pythagoras, quis sit inventor musicae?’, The Musical Quarterly 64 (1978), 1–28.

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sis captures some key points in relation to more than forty music theorists from the late thirteenth to late fifteenth centuries who refer to both the biblical and Greco-Roman inventors of music. A preliminary review of these theorists questions McKinnon’s conclusion that from the late thirteenth century music theorists increasingly favoured the biblical inventor of music. Almost half of the treatises surveyed favour the Greco-Roman story of music’s invention, about twenty-five per cent more than those that lean towards the Judeo-Christian tradition.30 The Greco-Roman tradition revolved around the story of Pythagoras’s discovery of the proportional relations between consonant tones after hearing blacksmiths striking an anvil with different proportional weighted hammers.31 Although Vincenzo Galilei eventually debunked this myth using empirical observations,32 Boethius’s account in De institutione musice was most influential.33 Guido adapted it in his Micrologus and Vincent of Beauvais extracted it verbatim from Boethius in his widely read Speculum doctrinale.34 The brief accounts of Isidore and John of Affligem also trickled down into many versions of the invention of musica at the beginning of medieval and early Renaissance music treatises.35 Macrobius’s early fifth-century version in his commentary on Cicero’s Dream of Scipio was less often cited.36 There was a resurgence of interest in Macrobius among music theorists (some of it negative) after Marchetto da Padova cited the Commentary and Cicero’s Tusculan Desputations as authorities for Pythagoras’s invention of music.37

30

The collection of data was greatly assisted by the Thesaurus Musicarum Latinarum, directed by Giuliano Di Bacco http://boethius.music.indiana.edu/tml/. Accessed 15/4/2016. 31 Greek authors who also wrote about Pythagoras’s discovery, like Nicomachus in his second-century Enchiridion harmonices or Iamblichus in his early fourth-century Life of Pythagoras, remained virtually unknown until the later fifteenth century, although Boethius seems to have drawn on Nicomachus for his own account. 32 Carla Bromberg, ‘A Preliminary Study of the Origin of Music in Cinquecento Musical Treatises’, International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music 41 (2010), 161–83 (175). 33 Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, Anicii Manlii Torquati Severini Boetii De institutione arithmetica libri duo: De institutione musica libri quinque. Accedit geometria quae fertur Boetii, ed. Gottfried Friedlein (Leipzig, 1867), p.196. 34 Guido of Arezzo, Guidonis Aretini Micrologus, ed. Joseph Smits van Waesberghe (Nijmegen, 1955), p.229; Gottfried Göller, ed., Vinzenz von Beauvais O.P. (um 1194–1264) und sein Musiktraktat im Speculum doctrinale, Kölner Beiträge zur Musikforschung, Band XV (Regensburg, 1959), pp.104–5. 35 Isidore of Seville, Etymologiae, Book III, chap.16 in Etymologiarum sive originum libri XX, 2 vols (Oxford, 1957), vol.1, f.K6v. 36 Ambrosius Aurelius Theodosius Macrobius, In somnium Scipionis, Book II, chap.1, sent.8 in Macrobius, Commentaire au Songe de Scipion, vol.2, p.4; translation: Macrobius, Commentary on the Dream of Scipio, pp.186–7. 37 See Prosdocimo’s rebuttal of Marchetto’s argument in Prosdocimo de’ Beldomandi, Plana musica. Musica speculativa, ed. Jan Herlinger (Urbana, 2008), p.220; Prosdocimo’s influence is still apparent in Franchinus Gaffurius, ed. F. Alberto Gallo, Extractus parvus musice (Bologna, 1969), p.64.



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Prosdocimo de’ Beldomandi took his Paduan predecessor to task for favouring the pagan rather than biblical inventor of music.38 Beichner unravelled the knotty problem of the medieval identity of the so-called biblical inventor of music over sixty years ago. Genesis 4.20–22 describes the three sons of the first bigamist, Lamech. By his first wife, Ada, he fathered Jabel, the father of shepherds and tentmakers, and Jubal, the father of singing with the harp and the flute (fuit pater canentium cithara et organo).39 Tubalcain, who was a smith and metalworker (qui fuit malleator et faber in cuncta opera aeris et ferri), was born to Lamech’s second wife, Zillah (Sella). Flavius Josephus, the first-century Judeo-Roman historian, planted the seed by which this biblical account would be transformed in subsequent centuries: Jabel became Jobal, Jubal became Jobel, and Tubalcain confusingly was transformed into Jobel qui ex altera natus est; the first two sons were no longer the ‘fathers’ of their crafts; and the third was transformed into a martial figure, who surpassed all in his strength and was adept in matters of war (fortitudine cunctos excellens, res bellicas decenter execuit).40 Next, the seventh-century encyclopedist Isidore of Seville took the bold step of describing Jubal, whom he called Tubal, as the finder (repertor) of the musical arts before the Flood, adding that the Greeks indeed (vero) said that Pythagoras discovered this art from the sounds of hammers and by striking stretched chords.41 In his twelfth-century Historia scholastica, Peter Comestor synthesised both traditions, explicitly referring to Josephus. Peter approximated biblical lore by stating that Tubal was the father of singing on the harp and the flute, although with a subtle shift from ‘singing with’ to ‘singing on’ the harp and the flute. He clarified by stating that Tubal was the inventor of instruments, which had long existed and – in a conflation with the Pythagorean tradition – that the same biblical figure had discovered music’s consonances only after listening to his half-brother Tubalcain’s hammering and observing the proportional relationship of the weight of his hammers to each other. Peter also borrows an apocryphal account from Josephus in which Seth, after hearing Adam’s prophecy that the world will be judged by water and then fire, makes two columns – one of fireproof brick, the other from water-

38

The issue is partly one of verbal semantics: following Isidore or John of Affligem, Jubal/Tubal/Tubalcain is regularly described as the repertor or finder of music, while Pythagoras is bestowed the epithet of the ‘inventor’ or discoverer of music (sometimes refined to musical proportion or consonance). 39 Organum could refer to – among other things – any wind instrument in the late Middle Ages, including the flute and the organ, and is only an approximation for the Hebrew wə-’ū-gˉāb (‫)׃בָֽגּועְו‬, the pipe or flute. ˉ 40 Titus Flavius Josephus, Antiquitates Judaicae, Book I, chap.2, sent.64; Medieval Latin translation: Antiquities [Latin trans.], ed. R.M. Pollard, J. Timmermann, J. di Gregorio, and M. Laprade (2013–) http://sites.google.com/site/latinjosephus. Accessed 4/2/2018. Also see Walter Kurt Kreyszig, ‘“Leopold Mozart ... a Man of Much ... Sagacity”: The Revival of Humanist Scholarship in his Gründliche Violinschule (Augsburg, 1789)’, Music’s Intellectual History: Founders, Followers and Fads, ed. Zdravko Blažeković and Barbara Dobbs Mackenzie (New York, 2009), pp.43–156 (61–2). 41 Isidore of Seville, Etymologiae, Book III, chap.16 in Etymologiarum sive originum libri XX, vol.1, sig. K6v.

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proof marble – on which he inscribes astrological knowledge. In Peter’s account, Tubal instead inscribes the two columns with musical knowledge.42 That Vincent of Beauvais also extracted the relevant portion from Peter’s Historia scholastica about Tubal’s invention of music into his enormous and long-lived compendium for the Dominican order illustrates how both legends about the invention of music continued on an equal footing from the late thirteenth century.43 The same situation occurred in the case of Isidore’s short passage on the invention of music, which John of Affligem perpetuated in his Musica. While they take sides, medieval writers often ‘compendicised’ and conflated the Isidorean and Johannine tradition with the Boethian and/or that of Comestor.44 Beichner was perhaps too generous in asserting, ‘Musicians did not confuse Jubal and Tubalcain’. The anonymous author of the Middle English Story of Genesis and Exodus conflated Jabel and Jubal into Jobal, and referred to Tubal instead of Tubalcain.45 Tubalcain was named as the inventor of music by five authors surveyed for this study, including Jacobus.46 The iconology of music’s biblical inventor ran alongside that of Tubalcain in Italian art of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. A statement that situates 42

Beichner noted Peter Comestor’s influence of subsequent authors, including Peter Riga, Matthew Paris, Ranulf of Hignen and Macé de la Charité; Beichner, The Medieval Representative of Music, pp.11–14; Peter Riga, Aurora: Petri Rigae Biblia versificata = A Verse Commentary on the Bible, ed. Paul E. Beichner (Notre Dame, IN, 1965), p.45 (lines 461–74). Macé de la Charité translated Riga into French in the early fourteenth century. For the passage concerning the sons of Lamech, see the edition: Macé de la Charité, La Bible de Macé de la Charité, vol. I: Genèse, Exode (Leiden, 1964), pp.28–9 (lines 664–708). 43 Göller, ed., Vinzenz von Beauvais O.P., p.105. 44 See examples from the Hollandrinus traditions: Wacław Gieburowski, Die ‘Musica Magistri Szydlovite’: ein polnischer Choraltraktat des XV. Jahrh. und seine Stellung in der Choraltheorie des Mittelalters, mit Beruecksichtigung der Choraltheorie und -Praxis des XV. Jahrh. in Polen, sowie der Nachtridentinischen Choralreform (Posen, 1915), pp.9–72; Dénes von Bartha, ‘Studien zum musikalischen Schrifttum des 15. Jahrhunderts,’ Archiv für Musikforschung 1 (1936), 176–99 (180–99). 45 Beichner, The Medieval Representative of Music, p.18. Beichner proposed that the reading ‘ut Tubal, Chayn ante diluvium’ in the nineteenth-century edition of Jacobus’s Speculum musicae, Book VII, chap.1, be emended to ‘Jubal [or Tubal], qui fuit de stirpe Cain ante diluvium’, based upon Isidore. The nineteenth-century edition can be found in: Charles Edmond Henri de Coussemaker, ed., Scriptorum de Musica Medii Aevii: novam seriem a Gerbertina altera, 4 vols (Paris, 1864–76; repr. Hildesheim, 1963), vol.2, pp.383–433. The modern editor of the Speculum read ‘Tubalcain ante diluvium’; Jacobi Leodiensis, Speculum Musicae, ed. Roger Bragard, Corpus Scriptorum de Musica 3, 8 vols ([Rome], 1955–73), vol.7, p.5. In the sole surviving complete manuscript of the Speculum, Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France: lat. 7207, fol.275r, the reading is ‘Tubal chaym ante diluvium’. I warmly thank Karen Desmond for her assistance in determining this reading during an exchange of emails on 17/6/2016. 46 Tractatus compilatus de musica plana et mensurabili e traditione franconiana in Bergamo, Biblioteca civica: 2/67 ([Delta] IV 30), fols.252r–258 at fol.252r–v (Tubal Caym); Opusculum de musica ex traditione Iohannis Hollandrini in Vienna, Nationalbibliothek, cod. pal. vind. 4774, fols.12r–23v and 30v–33v; Alexander Rausch, ed., Opusculum de musica ex traditione Iohannis Hollandrini. A Commentary, Critical Edition and Translation, Musical Theorists in Translation 15 (Ottawa, 1997), p.28; Prosdocimo de’ Beldomandi, Plana musica, p.220 (Iubalchaim).



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musica among the Liberal Arts (paralleling iconographical representations) regularly precedes discussions about the invention of music. Tubalcain takes on aspects of Peter Riga’s late twelfth-century adaptation of Comestor’s story of Tubal discovering musical proportions.47 In his versified biblical commentary, Aurora, Riga painted a picture of Jubal listening intently to the hammer strokes of his brother, Tubalcain. This iconology was transferred to the iconographical. Tubalcain appears before an anvil, a hammer in each hand, his head inclined to one of these hammers raised beside his ear as if to convey his intense listening. An early fifteenth-century manuscript of polyphony in Modena is the earliest witness of a stand-alone depiction of this intensely listening Tubalcain in a music book.48 Federica Toniolo identified this figure as Tubalcain in her study of the illumination of the Modena manuscript. I have argued that the so-called Master of 1411 completed this and other illuminations in the Modena manuscript in late 1410 or soon afterwards.49 The Master of 1411, with his distinctive adaptation of the Neogothic style of Nicolò da Bologna (fl.1349–1401), can be closely connected with the social fabric of Bologna from as early as 1404. The initial featuring Tubalcain draws on Nicolò da Bologna’s earlier model in the Milan and Madrid manuscripts, and in all likelihood was intended to appear at the beginning of the Modena manuscript before it was transformed by the addition of two outer gatherings featuring the music of Matteo da Perugia.50 Additional support for the latter position comes from two other sources from the end of the fourteenth century that use the same iconography in a collection of polyphonic song. Tubalcain reappears in a later fifteenth-century source prepared for the marriage of Margherita Castellani and Bernardino Niccolini, the so-called Berlin Chansonnier (see Plate III).51 Iconographically this depiction shares enough features with the Modena Tubalcain – a scruffy, bearded figure in simple, yellow clothing alternately beating two hammers on an anvil – to show that they belong to the same iconographical genealogy, albeit without having to admit any direct connection. Gallagher’s re-dating of the Berlin Chansonnier to no earlier than 1473 leaves a sixty-year gap in the chronology of this iconography in music manuscripts that can nonetheless be supplemented by the ongoing depictions of the Liberal Arts in panels and manuscripts.52 The Berlin Chansonnier’s origin in Florence seems beyond doubt, especially since Flynn Warmington identified the

47

Riga, Aurora, p.45 (lines 461–74). On the popularity of the Aurora in the Middle Ages, see Charles Homer Haskins, The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century (Cambridge, MA, 1955), p.166. 48 Modena, Biblioteca Estense: ms. α.M.5.24 (lat. 568), fol.11r. 49 Jason Stoessel, ‘Arms, a Saint and Inperial sedendo fra più stelle: The Illuminator of Mod A’, Journal of Musicology 31 (2014), 1–42 (4–15). 50 Ibid., 39–40. 51 Berlin, Staatsbibliothek Museen de Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz: Kupferstich­ kabinett, MS 78.C.28, fol.2v. 52 Sean Gallagher, ‘The Berlin Chansonnier and French Song in Florence, 1450–1490: A New Dating and its Implications’, Journal of Musicology 24 (2007), 339–64 (351).

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same scribal hand in a processional made for the Duomo of Florence.53 Gallagher finds persuasive reasons, including a prior commission from the Castellani family, to suspect that Benedetto di Silvestro (fl.1445–73), an illuminator whose work is found in other manuscripts from the Duomo, decorated the Berlin Chansonnier.54 Another chansonnier completed c.1492–3 in the Florentine workshop of Gherardo and Monte di Giovanni witnesses a measured but colourful transformation of Tubalcain (see Plate IV).55 Instead of being plainly clothed and bareheaded, Tubalcain is depicted wearing a turban and a bright red cloak, still bearded, but sporting a long moustache. Additionally, a music book to his left intrudes for the first time into this iconography. Precedents for this exoticisation of Jubal exist in the Allegories of the Liberal Arts from the workshops of Francesco Pesellino (1422– 57) and Biagio di Antonio Tucci (1446–1516).56 The iconographical link between the Modena and two later Florentine chansonniers has not been noted in scholarly literature. In all three, Tubalcain signifies the nature of the music collection that follows. All three books are completely or mostly filled with secular song. Pointedly, images of Tubalcain do not appear in any collections of liturgical polyphony. While one might be tempted to assert that Tubalcain stood in for mensural (rhythmic) and polyphonic music in general, it seems that this iconography is chiefly linked with polyphonic, vernacular song collections. The initials in Modena, Berlin and Banco Rari 229 seem distinct from the pairing of Tubalcain and Musica discussed above, most notably in relation to the Trecento song collection Paris Ital. 568. Yet, a circular canon by Bartolomeo Ramos de Pareja represents Musica metonymically in the preceding frontispiece in Banco Rari 229. The canon is surrounded by pictorial representations of the four winds and captioned Mundus et musica et totus concentus (The world, music and all in harmony). Music and its biblical inventor thus appear on successive openings at the beginning of Banco Rari 229, analogous to the Musica-Tubalcain iconology discussed above.57 Brown has already noted the Neoplatonic underpinnings of the frontispiece of Banco Rari 229 and the connections of its first owner, Alessandro

53

Florence, Opera del Duomo: MS 21; Flynn Warmington, ‘The Missing Link: The Scribe of the Berlin Chansonnier in Florence’, La musica a Firenze al tempo di Lorenzo il Magnifico: Congresso internazionale di studi, Firenze 15–17 giugno 1992, ed. Piero Gargiulo (Florence, 1993), pp.63–8. See also David Fallows, ‘Polyphonic Song in the Florence of Lorenzo’s Youth, ossia: The Provenance of the Manuscript Berlin 78.C.28: Naples or Florence?’, La musica a Firenze al tempo di Lorenzo il Magnifico: Congresso internazionale di studi, Firenze 15–17 giugno 1992, ed. Piero Gargiulo (Florence, 1993), pp.47–61. 54 Gallagher, ‘The Berlin Chansonnier’, p. 351. Ada Labriola dates the Berlin Chansonnier to 1472, and places its origin in the workshop of Francesco di Antonio del Chierico of Florence; Ada Labriola, ‘Alcune proposte per Zanobi Strozzi e Francesco di Antonio del Chierico’, Paragone Arte. Mensile di arte figurativa e letteratura Anno LX - Terza serie 83 (2009), pp.3–22 (14–16). 55 Howard Mayer Brown, Brian Jeffery and Max Knight, eds, A Florentine Chansonnier from the Time of Lorenzo the Magnificent: Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, ms. Banco Rari 229, 2 vols (Chicago, 1983), vol.1, pp.23–4. 56 Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL, and Chantilly, Musée Condé. 57 Brown et al., eds, A Florentine Chansonnier, p.16.

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Braccesi, with late fifteenth-century Florentine, intellectual culture, including the figure of Marsilio Ficino.58 As a referent to the Liberal Arts, Tubalcain does not stand for a problematic divide between the sacred and secular, but functions as a sign within an epistemology that underlines the place of liberal arts education in medieval literate society. The formation of knowledge, well into the humanist era, still revolved around grammar, insofar as it concerned the trivium, and music with regard to the quadrivium. Arithmetic and geometry had a limited role (and were more the tools of merchants and tradesmen than clerics), and astronomy/astrology represented a specialist branch of knowledge beyond the basics of calendric calculation that could be satisfied by computus. Rather, the status of these chansonniers as personal or family books is at one or more removes from the liturgical world of the Middle Ages, even if theological doctrine spilt over into some of their texts and range of meanings. On his own, Tubalcain signifies the legitimisation of polyphonic song in late medieval culture and its inalienable connections with musical cosmologies.

Minerva’s Thread: Iconographical Cross-Fertilisation The image of a biblical blacksmith is also a site of a rupture in the medieval distinction between the liberal and mechanical arts. After all, as a symbol, the blacksmith is both literal and iconic. At the literal level, the blacksmith points to the sweaty and dirty craft of smithing; at the iconic, it references the discovery of music’s proportions and its place within the Pythagorean-Platonic cosmos. Several authors also associated Tubalcain with the martial arts: smithing, after all, could be turned to the manufacture of weapons of war, and Tubalcain’s strength marked him out as one proficient in the art of war. In the case of music, further iconological polysemy occurs in Dante Alighieri’s De vulgari eloquentia, in which music is metaphorically compared to the mechanical art of weaving. From both the biblical and Dantesque iconology, illuminators appropriated iconography of Musica and Tubalcain for decorating the life of Minerva in the French translation of Giovanni Boccaccio’s De mulieribus claris (c.1360). The slippage between images of Musica and Minerva is striking and foreshadows some of the bold adaptations of traditional iconography during the Renaissance. In Dante’s De vulgari eloquentia Book II, chap.8, sent.5, the boundary between poetry and song is a narrow one. Even though no instrumentalist would call their wordless melody a canzone (cantio) and a canzone can consist of written words alone, the union of words and music is also called a canzone. Yet the musical nature of the canzone is a potential one: ‘the canzone is nothing other than the self-­ 58

Ibid., pp.32–41; Klaus Pietschmann, ‘Zirkelkanon im Niemandsland: Ikonographie und Symbolik im Chansonnier Florenz, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, Banco Rari 229’, Uno gentile et subtile ingenio, ed. M. Jennifer Bloxam, Gioia Filocamo and Leofranc Holford-Strevens (Turnhout, 2009), pp.605–15. On this and other circular canons, see Katelijne Schiltz, Music and Riddle Culture in the Renaissance (Cambridge, 2015), pp.281–2.

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contained action of making words to be harmonised with melody’.59 The words themselves are not musical, but their arrangement according to rules of versification and metre make them apt to be set to music. In other words, a canzone is lyrical. Antonio da Tempo’s discussion of the madrigal c.1330 illustrates how easily this relationship between lyric and music collapsed into other metaphors. Antonio begins by noting that the mandrialis is commonly called the marigalis, and that this genre’s name derives from mandra, ‘flock’, since its manner of rhyming and singing was handed down from shepherds (primo modum illum rithmandi et cantandi habuimus ab ovium pastores). He continues with a well-known passage on the setting of the madrigal in the modern musical style: The setting or madrigal according to modern song ought to be beautiful and in its song have rustic or pastoral parts, so that the song concords with the words. And for this, to have a beautiful sound, it ought to be sung by at least two singers in different concordant voices. It can be sung by more singers, according to what we commonly see today, and even by one; but when it is sung by one it doesn’t sound as good to the ears of listeners as when it is sung by many.60

Antonio, although denying he was a master musician, expressed his strong preference for polyphonic settings of the madrigal. His linking of the madrigal with the song of shepherds resonates with Dante’s earlier formulations about the nature of lyric versification, which include metaphors derived from the wool industry. At the beginning of Book II of De vulgari eloquentia, Dante employed vocabulary associated with the spinning of wool to explain poetic metres. Before he can proceed to a discussion of prose, he ‘will first disentangle what metres poetry uses’. Readers would have understood the rich semantics of Dante’s verb carminare, meaning both ‘to disentangle’ figuratively and ‘to card wool’ or ‘disentangle wool with the use of a carding comb’ literally.61 Both Isidore of Seville and Uguccione da Pisa connect the verb carminare etymologically to the phrase carmina facere, ‘to make songs’. Just as a carding comb straightens out wool’s fibres in preparation for spinning into useful thread for weaving and knitting, metre ‘straightens out’ language into structures suited to poetry. In his Commedia, Dante explicitly linked 59

Et ideo cantio nichil aliud esse videtur quam actio completa dictentis verba modulationi armonizata; Dante, De vulgari eloquentia, Book II, chap.8, sent.6. Botterill translates: ‘the canzone is nothing else than the self-contained action of one who writes harmonious words to be set to music’; Dante Alighieri, De vulgari eloquentia, ed. and trans. Steven Botterill (Cambridge, 1996), pp.70–1. 60 ‘Sonus vero marigalis secundum modernum cantum debet esse pulcher et in cantu habet partes rusticales sive madriales, ut cantus consonet cum verbis. Et ad hoc, ut habeat pulchram sonoritatem, expedit ipsum cantari per duos ad minus in diversis vocibus concordantibus. Potest etiam per plures cantari, secundum quod quotidie videmus, et etiam per unum; sed non ita bene sonat auribus audientium quando per unum cantatur sicuti quando per plures’; Antonio da Tempo, Summa artis rithimici vulgaris dictaminis, ed. Richard Andrews, Collezione di opere inedite o rare 136 (Bologna, 1977), pp.70–1. 61 Dante, De vulgari eloquentia, p.96, n.99.



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the ideas of weaving and song-making when he describes how a twelfth-century Florentine woman ‘drawing strands from her spindle … span tales of the Trojans, Fiesole, and Rome’ (Il Paradiso Book XV, lines 124–6).62 The metaphor of spinning permeates late medieval discourse about poetry and ideas about the moral education of youths, illustrating how imagery of the mechanical arts often transgressed the realms of the liberal arts.63 Mythological discourse of the fourteenth century also provides further evidence of connections between the iconology of the liberal and mechanical arts. Boccaccio’s account of Minerva in his De mulieribus claris, chapter 6, began by recounting tales of her mythical origin, including the well-known story of her sprouting from Jupiter’s head fully formed.64 Of greatest interest are Minerva’s purported inventions. Notably, she is credited with the invention of wool-working. Although Boccaccio did not use the verb carminare, the imagery evoked of wool being cleansed, straightened and softened with carding combs, and then spun into thread on a distaff, is one already employed by Dante. Yet the textual metaphor would not have been far from the mind of the reader as Boccaccio described how Minerva taught the art of weaving (intextrine excogitavit officium) and fulling woven cloth (calce solidaretur intextum), especially conspicuous through the use of terms derived from the same word root, textus. After reporting that Minerva discovered the pressing of olives for oil, Boccaccio noted Minerva’s discovery of the chariot, iron weapons and armour, and strategic warfare. She was also responsible for the gentler arts, having invented the flute or shepherd’s pipes from a bird’s leg bone or reed; but she cast them away after she learned that playing it deformed her face and throat. Minerva’s inventions in the mechanical arts nonetheless transgress the space occupied by music, thereby brushing up against the liberal art of musical knowledge. In Dante, her art of weaving serves as a metaphor for the creation of lyric apt for setting to music. As the Greco-Roman mythical inventor of metalwork, warring and the flute, she melds into the space occupied by the biblical Tubalcain, the blacksmith, and his brother Jubal/Tubal, ‘the father of players of the harp and the flute’. Josephus and Comestor had emphasised Tubalcain’s martial characteristics (not present in the Bible), characteristics that can be only described as Minervan.65 This intersection between the mythical and biblical becomes more apparent in the early sixteenth century, but it is present in Minerva’s iconography in the early fifteenth century. 62

‘L’altra, traendo alla rocca la chioma, / favoleggiava con la sua familia / d’i Troiani, di Fiesole et di Roma’; Dante Alighieri, La Commedia secondo l’antica vulgata, ed. Giorgio Petrocchi, Le Opere di Dante Alighieri, Edizione Nazionale a cura della Società Dantesca Italiana, VII, 1–4 (Milan 1966–7; repr. Florence 1994). 63 Jason Stoessel, ‘Howling like Wolves, Bleating like Lambs: Singers and the Discourse of Animality in the Late Middle Ages,’ Viator 45 (2014), 201–35 (217–20). 64 Giovanni Boccaccio, De mulieribus claris, trans. Vittorio Zaccaria, 2nd edn (Milan, 1970), pp.48–53; Giovanni Boccaccio, Famous women, trans. Virginia Brown (Cambridge, MA, 2001), pp.34–9. 65 Dante, Convivio, Book II, chap.13, verse 24, assigns Musica to the planet Mars; Francesco Ciabattoni, Dante’s Journey to Polyphony (Toronto, 2010), p.108.

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On New Year’s Day 1403, Philip the Bold took delivery of a copy of Des cleres et nobles femmes from Parisian book merchant Jacques Raponde. Each life in this manuscript, which survives in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, is decorated with a so-called portrait of the illustrious woman in question.66 A copy was soon made for Jean de Berry, which responded to and developed its model’s iconography.67 The French translation closely follows Boccaccio’s Latin, deviating only to provide more idiomatic French or to amplify some of the original author’s more measured, humanist Latin. In this respect, Des cleres et nobles femmes resembles other French translations of Boccaccio by Laurent de Premierfait, to whom this translation has sometimes been attributed. In the life of Minerva, the same strong link between textuality and weaving is maintained, even if the words tissure (weaving) and tisture (weave) mark a popularising shift from the more elite texture: Some affirm that she [i.e. Minerva] invented wool-working and wool-craft which was previously unknown to all. For after it was shown by what procedure and manner the wool was purged and cleaned of its impurities, then how it could be softened by iron prongs that are called combs, it was put on a distaff for making into thread. She invented and conceived the work and craft of weaving from the former craft. She taught how threads were joined together by caressing the shuttle and how by lime [a mistranslation of the Latin calce, ‘by the heel’, a metonym for stomping] they were drawn together in the weave.68

The illuminations of the first two Des cleres et nobles femmes witness the infusion of iconography associated with the Liberal Arts, especially that of Musica. Already we have seen how later developments of this iconography paired the feminine metaphor for each Liberal Art with the art’s inventor or first practitioner. A Liberal Art is usually placed high and in the background, her inventor in the foreground holding or even busy with the accoutrements that symbolise the art in question. In Philip the Bold’s copy of the French Boccaccio, Minerva sits like a Liberal Art surrounded by representatives of her arts (see Plate 4.3). Musicians’ eyes are imme 66

Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France: fr. 12420. On the iconography in this manuscript, see Brigitte Buettner, Boccaccio’s Des cleres et nobles femmes: Systems of Signification in an Illuminated Manuscript (Seattle, 1996). 67 Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France, fr. 598. Brigitte Buettner, ‘Profane Illuminations, Secular Illusions: Manuscripts in Late Medieval Courtly Society’, The Art Bulletin 74 (1992), 75–90 (85, n.56). 68 ‘Afferment oultre quelle trouva premierment l’ouvrage et le mestier de laine qui estoit par avant incongnu a tous. Car après ce que fust monstre par quel ordre et manière la laine estoit apurgier et nettoier des superfluites di celles, en après comment il couvenoit quelle fut amollie par broches de fer que l’en appelle pignes, devant ce quelle fut mise en la kenoille pour la filler. Elle trouva et pourpensa l’office et le mestier de tissure par laquel mestier. Elle enseigna comment les filz estoient a joinder ensemble par l’atouchement de la navette et comment par la chaux estoient a fermer ensamble par la tisture.’ This passage is transcribed and edited from the two early Parisian manuscripts described above. An edition from the earliest Parisian source – Giovanni Boccaccio, Des cleres et nobles femmes, 2 vols (Paris, 1993, 1995) – has not been consulted.

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Plate 4.3  Minerva. Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale de France: frç. 12420, fol.13v. Reproduced by permission of the library

diately drawn to a chalumeau player to her right, a reference to her musical invention. Three figures, one directly in front of Minerva and two to her left, are shown as a woolworker, an olive or nut worker, and a banker counting money. Brigitte Buettner observes that the reference to banking would have resonated with the maker of this book, the merchant Jacques Raponde.69 Conversely, Michael Long has emphasised how Nicole Oresme explicitly linked music to money and fiscal management in his De moneta.70 Yet Minerva’s eyes are focused on the smith in the foreground, whose skills in the technology of warfare are suggested by the fact that he is working on a modern-looking bassinet helmet. The imagery of this blacksmith references several elements observed in Tubalcain’s iconography: a bearded figure with a turban-like headdress is using two hammers. Furthermore, he is crafting an instrument of war. His small armourer’s anvil is just visible, sticking out the bottom of the helmet. Jean de Berry’s copy of Des cleres et nobles dames closely follows its exemplar (see Plate 4.4). There are nonetheless noticeable differences in the textual trans 69

Buettner, Boccaccio’s Des cleres, p.13. Michael Long, ‘The Sound of Money and Late Medieval Music,’ Money, Morality, and Culture in Late Medieval and Early Modern Europe, ed. Juliann M. Vitullo and Diane Wolfthal (Farnham, 2010), pp.87–108.

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Plate 4.4  Minerva. Paris, Bibliothèque National de France: frç. 598, fol.13r. Reproduced by permission of the library

mission and in the iconography from a different, yet equally high-quality, workshop. Minerva is still enthroned, but is bareheaded, with a nimbus, and in a stylish blue dress. The number of figures around Minerva has expanded from five to seven, made possible by the addition of a coin-maker, a weaver and a second figure at the banker’s table. The armourer takes on elements of Tubalcain’s iconography: he is still shown as a bearded figure making a bassinet helmet, thereby emphasising Minerva’s martial character. The cross-fertilisation of Italian models of the Liberal Arts and the iconography of Minerva in the early Valois manuscripts of Des cleres et nobles dames is not unexpected. The papal court at Avignon had already been a melting pot of artistic styles made possible by the presence of French and Italian artists. A spectacular confluence of styles from either side of the Alps occurred around the end of the fourteenth century when a Bologna-trained illuminator worked for several years in Paris. Known by generations of art historians as the Master of the Brussels Initials, Massimo Medica has recently proposed that this illuminator be identified with Giovanni di fra Silvestro, who painted in 1393 a frontispiece for the Statutes of the confraternity of Santa Maria delle Morte in Bologna.71 He was the same artist 71

Massimo Medica, ‘Un nome per il “Maestro delle Iniziali di Bruxelles”: Giovanni di fra’ Silvestro’, Arte a Bologna. Bollettino dei Musei Civici d’Arte Antica 7–8 (2010–11), 11–22.



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who contributed miniatures to books created in Paris for Jean de Berry, Charles II of Navarre, Benedict XIII and Louis of Guyenne, brother of King Charles VI of France.72

Mixed Metaphors: The Clash of Symbols in Dosso Dossi’s Allegory of Music Dosso Dossi’s Allegory of Music (c. 1522) serves as my final example of the mythical representation of music (see Plate V). The painting’s imagery has proven resilient to several recent interpretations. Nonetheless its play of symbols evokes a multi-threaded discourse of late medieval representations of Musica. Symbols are contextually bound, the sites of metaphor, even of literal representation at various levels (for example, their resemblance to individuals at the court of Ferrara), but they also circle around and supervene the linguistic realm, as contextual pointers to contemporary cultural life and values. While not exploring all facets of the symbology within Dosso’s painting, I hope to recapture the richness of its mythical representation of music. Dosso’s artistic legacy during his time at the Ferrara Court of Alfonso d’Este between 1514 and 1542 included several allegorical paintings.73 Like many of his allegories, Dosso forged new ground by combining Greco-Roman and JudeoChristian iconography into new formulations and schema, several of them not altogether transparent after the span of almost half a millennium. Felton Gibbons reads the Allegory primarily as a biblical counterpart to other Greco-Roman allegories that Dosso painted at Ferrara.74 Gibbons identifies the smith literally beating out a tune on his anvil as Tubalcain, despite his decidedly clean-shaven and near-naked appearance. He reads the two nudes to this figure’s left, one seated and facing the viewer and the other with her back to the viewer, as Tubalcain’s mother Zillah and sister Naomah respectively. Gibbons also argues that Dosso fused the biblical with Greco-Roman myth, just as Peter Comestor had done centuries earlier: the hammers have Pythagorean numbers VIII and XII on them, Tubalcain transforms into a type of Vulcan,75 and the iconography of the nudes closely resembles other Renaissance models of Venus disrobing.76

72

Millard Meiss, French Painting in the Time of Jean de Berry: The Late Fourteenth Century and the Patronage of the Duke, 2nd edn, 2 vols (London, 1969), vol.1, pp.229–41; Robert G. Calkins, ‘An Italian in Paris: The Master of the Brussels Initials and His Participation in the French Book Industry’, Gesta 20 (1981), 223–32. 73 On the life of brother painters Giovanni and Battista Dossi see Gibbons, Dosso and Battista Dossi, pp.24–39. Although Dosso’s Allegory is not discussed, an in-depth account of music and visual culture in Alfonsian Ferrara occurs in Tim Shephard, Echoing Helicon: Music, Art and Identity in the Este Studioli, 1440–1530 (Oxford, 2014). 74 Gibbons, Dosso and Battista Dossi, pp.92–8. 75 On the parallelism between Tubalcain and Vulcan in late-fifteenth-century Ferrara, see Phyllis Williams Lehmann and Karl Lehmann, Samothracian Reflections: Aspects of the Revival of the Antique (Princeton, 1973), pp.149–54. 76 Gibbons, Dosso and Battista Dossi, pp.92–8.

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Dosso’s Allegory is best known to musicologists through H. Colin Slim’s identification of the piece of music notated on one of two tablets as the canonic Agnus dei II from Josquin Des Prez’s Missa L’Homme armé super voces musicales.77 Notated in the shape of a triangle, with the riddle ‘Trinitas in un[itate]’ visible above it, this notation is a reference to sacred polyphony. The other canon in Dosso’s Allegory, notated in the shape of a circle, has not been identified. Slim provides a transcription in which he finds stylistic similarities with the music of Mouton, Willaert or Jacquet de Mantua.78 The circular canon in Dosso’s Allegory also links this painting with the metonymic iconology for music found in the frontispiece of Banco Rari 229, although any direct connection between the two artists seems implausible. Slim accepts Gibbon’s reading of Dosso’s allegory as biblical, but rejects his views on its polyvalence. Slim’s study was published before Franca Trinchieri Camiz’s fresh argument that connects a reading of the blacksmith as Vulcan with the pastimes of Alfonso d’Este, which included casting his own cannons in his personal workshop at Ferrara.79 James Haar also questions Slim’s interpretation of the two notated tablets as a reference to the apocryphal legend of Tubal inscribing musical knowledge on a brick and marble in Comestor’s Historia scholastica.80 Yet Haar does not address Paul Beichner’s earlier observations that Comestor’s columns were transformed into tile and brass tablets in the Middle English Story of Genesis and Exodus.81 Both Slim’s and Camiz’s readings of Dosso’s Allegory are plausible. Still, there is another possibility. Gibbons observed how the cycle of Liberal Arts completed under Dosso’s supervision in the Castello del Buonconsiglio, Trento, pairs each Liberal Art with an unusual inventor.82 Grammar is paired with Apollodorus, Dialectic with Chrysippus, Rhetoric with Gorgias, Music with Pandemphion (a fusion of Pan and Amphion), Geometry with Archimedes, Arithmetic with Pythagoras and Astronomy with Berosus de Alas.83 Although Gibbons concluded that the presence of Hellenised practitioners of the arts were the result of an eccentric and provincial scholar in the orbit of the ceiling painting’s commissioner, he nonetheless noted that the presence of Chrysippus, Archimedes and Amphion demonstrated the artist’s or commissioner’s knowledge of Capella’s Marriage of Philosophy and Mercury.84 77

H. Colin Slim, ‘Dosso Dossi’s Allegory at Florence about Music’, Journal of the American Musicological Society 43 (1990), 43–98 (58–62). 78 Ibid., p.57. 79 Franca Trinchieri Camiz, ‘Due quadri musicali del Dosso’, Frescobaldi e il Suo Tempo nel Quarto Centenario della Nascita (Venice, 1983), pp.85–91. 80 James Haar, ‘Music as Visual Language’, Meaning in the Visual Arts: Views from the Outside. A Centennial Commemoration of Erwin Panofsky (1892–1968), ed. Irving Lavin (Princeton, 1995), pp.265–84 (282, n.213). 81 Beichner, The Medieval Representative of Music, p.12. 82 Gibbons believes that these practitioners’ ‘feebly drawn and weakly executed’ portraits are not by Dosso himself; Gibbons, Dosso and Battista Dossi, p.49. 83 Ibid., pp.51–3. 84 Ibid., pp.47–54.



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The Martianus-inspired originator of the Trent cycle’s unusual iconography may have been Dosso himself. Returning to Ferrara, Dosso’s Allegory of Music can be read as a poignant intersection of the medieval tradition of the invention of music and Martianus’s imagery. There is no escaping that the medieval iconography of the blacksmith points to both the story of Pythagoras’s discovery of musica and its transformation into a pseudo-biblical narrative by Comestor. At the same time, the iconographical tradition that paired Musica with her art’s discoverer identifies the middle figure in Dosso’s Allegory as Musica or Harmonia. Although both tablets (pace Haar) seem to refer to the apocryphal tale of Jubal’s pillars on which were recorded musical knowledge, the circular staff on the middle tablet recalls Martianus’s description of Harmonia’s shield and its concentric circles ‘attuned to one another and pouring forth a concord of all the modes’.85 The circular piece in Dosso’s painting is written on a six-line staff, a notational convention found in Italian sources during the fourteenth century, but rendered obsolete in the second quarter of the fifteenth century. Dosso’s antiquated music staff may instead refer to the six-note hexachord, by which all notes are kept in harmony to one another in all the modes. The two classically inspired nudes in Dosso’s allegory might stand for the two Venuses (the celestial and the mundane), well known from Marsilio Ficino’s writings.86 Conversely, if, as Gabriele Frings has proposed, the young woman is Musica or Harmonia, the figure on the right with her back to the viewer could well be Venus, who is foregrounded in Martianus’s allegory.87 Yet, when Harmonia finally enters in The Marriage, she walks between Apollo and Minerva, and is followed by Venus. That the rightmost figure instead represents Minerva might be inferred from additional iconographical elements. A headpiece closely binds her hair, evoking the image of helmeted Minerva and the craft of weaving.88 In contrast to the full-frontal nudity of Venus and Hera in several Judgements of Paris, Minerva – sometimes wearing a helmet or severe hairstyle or identified by a pile of armour at her feet – turns her back to the viewer in an act of modesty just like Dosso’s Allegory.89 Minerva’s intrusion into Dosso’s allegory may be further explained in terms of her long association with music, and the cross-fertilisation of iconographical language witnessed in the Parisian sources of Boccaccio’s Des cleres et nobles femmes. The presence of musical notation into Dosso’s Allegory points to the elevation of 85

Stahl et al., eds, Martianus Capella, vol.2, p.353. Marsilio Ficino, El libro dell’amore, ed. Sandra Niccoli (Florence, 1987), pp.36–7 (Book II, chap.37). 87 Gabriele Frings, ‘Dosso Dossis Allegorie der Musik und die Tradition des “inventor musicae” in Mittelalter und Renaissance’, Imago musicae 9–12 (1992–5), 159–203 (188–90). 88 Boccaccio discusses the iconology of the armoured Minerva; Giovanni Boccaccio, Geneology of the Pagan Gods, trans. Jon Solomon, 2 vols (Cambridge, MA, 2011), vol.2, Book V, chap.48, pp.760–1. 89 For example, Raphael’s Judgement of Paris (1512, private collection, UK), which was best known through Marcantonio Raimondi’s print engraving after it, c.1515–16 (New York, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1919, acc. no. 19.74.1). 86

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music beyond arcane mathematical knowledge to a practised or indeed mechanical art.90 That Minerva rests her hand on an identifiable piece of sacred music may also serve to separate a more sober music from secular song (to speculate on this canon’s identity on which Venus’s daughter rests her left hand). The duality of music as techne and music as praxis represents the long development of musical knowledge from the esotericism of Pythagorean harmonia handed down from antiquity to a system of musical knowledge that supported the training of musically literate (that is notation-reading) musicians. Behind both musics, the cherubim-like genius of music or the flame of music’s inspiration, to whom Tubalcain looks, contrasts with Musica/Harmonia, whose gaze is firmly fixed upon Minerva.

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Cf. Slim, ‘Dosso Dossi’s Allegory’, pp.81–3, who proposes that Dosso responds to Leonardo da Vinci’s critique of music’s evanescence and mortality compared to painting, and his annoyance that music, not painting, is a liberal art by asserting the permanence of notated musical composition over improvisation.

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Foolish Midas: Representing Musical Judgement and Moral Judgement in Italy c.1520 * Tim Shephard and Patrick McMahon

I

n an ancient story told by Ovid in the Metamorphoses, the Phrygian King Midas, freshly released from his famous golden touch, retreats to the hills and becomes a devotee of the rustic god Pan.1 Enjoying the acclaim of the nymphs and of Midas for his piping, Pan challenges Apollo – another, much greater, god of the countryside – to a musical contest. The judge of the contest, the mountain Tmolus, declares Apollo the winner; but Midas disagrees, holding Pan to be the better musician. In anger, Apollo changes Midas’s ears into those of an ass. This story presents an account of the operation of musical judgement that is rich and ideologically charged, in such a way that it could readily serve as a touchstone text for a set of principles that were central to the discourse on musical taste in Italy in the fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. Midas is involved not as a performer, but as a bystander who attempts to pass judgement on the competitors. The outcome of the contest is obvious – Ovid states at the outset that it is ‘unequal’ (inpar). On the one hand, Pan’s instrument is identified by Ovid as ‘rustic pipes’ (calamis agrestibus), and his champion Midas as ‘foolish’ (stultae) and ‘barbarous’ (barbaricoque), equipped with ‘uncultivated ears’ (aures … stolidas). On the other hand, Apollo has golden locks, a laurel wreath from Parnassus, purple robes and a beautifully decorated lyre; Tmolus’s ‘judgement’ (iudicium) in Apollo’s favour satisfies all save Midas. Pan is required by Tmolus to make his pipe ‘submit’ (submittere) to the lyre. The punishment inflicted by Apollo upon Midas serves to make his internal deficiencies evident in his physical form. The entire story follows on directly from that of Midas’s golden touch, as a second example of Midas’s stupidity; his poor musical judgement is further evidence of his poor judgement in general. The argument of this study is that the myth of the judgement of Midas was presented and encountered by Italians c.1520, in both literary and visual modes, reshaped and retold in ways that engaged with the broader contemporary discourse on musical judgement. In studying Renaissance treatments of the myth, we are also studying articulations of the operation of musical judgement, which

* This research was conducted within the three-year project ‘Music in the Art of Renaissance Italy, c.1420–1540’ funded by a Leverhulme Trust Research Project Grant. Patrick McMahon’s involvement was sponsored by the Sheffield Undergraduate Research Experience scheme at the University of Sheffield. 1 Ovid in Six Volumes: IV Metamorphoses, trans. Frank Justus Miller, 2 vols (Cambridge, MA, 1976), vol.2, pp.130–3 (XI.146–93).

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can reveal important features of elite musical culture in Italy and the values in which it was founded. Ultimately, to study the judgement of Midas in Italy c.1520 is to study musical taste and its construction through myth, as a component of the social ideology of elite culture.

Musical Judgement and Moral Judgement Boethius’s Fundamentals of Music – the textbook for the study of music within the liberal arts syllabus of the medieval universities, first printed in Venice in 1492 – opens with two chapters devoted to describing the influence of music over moral character, and outlining the reasons lying behind that influence.2 The sense of hearing, writes Boethius at the opening of the treatise, ‘is capable of apprehending sounds in such a way that it not only exercises judgement and identifies their differences, but very often actually finds pleasure if the modes are pleasing and ordered, whereas it is vexed if they are disordered and incoherent. From this it follows that … music is associated not only with speculation but with morality as well.’3 As music is capable of influencing the passions, it can effect ‘radical transformations of character’ that both reflect and generate ethical states, a view ultimately dependent upon the discussion of music pedagogy in Plato’s Republic and Aristotle’s Politics.4 Boethius continues, ‘a lascivious disposition takes pleasure in more lascivious modes or is often made soft and corrupted upon hearing them. On the other hand, a rougher spirit finds pleasure in more exciting modes or becomes aroused when it hears them.’5 Obviously, therefore, music should be employed in the moral education of the young, but only that music which is ‘temperate, simple and masculine, rather than effeminate, violent or fickle’.6 2

On the circulation and influence of this text in the Renaissance, see Nan Cooke Carpenter, Music in the Medieval and Renaissance Universities (Norman, OK, 1958), pp.115– 27 and pp.313–28; Claude V. Palisca, ‘Boethius in the Renaissance’, Music Theory and Its Sources: Antiquity and the Middle Ages, ed. André Barbera (Notre Dame, IN, 1990), pp.259-80; and Ann E. Moyer, ‘The Quadrivium and the Decline of Boethian Influence’, A Companion to Boethius in the Middle Ages, ed. Noel Harold Kaylor, Jr. and Philip Edward Phillips (Leiden, 2012), pp.479–518. 3 ‘Idem quoque de ceteris sensibilibus dici potest, maximeque de arbitrio aurium, quarum vis ita sonos captat, ut non modo de his iudicium capiat differentiasque cognoscat, verum etiam delectetur saepius, si dulces coaptatique modi sint, angatur vero, si dissipati atque incohaerentes feriant sensum. Unde fit ut … musica vero non modo speculationi verum etiam moralitati coniuncta sit.’ Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, Anicii Manlii Torquati Severini Boetii, De institutione arithmetica libri duo; De institutione musica libri quinque Accedit geometria quae fertur Boetii, ed. Gottfried Friedlein (Leipzig, 1867), p.179; Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, Fundamentals of Music, trans. Calvin Bower, ed. Claude V. Palisca (New Haven, 1989), p.2. 4 ‘Hinc etiam morum quoque maximae permutationes fiunt.’ Boetii, De institutione, p.180; Boethius, Fundamentals, p.2. 5 ‘Lascivus quippe animus vel ipse lascivioribus delectatur modis vel saepe eosdem audiens emollitur ac frangitur. Rursus asperior mens vel incitatioribus gaudet vel incitatioribus asperatur.’ Boetii, De institutione, p.180; Boethius, Fundamentals, p.2. 6 ‘Ita ut sit modesta ac simplex et mascula nec effeminata nec fera nec varia.’ Boetii, De institutione, p.181; Boethius, Fundamentals, p.4.



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Boethius’s Fundamentals of Music was an ancient text, but it was also a Renaissance text, read and used by professional musicians, university students and those attending the private humanist schools.7 Thus, these principles that advocate the cultivation of musical judgement as a way of improving moral judgement were well known to Renaissance musicians and literati. They are mentioned within the introductory material of many Renaissance music treatises, both specialist and non-specialist. The Milanese choirmaster Franchinus Gaffurius, for example, notes in his Practica musicae (1496) that music is ‘a discipline especially designed to enhance character, as the wisest men agree’.8 Similarly, the Brescian humanist Carlo Valgulio, in his Contra viruperatorem musicae (1509), affirms that to listen to good music is ‘to adjust the opposing and differently orientated motions of our minds like lyre-strings, and make them always concordant’.9 The same points about music are also made in texts in which music is not the primary concern. Writing on the ideal cardinal in his De cardinalatu (1510), the Roman literato and Vatican administrator Paolo Cortesi, for example, notes that ‘music must be sought after for the sake of morals, inasmuch as the habit of passing judgement on what is similar to morals in its rational basis cannot be considered to be different from the habit of passing judgement on the rational basis of morals themselves, and of becoming expert in this latter judgement through imitation’.10 As a discipline of judgement that trains the capacity for moral judgement in general, the treatment of music is here closely aligned with the treatment of the virtue of prudence. In Italian Renaissance discussions of the virtues, prudence is identified precisely as the capacity for sound moral judgement in general. Castiglione articulates a common position when he claims that ‘[virtue as a whole] may be defined more or less as prudence and the knowledge of how to choose what is good’.11 The question of ‘judgement’ and its cultivation is a central concern for Castiglione, especially in relation to the virtues. To harbour virtue was to relin 7

On the study of music in the humanist schools, see for example, Claudio Gallico, ‘Musica nella Ca’ Giocosa’, Vittorino da Feltre e la Sua Scuola: Umanesimo, Pedagogia, Arti, ed. Nella Giannetto (Florence, 1981), pp.189–98. 8 ‘Quae presertim et moribus conferret: ut peritissimis placet.’ Franchinus Gaffurius, Practica Musice (Milan, 1496), [unpaginated] dedication; Franchinus Gaffurius, Practica Musicae, trans. and ed. Irwin Young (London, 1969), p.5. 9 ‘Contrarios et diversa spectantes animorum nostrorum motus quasi fides temperare et consonos semper inter se efficere poterimus.’ Carlo Valgulio, ‘Riposte to a Slanderer of Music’, pp.29–32, in The Liberal and Virtuous Art: Three Humanist Treatises on Music, ed. and trans. J. Donald Cullington (Newtownabbey, 2001), pp.89 and 99. 10 ‘Multi eam cantanque disciplinam quandam adhibendam esse volunt, que in symphonie modorumque cognitione versetur ... eodemque modo dicendum est, eam morum causa esse expetendam, siquidem consuescere de eo iudicare, quod simile morum rationi sit, nihil aliud videri potest quam consuescere de morum ratione iudicare, in eoque exerceri imitando.’ Paolo Cortese, De Cardinalatu libri tres (San Gimignano, 1510), chapter 2, published and translated in Nino Pirrotta, ‘Music and Cultural Tendencies in 15th-Century Italy’, Journal of the American Musicological Society 19 (1966), 127–61 (147–55, specifically 148 and 152). See also Baldassare Castiglione, The Book of the Courtier, trans. George Bull (London, 1967), pp.94–5. 11 ‘La virtú si po quasi dir una prudenzia ed un sapere eleggere il bene.’ Baldassare Castiglione, Il Cortegiano, con una scelta delle Opere minori, ed. Bruno Maier (Torino, 1955),

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quish vice, and in Il Cortegiano he explains that it is the ‘imprudence and ignorance’ (imprudenzia ed ignoranzia) of vice that draws us into ‘making false judgements’ (giudicar falsamente). Like an art or skill, virtue needs to be taught, for it is a ‘skilful practice’ (artificiosa consuetudine) that requires nurturing and assistance from a teacher in order to fully develop.12 Learning musical judgement was repeatedly claimed to be an effective way of acquiring and practising such moral ‘skill’. In his Theorica musicae (1492), Gaffurius gives an account of the three categories of musician and of the nature of musical judgement that is heavily indebted to Boethius. The first two, lower, categories include those who play instruments and those who compose songs. Gaffurius’s third and highest category is ‘those who possess the expertise for judging, so that they are truly able to grasp rhythms and melodies and also song as a whole’, something they achieve through ‘reasoning and speculation’ (ratione e speculatione).13 He goes on, in a chapter devoted to ‘The Judgement of Music’ (De Iudicio Musices), to draw a clear distinction between those musical insights accessible to the ear alone, and those which can only be achieved with the help of the intellect. ‘Every exercise of musical art is appropriate to the sense of hearing’, Gaffurius acknowledges, ‘Yet not hearing alone, which is often inconsistent and variable, but the reason arrogates to itself firm judgement.’14 Even though ‘life itself is produced instant by instant through the senses, yet in them there is no certain judgement and no comprehension of truth if the judging power of the intellect is absent’.15 In this conception, musical judgement according to rational principles is clearly identified with the ‘liberal’ musician, a person of noble status for whom professional activities would be inappropriate. Gaffurius was a professional musician, but nonetheless sought to identify himself among ‘those who possess the expertise for judging’, because to do so confirmed (or constructed) his elite status. The demonstration of musical judgement was therefore an activity that linked morality and status: the moral training afforded by music confirmed participants in their ethical nobility – that is, their nobility as described in Aristotle’s influential Nicomachean Ethics, rather than as defined by their financial resources. Musical judgement is here linked directly with the enormous Renaissance discourse on the ‘virtues’ as markers of ethical nobility. p.463; Castiglione, The Courtier, p.292. Prudence is treated first of all the virtues by Cortesi, on the very first page of De cardinalatu. 12 Castiglione, Il Cortegiano, pp.462–3; Castiglione, The Courtier, pp.291–2. 13 ‘Quod iudicandi peritiam summit: ut rhythmos et cantilenas atque totum carmen veraciter appraehendere possit.’ Franchinus Gaffurius, Theorica musicae (Milan, 1492), fol.15r; Franchinus Gaffurius, The Theory of Music, trans. Walter Kurt Kreyszig, ed. Claude V. Palisca (New Haven, 1993), p.41. 14 ‘Quanquam aurium sensibus omnis competat musicae artis exercitatio … nec tamen solus auditus qui saepe inconstans et varibilis est: sed ipsa ratio certum sibi assummit iudicium.’ Gaffurius, Theorica musicae, fol.16v; Gaffurius, The Theory of Music, p.44. 15 ‘Nam quanuis omnium pene artium momenta atque ipsius vitae sensuum occasione producta sint: nullum tamen in iis iudicium certum: nulla veri est compraehensio si arbitrium rationis abscedat.’ Gaffurius, Theorica musicae, fol.16v; Gaffurius, The Theory of Music, p.45.



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Boethius and Gaffurius give several indications as to the types of music-critical understanding and comment that might signal membership of their elite third category of musicians, including discernment in mode, rhythm, types or genres of song, consonance and ‘the songs of the poets’, which presumably draws aspects of poetics into the mix. It is clear from a reading of Plato and Aristotle that the first and most important judgement to be made concerning mode is that of their ethical effect, good or bad – a perspective repeated in Quintilian’s Institutio Oratoria, which enjoyed an enormous circulation in Italy following its ‘rediscovery’ by Poggio Bracciolini in 1416 and appeared in an Aldine edition in 1514.16 Quintilian’s account in particular is echoed in Gaffurius’s Practica musicae, where ‘theatrical and effeminate music which destroys rather than forms public morals’ is differentiated from ‘moderate, manly music celebrated by the ancient heroes … which was certainly a great inducement to kindle their eagerness for brave deeds’.17 This basic principle of musical judgement also structured widely read, non-specialist discussions of music, for example the initial treatment of music in Castiglione’s dialogue Il Cortegiano. First, Lodovico Canossa recommends music for the ideal courtier, in terms that give first place to ‘understanding’, second place to ‘reading’ and only third place to ‘playing’.18 Gaspare Pallavicino counters with the view that music is effeminate and effeminising. Lodovico argues in response that musical understanding (held by philosophers, not practical musicians) allows rational investigation of universal and human truths, that it is associated with ancient heroes and commanders, and that it controls the emotions.19 Both of the positions in this argument reflect ‘knowledge of the principles of music’, in that Gaspare and Lodovico both refer to music’s capacity to control ethical states; understood as a bifurcation of Castiglione’s own subject position, the two together allow him to articulate his own capacity to distinguish between ‘effeminate music’ and ‘manly music’ (to borrow Gaffurius’s terminology), thus demonstrating his status-affirming membership of Boethius and Gaffurius’s third – highest – category of musician. When music returns as a topic for discussion in the second book of Il Cortegiano, it is practical rather than speculative musicianship that is at issue, but nonetheless the entire passage can similarly be read as a series of correct ‘judgements’ about music – indeed it is introduced as such, with the phrase: ‘My judgement is the 16

See Quintilian, The Institutio Oratoria of Quintilian, trans. H.E. Butler (London, 1920), p.175. 17 ‘Non hanc Theatralem atque effoeminatam intelligo quae mores publicos corrumpit potius quam informet: sed illam modestam atque virilem antiquis heroibus celebratam … quod maximum profecto ad virtutis studia incitamentum fuit.’ Gaffurius, Practica Musice, dedication; Gaffurius, Practica Musicae, p.6. 18 ‘Signori … avete a sapere ch’io non mi contento del cortegiano s’egli non è ancor musico e se, oltre allo intendere ed esser sicuro a libro, non sa di varii instrumenti’ (Gentlemen, I must tell you that I am not satisfied with our courtier unless he is also a musician and unless, as well as understanding and being able to read music, he can play several instruments). Castiglione, Il Cortegiano, p.168; Castiglione, The Courtier, p.94. 19 Castiglione, Il Cortegiano, pp.169–71; Castiglione, The Courtier, pp.94–5.

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same with regard to music.’20 First a judgement is made about the appropriate occasion for and manner of musical performance – that is, infrequently and reluctantly. Next, a judgement is made about the genre and instrumentation to be used – song and stringed instruments, and especially solo song to the accompaniment of bowed strings, but not wind instruments. Then, a judgement must be made about the setting and the audience for a performance: among those of the same elite status, and in relative privacy. Finally, a judgement must be made concerning one’s own suitability as a performer: echoing Aristotle (Politics, Book 8), Castiglione recommends that musical performance should be undertaken during youth, to cultivate good judgement that may be enjoyed and displayed in old age. To the extent that Il Cortegiano can be taken to offer a guide to ideal courtly manners, this section on music sets out a series of sound musical judgements that the reader might take as a model. Here the connection noted earlier between musical judgement and status is again made clear: the speaker, Federico Fregoso, encapsulates the topic of music in a courtly context as a series of essentially social judgements about the practice of music-making, modelling which will confirm a courtier in his entitlement to that status.

The Judgement of Midas Writing in his Liber de natura et proprietate tonorum completed in Naples late in 1476, Tinctoris complains of the defects he had found in the musical judgement of his contemporaries: I have known and put to the test many people, not deaf, but experts in the art of music, who, admiring the size, not the beauty, of the voice, prefer calflike bellowings to moderate rationalities and, as I say, angelic songs. Concerning such people, I consider it appropriate that divine power turn their stupid ears from their human form into those of an ass, just as happened to King Midas when he absurdly placed the pipe of Pan before the cithara of Apollo.21

In this passage Tinctoris contrasts those who judge musical value on the basis of sheer noise, thus preferring animalistic vocalisations, with those who judge musical value on the basis of beauty, who are able to recognise the rational foundations of harmony and its relationship to the divine. In this he follows a line similar to that of Gaffurius, who, as we saw above, noted that the judgement of the sense of 20

‘Il medesimo giudico della musica.’ Castiglione, Il Cortegiano, p.207 (the passage runs pp.207–10); Castiglione, The Courtier, p.120 (120–2). 21 ‘Si quae vera fateri licet, complures non surdos, sed artis musicae expertes novi, et expertus sum qui vocis grossiciem non venustatem admirantes, vitulinos mugitus moderatis rationabilibus, et ut ita dicam, angelicis cantibus praeferunt. Quos existimo dignos, ut numine divino, quemadmodum regi Midae cytharam Phoebi fistulae Panos insulse postponenti contigit, stolidarum aurium eorum humana figura in asininam convertatur.’ Johannes Tinctoris, Opera Theoretica, ed. Albert Seay, 2 vols (Rome, 1975), vol.1, pp.65–104 (p.69); Tinctoris, Concerning the Nature and Propriety of Tones, trans. Albert Seay, 2nd edn (Colorado Springs, 1976), p.5 (substantially altered).



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hearing was not in itself reliable, but must be made subject to the intellect. Both forms of musical judgement, Tinctoris affirms sardonically, can be presented as ‘expert’, but, he implies, only one is truly so. To give his point rhetorical force, Tinctoris refers directly to the story of the judgement of Midas. Literate Italians of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries would have encountered the Midas story first and foremost in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. But few would have engaged directly or exclusively with Ovid’s text; rather, in line with the entire medieval reception of Ovid, their encounters with the myth would have been mediated by the rich tradition of commentaries, allegories and re-tellings surrounding and sometimes entirely replacing Ovid’s text.22 These texts assume that behind each of Ovid’s stories lies an allegorical meaning, and they purport to explain to the reader, either implicitly (by paraphrasing or translating the myth) or explicitly (by commenting upon it) what that meaning is. As such, the role of Ovid’s stories in any particular context is revealed not so much by the events narrated as by the way in which they are told. Italians able to read Ovid’s Latin in the years around 1520 would most likely have encountered it surrounded by the commentary of the Veneto humanist Raffaele Regio. Sometime lecturer in classical literature at the University of Padua and a dedicated polemicist, Regio’s edition of the Metamorphoses enhanced with his ‘enarrationes’ was first published in pirate editions in 1492 and 1493, and went on to be the most-printed Latin Metamorphoses of the sixteenth century.23 In his relatively restrained commentary on the Midas story, Regio is at particular pains to assert the King’s dull-wittedness. His dissent from the ‘true verdict’ (vero sententia) of Tmolus arises directly from his ‘natural foolishness’ (naturali stultitia), and the ass’s ears are the means ‘by which his stupidity would be made known’ (quibus ipsius stoliditas indicaretur), the result and the evidence of his ‘senseless judgement’ (sententia vecordiam).24 The Latin text presented and glossed in Regio’s Metamorphoses was often read alongside Giovanni Boccaccio’s hugely influential mythographic reference work, the Genealogia deorum gentilium, which was published several times in Venice in the years around 1500.25 On looking up Midas in the Genealogia, readers would find no mention of his involvement in a musical contest, but would find his golden 22

A useful survey of the Metamorphoses commentary tradition up to the fifteenth century can be found in William Caxton, The Booke of Ovyde Named Methamorphose, ed. Richard J. Moll (Oxford, 2013), pp.7–19. 23 See Edoardo Fumagalli, ‘Osservazioni sul primo libro del commento di Raffaele Regio alle Metamorfosi’, Metamorphosen: Festschrift für Bodo Guthmüller zum 65. Geburtstag, ed. Heidi Marek, Anne Neuschäfer and Susanne Tichy (Wiesbaden, 2002), pp.81–93 (82–3); and Raffaele Regio, In Ovidii Metamorphosin Enarrationes I (Libri I–IV), ed. Matteo Benedetti (Florence, 2009). 24 Ovid, Metamorphosis cum luculentissimis Raphaelis Regii enarrationibus: quibus cum alia quondam ascripta sunt: qui exemplaribus antea impressis non inveniuntur: tum eorum apologia quae fuerant a quibusdam repraehensa (Venice, 1513), copy consulted at Pilsen, Západočeské muzeum v Plzni: 503 F 007, fol.279r. 25 See Giovanni Boccaccio, Genealogy of the Pagan Gods, trans. Jon Solomon, 2 vols (Cambridge, MA, 2011), vol.1, p.827.

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touch adduced as an example of those who are ‘influenced by wrong judgement’ (falso tracti iudicio) and thereby fall into poverty.26 Boccaccio has more to say about Apollo’s musicianship, however, identifying him securely with the rational Pythagorean tradition, indeed as its originator: [the Ancients] thought him to be the moderator and conductor of the celestial harmony and that by knowledge and demonstration of their measures he produced the modes assigned to the nine different orbits of the spheres.27

Perhaps the earliest printed Italian vernacular account of the Midas story is that appearing in the commentary on Dante’s Divina Commedia written by the Florentine humanist and Medici client Cristoforo Landino, first printed in Florence in 1481 and often thereafter. Landino tells the story in his commentary on Canto XX, where Midas is adduced as an example of avarice (Dante points only to the golden touch story).28 Here there are substantial deviations from the Ovidian narrative, drawing on the alternative version transmitted in the widely disseminated Mitologiarum of the late antique mythographer Fulgentius, who conflates the Midas story with that of the flaying of Marsyas.29 Fulgentius’s version begins with Minerva inventing the aulos, but casting it aside when she realises that playing it gives her face a ‘shameful’ (turpia) appearance: in rejecting the aulos, Minerva symbolises ‘wisdom’ for Fulgentius. Marsyas then finds the pipe and challenges Apollo; they choose Midas as the umpire, and his erroneous judgement follows. Landino, departing in this respect from Fulgentius, extends Minerva’s role by having her join Midas in the role of judge: ‘Sitting in judgement were Minerva and Midas, King of Lydia. Apollo won according to the true judgement (vero iudicio) of Minerva; but Midas, as a dunce (indocto), favoured Marsyas.’30 Whereas Fulgentius labels Marsyas a ‘fool’ for his lack of technical understanding of music in favouring the aulos over the lyre, Landino accepts that the satyr was ‘expert’ (docto) in music; his error, for Landino, was instead one of social decorum – he was sufficiently ‘insolent and rash’ (insolente e temerario) to think of challenging Apollo, the god 26

Boccaccio, Genealogy of the Pagan Gods, Book I, chap.23, line 1. ‘Lyra canere et Musis preesse eum ideo voluere, quia putaverint eum celestis melodie moderatorem et principum et inter novem sperarum circuitiones varias, tanquam inter novem Musas, notitia et demonstratione earundem modulos exhibentem.’ Boccaccio, Genealogy of the Pagan Gods, Book V, chap.3, line 10. 28 Cristoforo Landino, Divina Commedia di Dante Alighieri: col commento di Christoforo Landino (Brescia, 1487), no page nos, but image 480 in the e-viewer provided by the Bibliothèque Nationale de France http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k2063109/ f7.image. Accessed 20/2/2018. 29 Fabius Planciades Fulgentius, Fabii Planciadis Fulgentii ... Opera, ed. Rudolfus Helm (Leipzig, 1898), pp.73–7; Fulgentius the Mythographer, ed. and trans. L.G. Whitbread ([Columbus], 1971), pp.93–5. On the medieval and Renaissance reception of Fulgentius’s Mitologiarum, see Fulgentius the Mythographer, pp.24–31. 30 ‘Sedevono iudici Minerva et Mida re dilidia: Vinxe Appolline secondo eluero iudicio di Minerva. Ma mida chome indocto favori a marsia’. Landino, Divina Commedia, image 480. 27



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of the art of music (dio dellarte musica).31 Musical skill is here linked with social skill and status, a common theme in contemporary reflections both on this story, and on the topic of musical judgement. Fulgentius and Landino are in agreement, though, that Midas was ‘inexpert’ (indocto – Landino), ‘an ignoramus’ (nihil sciens – Fulgentius) and entirely lacking in musical understanding of any kind. For readers who required a vernacular Ovid, a more obvious source was the Ovidio Metamorphoseos vulgare, an Italian moralised paraphrase completed in the 1370s by Giovanni Bonsignori, a prominent politician in his home town of Città di Castello, which was first printed in an illustrated Venetian edition of 1497.32 Unlike the French prose Ovide, which follows Fulgentius in focusing on the comparison of aulos and lyre, in the Ovidio vulgare (as in Ovid’s text) the contest plays out between people, not instruments, and the musical outcome is caught up in questions of social position.33 Pan is the ‘god of rustics’ (dio di villani), living in the mountains, making music that is ‘very bucolic and rustic’ (ta[n]to contadino e rustico) and even ‘barbarous’ (barbaro). Midas, Pan’s devotee, is similarly ‘barbarous’, and he is also ‘dull-witted, … mad and stupid’ (hauea in se assai grosseza … mato e stolto). Apollo, in contrast, is the laurel-crowned inhabitant of Parnassus, and his playing is ‘sweet’ (sonaua dolcemente). The allegorical explanation that follows the story in the Ovidio vulgare is indebted to, but differs from, that of Fulgentius. Apollo is identified simply as ‘wisdom’ (la sapientia), and Tmolus is to be understood as ‘the judgement of the wise’ (lo iudicio di sauii). Pan, in contrast, stands for ‘ignorant people’ (ignora[n]ti) whose speech is like the wind, signifying nothing. The ‘error and disgrace’ of such people ‘is that inwardly [they] are devoid of wisdom, just as the reeds are vacant and empty and are said to be played by shepherds, and thus people such as these are praised by the ignorant, [but] are of little account’.34 Midas’s musical judgement is subjected to a subtle critique: he signifies ‘the person who only considers the voice and not the intrinsic melody, which means to consider only that which an ass hears’.35 Like an ass, he is capable of hearing, but not of musical comprehension. These variations upon Ovid outline a range of complementary reflections on the operation of musical judgement, and on its relationship with judgement in general. As Regio makes particularly clear, Midas is not just musically inept, rather 31

Fulgentius: ‘Marsyas enim Grece quasi morosis, id est stultus solus, qui in arte musica tibiam praeponere voluit citharae’. Fulgentius, Opera, p.76; Fulgentius the Mythographer, p.95. 32 See Bodo Guthmüller, Ovidio metamorphoseos vulgare: forme e funzioni della trasposizione in volgare della poesia classica nel Rinascimento italiano, trans. Paola Pacchioni, rev. Italian edn (Fiesole, 2008). 33 Ovide, Metamorphose (Bruge, 1484), copy consulted Bruges, Openbare Bibliotheek: 3877, fols.272v–273v; Ovidio metamorphoseos vulgare (Venice, 1497), copy consulted Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale: Pal. D.7.5.19, fols.93r–94r. 34 Ibid. ‘El loro errore ela loro vergogna lequale gente sono dentro vacui di sapientia: si como le chane son vode e buse & dice che e sonate da li pastori e cussi e percio che quelli cotali sono laudati da gente ignorante: e de picolo afare.’ 35 Ibid. ‘Per Mida: … itendo lhomo che solo considera la voce e non le melodie intrinsiche: & tale e a considerare questo: qual che audire uno asino.’

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his poor musical judgement arises from, and is an example of, his stupidity in general: he is ‘naturally foolish’, ‘stupid’, ‘dull-witted’. His poor judgement, and that of Pan and Marsyas, is also made evident in other ways in the story. Ovid notes that from the outset the contest is ‘unequal’: it cannot be won for the simple reason that Apollo is of higher status than Pan (or Marsyas). To provoke such a contest, then, is in itself an error of social judgement – ‘insolent and rash’, as Landino says. The low status of Pan, Midas and Marsyas is clarified and linked with their musicianship in their pervasive characterisation as rural simpletons: as per the Ovidio vulgare they are ‘rustic’, ‘bucolic’ and ‘barbarous’, sharing their musical practice with shepherds (who are ‘of little account’), and they are ‘ignorant’. Ignorance here is not an excuse for poor judgement, in the sense of ‘untutored’, rather it is a clear marker of status, evidence of the ethical ‘poverty’ that Boccaccio identifies as arising from ‘wrong judgement’. As in the golden touch episode, however wealthy King Midas may be, his noble status is ethically undermined by his ignorance. In the particular context of the musical contest, the nature of Midas’s ignorance, and that of his cohort, is specific: as Fulgentius explains at length, he lacks a technical understanding of music; he is ‘inexpert’ in it, to use Landino’s term. Midas’s punishment allows Bonsignori (like Gaffurius above) to distinguish between two types of musical perception: one led by sense alone, which is essentially bestial (and in this the ass’s ears are a mirror of Pan’s goat legs), and one inflected by intellect. Capable only of the former, for Midas to presume to pass musical judgement is in itself another example of his poor judgement in general; his pronouncements are empty, ‘like the wind’, and serve only to draw attention to their own vacuity. While musical ignorance provides signal evidence of Midas’s ‘senseless judgement’ in general, and thereby undermines his ethical nobility, in contrast the ‘true’ and ‘just’ musical judgement of Tmolus, Apollo and Minerva is ample demonstration of their ‘wisdom’. As Boccaccio and Fulgentius both make clear, the nature of Apollo’s musical expertise lies in his mastery of Pythagoras’s rational account of musical harmony, an accomplishment that is allied to divine understanding (as Tinctoris hints). Minerva, in discarding her pipe, also demonstrates that she possesses the technical understanding that Fulgentius shows was needed to distinguish the qualities of the different instruments.

Representing Midas Renaissance readings of the Midas story allow for the myth to articulate the contemporary understanding of musical judgement in a number of different ways. The poor musical judgement demonstrated by Midas and Pan exemplifies and symbolises their ‘wrong judgement’ in general; and conversely, the ‘true’ musical judgement of Tmolus, Apollo and Minerva demonstrates their ‘wisdom’ in general. Thus, the story as a whole reflects the intimate relationship between the judgement of music specifically and moral judgement in general that is a central precept of the discourse on musical judgement. The musical choice on offer – between barbarous, lusty Pan and rational, refined Apollo – maps readily onto the distinction between lascivious, animalistic music and rational, heroic music that was the defining judgement required of the expert musician. Midas’s error can be



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read as one of strictly musical judgement – a misunderstanding of the hierarchy of the instruments arising from a lack of familiarity with Pythagorean music theory – or as one of social judgement about music-making – failing to appreciate the inappropriateness of Pan’s challenge to Apollo and of his rustic musical manner. Midas’s bestial disfigurement reveals that his judgement relies on sensory experience alone, as does that of a beast, lacking the admixture of intellect that results in ‘firm judgement’ (Gaffurius). Midas’s musical ignorance, exemplifying his wrong judgement in general, can be understood to undermine his noble status as a king, reducing him to a ‘poverty’ (Boccaccio’s term) that is both ethical and financial. Visual representations of the Midas myth articulate and emphasise different aspects of this constellation of readings, in varying contexts, and stand alongside the texts discussed above as distinctive interventions in the Renaissance discourse on musical judgement. The story of the flaying of Marsyas enjoyed a substantial visual reception in fifteenth-century Italy, thanks largely to the survival of an ancient cameo on the subject in the collection of the Medici.36 The story of the judgement of Midas, meanwhile, gathered a much more limited visual corpus, both in the ancient world and in Renaissance Italy. The subject was taken up by visual artists and their customers only in the context of the general growth in mythological painting witnessed from the 1490s and across the first decades of the sixteenth century.37 Among the earliest Italian paintings of Midas is a panel by the Veneto artist Cima da Conegliano. Experienced and esteemed as a painter of religious subjects, Cima completed only a handful of surviving secular works, all of them dating from the last decade or so of his life.38 Among the latest of all is a panel of the Judgement of Midas dated by Peter Humfrey to 1513–17 (see Plate VI).39 This painting shares its pastoral setting, and its mingling of ancient characters with moderns in Renaissance dress, with contemporary Venetian painting in the style associated with Giorgione. Instead of conveying a sense of narrative in its treatment of the story, the composition emphasises the moment of Midas’s erroneous judgement, or rather it focuses in on the act of judgement itself. A young Midas, in elite contemporary dress, occupies the centre of the painting, seated on a rock, looking directly at the (no doubt similarly attired) viewer. His hand is poised to indicate his judgement with a pointing finger, but he has not yet made his choice. Apollo and Pan, on either side of Midas, mirror one another in their poses. On the King’s left, Pan, goat-legged and horned, holds a lira da braccio rather than his usual pipe; his 36

On the flaying of Marsyas, see Emmanuel Winternitz, ‘The Curse of Pallas Athena’, Musical Instruments and their Symbolism in Western Art (New Haven, 1967), pp.150–65; and Edith Wyss, The Myth of Apollo and Marsyas in the Art of the Italian Renaissance (Newark, NJ, 1996). 37 See for example, discussion of the ‘Ovidian Renaissance’ in Leonard Barkan, The Gods Made Flesh: Metamorphosis and the Pursuit of Paganism (New Haven, 1986), pp.171–242. 38 On Cima’s secular works, see Peter Humfrey, Cima da Conegliano (Cambridge, 1983), pp.54–60. Cima also executed an earlier tondo of The Judgement of Midas dated c.1505– 10, not discussed in the present study. 39 Humfrey, Cima, catalogue no.38.

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bow, at rest in his left hand, projects forward from his groin, standing in for his anatomical phallus, which is obscured by an ivy wreath about his waist.40 On Midas’s right, Apollo, golden-haired, still playing upon his lira da braccio, is presented in ancient military garb (attire as archeologically inappropriate as Pan’s lira).41 Pan’s bow aligns his musicianship unambiguously with his lascivious nature; Apollo, on the other hand, plays the role of an ancient hero or commander refreshing himself with music as he rests from battle (textual sources often cite Achilles in this role). Behind Apollo, in shadow, Tmolus stands leaning on a staff, older in years than Midas and dressed in contemporary attire that is more modest and sober. This image presents Midas as a youth faced with the paradigmatic musical/ moral judgement between lascivious, effeminising music and manly, heroic music outlined in numerous textual sources of the period. That the composition configures his musical judgement unambiguously in moral terms is confirmed by a comparison with similar contemporary images in which music is located within a broader moral choice between virtue and vice. In an Allegory of Virtue and Vice painted by Lorenzo Lotto as a cover for his 1505 portrait of the Bishop of Treviso (see Plate VII), the picture space is divided into two halves by means of a tree, one side of which is sprouting while the other side is dead.42 On the side of vice, tall trees and clouds cast a sombre shadow over a drunken satyr with an erect penis who gazes into the depths of a wine vessel; in the background a ship sinks in a stormy sea. On the side of virtue, a break in the clouds casts a genial light upon a putto busy with the dividers of a geometrician, surrounded by other instruments symbolising the study of the liberal arts: a set square, sextant, books and musical instruments. Behind this studious child, a winged figure struggles up a steep hill towards a divine radiance. Hanging from the tree, as if guarding the boundary between virtue and vice, is a diaphanous shield bearing a gorgon’s head, the armour of the wise and virtuous goddess Minerva; leaning at its base on the side of virtue is a second shield bearing the arms of the painting’s owner, whose portrait this 40

No doubt responding to musicological literature emphasising the dichotomy between wind and stringed instruments, David Alan Brown takes the fact Pan is playing a lira da braccio rather than a pipe to be a symbolic problem requiring subtle interpretation (David Alan Brown et al., Bellini, Giorgione, Titian, and the Renaissance of Venetian Painting (New Haven, 2006), p.154). In fact, the opposition of wind and strings has generally been overstated, coming to stand in for and obscure the more subtle moral categories and oppositions described in the present study. Satyrs do normally play pipes, but stringed instruments are not uncommon: see for example, Jacopo di’ Barbari, Satyr’s Family, engraving, c.1503–4, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Giovanni Agostino da Lodi, Pan and Syrinx, oil on panel, c.1510, Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection; and Girolamo Romanino, Concert champêtre, pen and brown ink, brown wash, over black chalk, c.1520–30, Metropolitan Museum, New York. 41 A real contemporary stringed instrument graced with the same name (‘lyre’) as an ancient stringed instrument, the lira da braccio was already well-established in Italian elite culture as the modern equivalent of the instrument played by Apollo, Orpheus, Arion and their cohort. See especially Nino Pirrotta and Elena Povoledo, Music and Theatre from Poliziano to Monteverdi, trans. Karen Eales (Cambridge, 1982), p.23ff. 42 Peter Humfrey, Painting in Renaissance Venice (New Haven, 1995), pp.138–40.



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allegory served both to conceal and to gloss. This composition is not unique: other Venetian examples of similar date are known.43 These images offer the viewer a straightforward choice between vice – exemplified by the lusty satyr – which leads to death, and virtue – exemplified by the rational discipline of the liberal arts (including music) – which leads to eternal life. The viewer, like Midas in Cima’s panel, is caught in the moment of exercising their moral judgement, challenged to interrogate their behaviour and choose their path. Moral scenes such as these were often incorporated into items of domestic furniture such as decorated chests or cassoni. Such objects were intended to instruct their owners, presenting examples and counter-examples of praiseworthy behaviour for the viewer to reflect upon and seek to emulate.44 Cima’s Midas panel also very likely formed part of a decorated chest, as Humfrey has argued, and the challenge it poses to the viewer to exercise their musical judgement and thereby demonstrate their moral expertise should be seen in the context of domestic objects intended to fashion and improve their owners.45 A young Veneto nobleman of the 1510s would look into the foppish Midas’s eyes staring back as into a mirror, and consider the judgement that they would make in his place. The messages of another, slightly later, depiction of the judgement of Midas may have been aimed instead at a noblewoman, for reasons that are not immediately obvious. The Apollo and Marsyas by the Florentine artist Agnolo Bronzino (see Plate VIII) presents a very different version of the Midas story, close to and probably inspired by the Fulgentius-derived account found in Landino’s commentary on Dante.46 Landino writes: It is written in the fables that Minerva, playing the pipe – that is, the flute or shawm – above the water of Lake Tritonis, saw herself puffing out her cheeks. Because this seemed an ugly thing she threw the pipe away, no longer wishing to 43

For example, Venetian school, Allegory, oil on panel, c.1530, National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC. 44 See for example, Graziano Manni, Mobili in Emilia: con una indagine sulla cività dell’arredo alla corte degli Estense (Modena, 1986), pp.74–86; Denise Allen and Luke Syson, Ercole de’ Roberti: The Renaissance in Ferrara (Los Angeles, 1999), pp.xxxii– xxxiii; Luke Syson and Dora Thornton, Objects of Virtue: Art in Renaissance Italy (London, 2001), pp.69-77; Luke Syson, Renaissance Siena: Art for a City (London, 2007), pp.220–45; and Tim Shephard, ‘A Mirror for Princes: The Ferrarese Mirror Frame in the V&A and the Instruction of Heirs’, Journal of Design History 26 (2013), 104–14. 45 Humfrey, Cima, catalogue no.38. Humfrey’s alternative suggestion that the panel formed the lid of a clavichord is unlikely given the painting’s size (43 x 73 cm) – a clavichord lid would normally be somewhat larger. 46 This painting is discussed in Wyss, The Myth of Apollo and Marsyas, pp.108–11; Maurice Brock, Bronzino (Paris; London, 2002), pp.42–8; and Carlo Falciani and Antonio Natali, eds, Bronzino: Painter and Poet at the Court of the Medici (Florence, 2010), pp.84–5. John T. Spike’s assertion that the Hermitage panel is actually an early copy of Bronzino’s original, which in his view is to be identified with a painting held in a private collection, has not been widely accepted: see Spike, ‘Rediscovery: Apollo and Marsyas by Bronzino’, FMR 73, English edn (1995), 14–24.

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play it. It was found by the satyr Marsyas, and persevering in practising on the pipe he became expert in music, but was so insolent and rash that he thought himself better than Apollo the god of the art of music, and challenged him to sing. Sitting in judgement were Minerva and Midas, King of Lydia. Apollo won according to the true judgement of Minerva; but Midas, as a dunce, favoured Marsyas. For this reason Apollo gave to Midas the ears of an ass, and flayed Marsyas.47

On Bronzino’s panel Landino’s account is split into three episodes, with a fourth added from a source closer to the Ovidian original. At the extreme right, the contest is in process. Marsyas, depicted as a human rather than a satyr, holds his pipe dramatically upward as he plays, such that it forms a direct line with the vertical leafy stem obscuring his loins: like Pan with his bow in Cima’s painting, Marsyas’s musicianship is aligned both visually and metaphorically with his lascivious nature. Apollo faces away from the viewer, a dramatic light falling onto his broad, muscular back, whose contours obscure and are echoed in the broad curving back of his lira da braccio: his musicianship, in contrast to Marsyas’s, is one with his heroic masculinity. Sitting in judgement are a gormlessly slumped Midas, and Minerva, a goddess associated with wisdom and feminine virtue, but also a military figure equipped (as here) with armour, shield and lance. In the middle of the panel, Apollo appears again, knife in hand, imposing his terrible penalty on Marsyas; the skin on the satyr’s legs has already been peeled back to reveal red muscles. Further back, towards the left, Apollo has Midas firmly by the ears, and Minerva looks on in approval as they are turned into the ears of an ass. Three references to this painting dating from later in the sixteenth century place it in a striking context. In a book printed in 1584, Raffaello Borghini notes that Bronzino ‘painted for Duke Guidobaldo of Urbino on the case of an arpicordo the myth of Apollo and Marsyas with many figures, the which work is held to be a most rare thing’.48 Giorgio Vasari mentions the painting twice in his biographical compendium of visual artists, Le Vite de’Piu Eccellenti Pittori Scultori ed Architettori: he notes that ‘Bronzino was forced to remain longer than he wished with this prince, and painted for him the case of an arpicordo, which pleased the prince greatly’, and later describes ‘the aforementioned arpicordo case’ as ‘full of figures, which was a

47

‘E scripto nelle fauole che Minerua sonando latibia che e o zufolol: o piffero sopra lacqua della pallude tritone si uide gonfiare legote. Ilche gli parue chosa si brutta che gitto latibia: Ne piu uolle sonarla: Marsia satyro latrouo: e perseuerando nel sonarla diuento docto musico: ma tanto insolente e temerario che si preponeua ad appolline dio dellarte musica & prouocollo a cantare. Sedeuono iudici Minerua et Mida re dilidia: Vinxe Appolline secondo eluero iudicio di Minerua. Ma mida chome indocto fauori a marsia. Ilperche apolline fece amida orecchi dasino: & marsia scortico.’ Landino, Divina Commedia, image 480. 48 ‘Dipinse a Guidobaldo Duca d’Urbino entro una cassa d’Arpicordo la favola d’Apollo, e di Marsia con molte figure, la qual opera è tenuta cosa rarissima.’ Raffaello Borghini, Il reposo (Florence, 1584), p.534.



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rare thing’.49 Bronzino’s encounter with Guidobaldio II della Rovere, then in his late teens and not yet duke, took place in Pesaro in the early 1530s, and the painting is dated to c.1530–2. The term ‘arpicordo’ in sixteenth-century Italy denoted not a harpsichord as one might expect, but a rather smaller keyboard instrument, the polygonal virginals (see Plate IX).50 The technical report on the painting prepared by the Hermitage Museum notes that its shape was altered early on to bring it from an irregular trapeze to a regular rectangle, indicating that its original form did indeed match the usual shape of a polygonal virginals lid.51 This means, of course, that the cautionary tale of Midas and Marsyas’s poor judgement was presented specifically to the instrument’s user, as they sat down and lifted the lid ready to play. The keyboard of a polygonal virginals is conventionally slightly offset to the left, such that the more disquieting punishment of Marsyas would be most directly in front of the player. The rose in the instrument’s soundboard, meanwhile, notionally the gap through which the sound escapes, was usually offset to the right in relation to the keyboard, locating it approximately beneath the performers Apollo and Marsyas, as if the owner’s playing is also presented to Minerva and Midas for their judgement. The figure lying on the ground at the extreme left of the painting refers to the final episode of the Midas story, which has not yet been mentioned in this study. After receiving his ass’s ears, Midas enlists his barber to help camouflage them and thus save him from embarrassment. Sworn to secrecy, the barber struggles to keep his employer’s disfigurement to himself, so he digs a hole in the ground, whispers the secret into the earth, and then fills in the hole again. Unfortunately the reeds that subsequently grow in the spot, when voiced by the wind, publish the secret abroad. In the case of Bronzino’s panel, the barber is effectively whispering Midas’s secret into the body of the virginals, so that it might be voiced by its owner’s playing. The instrument in performance here completes a kind of symbolic circuit, echoing around the different episodes of the Midas story: at the extreme left the secret of the King’s ears is given voice by the instrument, the sound of which is then presented to the judges Minerva and Midas at the extreme right; the potential outcome of their judgement, visited upon the person of the performer, is then acted out in the centre of the panel. The judgement between effeminate and manly music is clearly central to Bronzino’s treatment of the story, as it was to the others considered above: Apollo’s heroic musculature is aligned with wise Minerva’s military bearing, while Marsyas’s lusty musicianship is affiliated to Midas’s gormless recumbency. In the dead centre of the panel, Marsyas’s punishment takes precedence over Midas’s because it is the punishment appropriate to the performer, rather than the judge, and, attached to a virginals, this image is presented first and foremost to a performer. The real 49

Giorgio Vasari, Le Vite de’Piu Eccellenti Pittori Scultori ed Architettori Scritte da Giorgio Vasari, Pittore Aretino, con Nouve Annotazioni e Commenti di Gaetano Milanesi, ed. Gaetano Milanesi, 9 vols (Florence, 1878–85), vol.6, p.276; vol.7, p.595. 50 See Denzil Wraight, ‘Arpicordo,’ Grove Music Online www.oxfordmusiconline.com/ subscriber/article/grove/music/01330. Accessed 9/2/2015. 51 Falciani and Natali, eds, Bronzino, pp.84–5.

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performer, in using the instrument, is evidently invited by Bronzino’s panel to consider their relationship to the different figures in the Midas story and the musical/moral positions they adopt. Will their playing be approved by Minerva, or by Midas? Will they play the role of the flayer, or the flayed? Will their playing, voicing the barber’s secret, reveal their musical expertise, or their lack thereof? Although Vasari and Borghini report that the panel was made for Guidobaldo, it may well be that the instrument was not played exclusively, or even primarily, by the young heir. Bláithín Hurley has argued, on the basis of Venetian domestic inventories, that in sixteenth-century Italy, keyboard instruments were particularly popular among women and girls.52 Guidobaldo’s mother Eleonora Gonzaga, Duchess of Urbino is one possible user, as is Guidobaldo’s younger sister Ippolita, who would have been around seven years of age when the virginals case was decorated. In 1534, probably falling a year or two after the painting was completed, Guidobaldo married the eleven-year-old Duchess of Camerino, Giulia Varano, and she may also have played on the instrument. It is perhaps with these female users specifically in mind that Landino’s version of the story, assigning the role of true musical judge to the goddess Minerva, was chosen.53 The practical instruction in music received by the della Rovere women from their keyboard tutors was, perhaps, accompanied by ethical instruction in music received from their instrument’s decorations.

Conclusions These paintings by Cima and Bronzino partake in the instructional tone of contemporary decorated domestic furniture, presenting a choice between virtue and vice, articulated through music, and challenging the viewer to interrogate their own musical and moral expertise, and formulate their position in relation to the story’s poles of Midas/Pan/Marsyas and Tmolus/Apollo/Minerva. The two images also articulate the myth, and place it in relation to the broader discourse on musical judgement, in different ways. Both foreground the first and most important distinction achieved by the expert musical judge: that between effeminising, lascivious music that will make the listener fear death, and manly, heroic music that will inspire them to brave deeds. Both also thereby highlight the relationship between musical judgement and moral judgement. In Cima’s painting the opposition between Apollo and Pan is presented as a musical choice between vice and virtue: Midas is on the point of making his judgement, choosing between the two performers, and the moment of his judgement is at the heart of the painting. Social judgements, on the other hand, are implicit in Bronzino’s version of the story, in which Marsyas’s grizzly punishment – arising not from his musical ‘inexpertise’ but from his musical ‘insolence’ – takes centre stage. Here, though, the composition is designed to locate the myth’s messages about musical judgement 52

Bláithín Hurley, ‘Music and Domesticity in Sixteenth-Century Venice’, PhD Diss., University of Cambridge, 2015, pp.156–65, espec. p.160. 53 On the value of Minerva as a model for women’s musicianship, see Tim Shephard, Echoing Helicon: Music, Art and Identity in the Este Studioli, 1440–1530 (New York, 2014), pp.84–90.

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specifically in relation to a viewer caught in the act of musical performance – most likely, a female viewer, to whom Minerva is proposed as a model musician whose heroically ‘manly’ rational judgement she should seek to emulate. The coherence of the contemporary conception that linked musical training with moral judgement and the choice between virtue and vice is clear from the extent to which these images resonate not only with contemporary literary re-tellings of the myth, but also with contemporary comments on musical judgement arising from both musical specialists and non-specialists. Of course, this raises the perplexing question of exactly which musical styles would have been seen at the time as ‘lascivious’ and which as ‘heroic’, but the answer to that would depend heavily on which Renaissance Italian you asked. A theologian might argue that plainchant and the psalms alone are wholesome, and that all other music breeds vice. A moralistic poet might argue in favour of epic verse declaimed to the lira and decry love lyric sung to the lute; but a lyric poet could argue that the judgement lay in recognising the proper philosophical treatment of love. A secular singer might distinguish between an ‘effeminate’ performing style that employs vigorous ornamentation, and a ‘manly’ style that is plain and simple. A courtly amateur might want to argue that the judgement lies more in the manner and occasion of the performance – that is, that virtuous musicianship is a matter of decorum. More interesting, and more successful, than trying to pin contemporary Italians down to a single view of musical virtue and vice is to examine the broader implications of the Midas story and of the conception it articulates for our understanding of elite musical culture c.1520. To do so we need to recognise that a set of principles for the correct judgement of music is essentially an account of musical taste. Pierre Bourdieu famously argued that the formulation of taste judgements in twentieth-century France could be seen as a way of articulating social status, and of establishing that status as ‘natural’ and therefore legitimate, and the same can be said about musical taste in Renaissance Italy.54 In the story of Midas, musical difference is presented as an inevitable outcome of the difference in status between the elevated Apollo, Tmolus and Minerva, and the ‘rustic’ and ‘barbarous’ Pan, Marsyas and Midas. On the one hand, Midas’s poor judgement so undermines his noble status as a king that he is reduced to ‘poverty’ and to wandering the woods and hills in the company of lowly shepherds. On the other hand, the true musical judgement of Minerva and Tmolus identifies their high status as being founded in their ethical nobility. These differences are described as ‘natural’ – Midas is ‘naturally stupid’, bestial even, and no amount of instruction will cure his ignorance. Similarly, in the contemporary discourse on musical judgement the capacity for judgement is cultivated through the rational study of the liberal arts (meaning, of course, the arts suited to gentlemen and gentlewomen), and is contrasted with the illiberal labour of musical performers and with those whose judgement relies on sense alone. The natural ‘rightness’ of true musical judgement is clearly established with the help of the Pythagorean tradition, according to which the heavens and the human soul operate on the same 54

Pierre Bourdieu, Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste, trans. Richard Nice (London, 1984).

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principles of harmony as music: audible music is simply an envoicing of the harmony present in nature. To display ‘true’ musical judgement, therefore, was to stake a claim for elevated status arising from liberal education and ethical nobility; and the ‘trueness’ of elite musical taste arose directly from its foundations in the ordering of the universe at large. Understood in this way, elevated musical taste, as described in this essay, allowed the elite self to differentiate itself from its peasant other, in a way that established its elite status as natural and therefore legitimate. This is an important function indeed, within both courtly societies and patrician republics. Musical judgement, and especially the distinction between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ music, was mentioned often in Renaissance writings on music not because writers were mindlessly repeating a literary topos, but because that topos played an essential role in constructing their social world (a world in which writers must contest their status as vigorously as everyone else). Seen in this light, contemporary debates – within the spheres of theology, poetics, decorum and music itself – over exactly what constitutes ‘right’ music take on a new urgency, because it was through such cultural work that individual judgements on musical value were aligned with the general principle, which in itself was too vague to indicate a specific answer. Assertions about musical judgement, and arguments over musical value, are revealed in this analysis to play a fundamental role in the elite social world of Italy c.1520.

iii myths in renaissance philosophies of music

6

Marsilio Ficino and Girolamo Cardano under Orpheus’s Spell Jacomien Prins

T

he myth of Orpheus has cast a spell on some Italian Renaissance philosophers that is quite difficult to explain. To explain why they were so fascinated by Orpheus as a historical and mythological character, in this chapter I propose that precisely because of his elusive character, Orpheus could be used as a model to shape diverse, innovative theories about the relationship between God, nature, history, man, music and creativity. I begin with the place of Orpheus in Marsilio Ficino’s Timaeus commentary (1484/96). Ficino used Orpheus to dissolve temporal and cultural discrepancies between pagan philosophy and Christian thought. In line with some of his ancient and medieval predecessors, Ficino saw Orpheus as one of the earliest prophets and the founding father of Orphism, a religious cult concerned with the mysteries of the cosmos and with the secrets of the afterlife. In order to be able to reveal these secrets, Ficino stressed that the implication of the myth was that music possessed the power to alter the nature of all parts of the Creation to the extent of even conquering death. The second part of this chapter contrasts Ficino’s interpretation of Orpheus with that of Girolamo Cardano’s De tranquillitate (On Tranquillity, 1561). Cardano made the search for the secret behind those extraordinary lost powers of Orphic music one of the main themes of his musical thought. Although inspired by Ficino’s philosophy, Cardano departs strikingly from his famous predecessor in seeing Orpheus above all as a mythical, secular hero, and interpreted the famous myth of the power of his music through the lens of Aristotelian philosophy. Both case studies demonstrate how the myth of Orpheus in the Italian Renaissance functioned as a justification of new intellectual and aesthetic standards that emerged in Italy from the end of the fifteenth century onwards. In these new philosophies, Orpheus played an important role: he testified to the new powers attributed to words and music in Italian Renaissance philosophy and music theory as vehicles of the healing and enlightening power of music.

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Marsilio Ficino Ficino’s philosophy is closely connected with music and theology, and therefore the myth of Orpheus seems to fit his philosophy very well.1 He conceived of Orpheus as a historical figure, whose tale of the magical power of music served as a source of inspiration for his philosophy, in which enchanted song was given an important place.2 Above all, Ficino envisioned Orpheus as an ancient sage, a prophet, who was associated with Apollo, Christ and King David, and who conquers death in his search for ultimate wisdom. In his view, Orpheus was third in the succession of prisci theologi (ancient sages), being preceded by Zoroaster and Hermes Trismegistus and followed by Pythagoras and Plato.3 He used these ancient sages to reconcile ancient philosophy with Christian theology. He argued that a kind of wisdom was revealed to these sages that was compatible with the Bible and which therefore could be beneficially used to understand the Word of God. The secondary literature on Ficino’s reception of Orpheus is extensive, but a few passages in Ficino’s Timaeus commentary that have never been studied in detail before shed new light on Ficino’s complex and ambiguous relationship with one of his greatest sources of inspiration.4 Following Proclus’s Timaeus commentary, Ficino did attempt to revive the notions of an Orphic enchanted music that could move the supernatural and the natural world, and of Orpheus himself as a Platonic sage. Yet he experienced problems in reconciling the scientific worldview and the Christian theology of his own time with Orpheus’s musical magic. 1

The literature on the Italian Renaissance reception – including Ficino – of the myth of Orpheus is vast, but particularly instructive are: August Buck, Der Orpheus-Mythos in der Italienischen Renaissance (Krefeld, 1961); Nino Pirrotta, Li due Orfei: Da Poliziano a Monteverdi (Turin, 1969); Daniel P. Walker, The Ancient Theology: Studies in Christian Platonism from the Fifteenth to the Eighteenth Century (London, 1972), chap.1; John Warden, ed., Orpheus: The Metamorphoses of a Myth (Toronto, 1982), especially Warden’s own contribution on Orpheus and Ficino, pp.85–110; Don Harrán, ‘Orpheus as Poet, Musician and Educator’, Essays on Italian Music in the Cinquecento, ed. Richard Charteris (Sydney, 1990), pp.265–76; Mario Martelli, Il mito d’Orfeo nell’età laurenziana, in Orfeo e l’Orfismo (Rome, 1993), pp.319–51; Angela Voss, ‘Marsilio Ficino, the Second Orpheus’, Music as Medicine, The History of Music Therapy since Antiquity, ed. Peregrine Horden (Aldershot, 2000), pp.154–72; Voss, ‘Orpheus redivivus: The Musical Magic of Marsilio Ficino’, Marsilio Ficino: His Theology, His Philosophy, His Legacy, ed. Michael J.B. Allen et al. (Leiden, 2002), pp.227–41; and Michael J.B. Allen, ‘Eurydice in Hades: Florentine Platonism and an Orphic Mystery’, Nuovi maestri e antichi testi: Umanesimo e Rinascimento alle origini del pensiero moderno: Atti del convegno internazionale di studi in onore di Cesare Vasoli (Mantova 1–3 dicembre 2010), ed. Stephano Caroti and Vittoria Perrone Compagni, Ingenium 17 (Florence, 2012), pp.19–40. 2 For Ficino’s astrological music therapy, see Daniel P. Walker, Spiritual and Demonic Magic from Ficino to Campanella (London, 1958; repr. University Park, PA, 2003), espec. pp.3–29; and Jacomien Prins, Echoes of an Invisible World: Marsilio Ficino and Francesco Patrizi on Cosmic Order and Music Therapy (Leiden, 2014), pp.186–207. 3 Prins, Echoes of an Invisible World, pp.30–6. 4 Marsilio Ficino: Commentary on Plato’s Timaeus, ed. and trans. Jacomien Prins (Boston, forthcoming).



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Ficino’s Timaeus commentary is written both to explain Plato’s Timaeus and to use the dialogue as a scientific source of knowledge to fathom the structure of God’s harmonic creation. Fully in line with the Pythagorean-Platonic tradition, Ficino argues that musical harmonies, especially the musical intervals of the fourth, fifth and octave, are the key to the universe, since they govern the entire harmonious cosmos, especially the movement of its planetary spheres.5 Plato had given a detailed explanation of the musical structure of the universe at Timaeus 35b–[36]b. In line with the commentary tradition on the dialogue, Ficino argues that the discipline of music, especially harmonics, is a preparatory subject for the study of philosophy and theology. Moreover, just as in Plato’s dialogue, this knowledge of a cosmos in which all parts are harmonically tuned to each other serves as an important key to gaining the tranquillity of one’s soul. Most of the time, Orpheus is used in Ficino’s Timaeus commentary to confirm the harmonic order and beauty of the universe. Ficino argues with Plato and Moses that the universe is the Creation of a divine Architect who, imitating an unchanging and eternal harmonic model, imposes mathematical order in the form of a World-Soul on a pre-existent chaos to generate a beautifully ordered cosmos. The governing explanatory principle of the Timaean creation myth is teleological: the universe as a whole as well as its various parts are so arranged as to produce a perpetual series of harmonious effects. Ficino firmly believed that this arrangement is not accidental, but an expression of the deliberate intent of the divine Intellect or Mind of God, anthropomorphically represented by the figure of the divine Architect, who devises and creates the best possible world.6 All the parts of this animated cosmos – including its four elements and seven planets – are imprinted with the divine harmonic proportions of the World-Soul. Ficino finds corroborative evidence for this worldview in Orphic and Neoplatonic sources, and argues: I have ventured to arrange the World-Animal in this way, so to say, on the basis of its parts. For Orpheus, Varro, Plotinus, and Porphyry arranged the WorldJupiter, be it not exactly in the same way, but rather in a similar way. Presumably the Platonists are also inclined to say that the firmament refers to the mind, Saturn to the hidden reason, and Mercury to the common reason. But in both cases they refer to the speculative reason. Jupiter refers to the practical reason, the Sun to the sensory faculty and the animosity of anger, which fights on behalf of reason. Mars also refers to anger, but it is a kind of anger that is beneficial for the senses. Venus and the Moon refer to the nature of desire.7 5

For the tradition of the harmony of the spheres and its Renaissance reception, see James Haar, ‘Musica Mundana: Variations on a Pythagorean Theme’, PhD Diss., Harvard University, 1961; Simeon K. Heninger, Jr, Touches of Sweet Harmony: Pythagorean Cosmology and Renaissance Poetics (San Marino, CA, 1977); and Prins, Echoes of an Invisible World. 6 Marsilio Ficino, ‘Compendium in Timaeum’, chap.9, Commentaria in Platonem (Florence, 1496), fol.61v. 7 Ficino, ‘Compendium in Timaeum’, chap.38, fols.75v–76r. Cf. Proclus, In Timaeum III, 102.29–103.16.

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Subsequently, aspects of the human mind are projected onto the cosmos, pairing cognitive faculties and human emotions with planets, for example Saturn with the highest form of reason, Mars with anger and Venus with lust. These correspondences govern all life on earth, including the life of the four elements. In Ficino’s Timaeus commentary, Orpheus appears again in a demonstration of the Pythagorean harmonic quadruple structure of the whole universe, which is exemplified by the four elements: ‘Finally, we shall say with Orpheus that there are also four elements in the underworld: the Pyriphlegeton, the Acheron, the Oceanus and the Cocytus.’8 Orpheus, who knew the underworld from his own experience, is presented in this context as an ancient sage who is able to confirm that ‘whereas Moses writes, “In the beginning God made heaven and earth”9 and Plato writes ‘First God made fire and earth’‘,10 they both refer to the fact that the cosmos is created from four elements. Moreover, the harmonic proportional structure of these four elements can be found in the planetary spheres, in the sublunary world, and even in the underworld, which Orpheus knew from personal experience. Following Timaeus 47c–e, Ficino also argues in his commentary that by turning the movements of one’s soul into a perfect imitation of the eternal harmonic movements of the planets one can temper one’s soul and by doing so reach physical and spiritual well-being.11 Above all, his attempts to imitate ancient Orphic singing must be seen as a part of this philosophical project. Ficino is indeed particularly interested in ancient musical practices, in which music was used to alter or stabilise the musicians’ or listeners’ moods, and to balance their temperamental or mental states by way of the beneficial use of music. In his Timaeus commentary, he focuses on the question of how in earthly music the harmony of the spheres can be imitated, invoked or expressed.12 To his mind, knowledge of ancient Greek ideas and practices of tuning and temperament are the key by which the power of ancient music can be revived. From his De vita (Three Books of Life, 1489) and other documents reporting his musical performances, we know that Ficino tried to imitate these ancient musical practices in his own recitals, in which he made vocal improvisations accompanied by his lyre or lira da braccia, 8

Ficino, ‘Compendium in Timaeum’, chap.24, fol.66v, corresponding to Plato’s Timaeus 32B–C. Ficino is following Plato’s dialogue Phaedo 107b–115a here, in which a certain type of harmonic order is attributed to the elements of the underworld. This is an order of contraries (discordia concors) in which the rivers Ocean (Swift-flowing) and Acheron (Distressing) are paired with one another, as are Pyriphlegethon (Fire-blazing) and Cocytus (Shrieking). Cf. Eva Brann, The Music of the Republic: Essays on Socrates’ Conversations and Plato’s Writings (Philadelphia, 2011), p.28; Ficino, ‘Compendium in Timaeum’, chap.24, fol 66v. Cf. Proclus, In Timaeum II, 49.18–20. 9 The Bible, Genesis 1:1. 10 Plato, Timaeus, 49A–50A. Both this and the above source are cited by Ficino in ‘Compendium in Timaeum’, chap.24, fol.66v. 11 For the Pythagorean sources of inspiration for Ficino’s reception of Orpheus, see Allen, ‘Eurydice in Hades’, pp.22–4. 12 Walker, Spiritual and Demonic Magic, pp.12–24.



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which were inspired by the Orphic hymns.13 These songs were meant for healing and for achieving spiritual enlightenment and tranquillity. The musical instrument par excellence to use for these purposes was supposed to be the lyre, which was seen as a musical instrument whose music, tuning and string vibrations came closest to the music of the spheres.14 Indeed, to express the order and beauty of God’s harmonic Creation in his Timaeus commentary, Ficino uses the metaphor of a world lyre, which is tuned by God, and on which God is perpetually playing his perfect world symphony.15 In ancient Greek sources, Ficino encountered various descriptions of the amount of strings on the lyre; originating from a simple combination of four strings, the instrument developed into different types with seven, eight or even fifteenth strings.16 In the historical overview of the lyre included in his Timaeus commentary, Ficino argues that Orpheus standardised the simple lyre with four strings:17 As regards the tuning of strings in musical instruments, be it in a single tetrachord,18 which was discovered by Mercury [Hermes Trismegistus] and standardised by Orpheus, or in two conjunct tetrachords that are connected through seven strings, which was invented by Terpander, as is being said, or in a double disjunct tetrachord that is subdivided into eight strings, of which Lycaon of Samos is said to be its inventor, or in four conjunct tetrachords that to the approval of all Greeks consist of fifteen strings: in all these tetrachords resounds one by one the consonant of a diatesseron [fourth].19

This suggests that based on his intensive study of ancient Greek music theory, Ficino came to the conclusion that no matter what kind of lyre was used precisely, it could be beneficially used for imitating the harmonies of the spheres, as long as the tuning of the strings exemplified the archetypal Pythagorean consonances of the musical intervals of the fourth (4:3; diatesseron), fifth (3:2) and octave (2:1), as

13

For Ficino’s conception of the Orphic hymns, see Walker, Spiritual and Demonic Magic, pp.22–4, and Daniel P. Walker, ‘Le chant Orphique de Marsile Ficin’, Music, Spirit and Language in the Renaissance, ed. Penelope Gouk (London, 1985), pp.17–28; Gary Tomlinson, Music in Renaissance Magic: Towards a Historiography of Others (Chicago, 1993), pp.84–9, 101–36; Prins, Echoes of an Invisible World, pp.186–207. 14 Walker, Spiritual and Demonic Magic, p.19. 15 Prins, Echoes of an Invisible World, pp.104–6. 16 Its different combinations of intervals produced different scales, of which the ancient diatonic scale was the closest to the tuning that was in use in Ficino’s time. Cf. Haar, ‘Musica Mundana’, p.355. 17 For Ficino’s knowledge of ancient theoretical sources on music, see Prins, Echoes of an Invisible World, pp.55–67. 18 A tetrachord is a series of four adjacent pitches. 19 Ficino, ‘Compendium in Timaeum’, chap.30, fol.69v.

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defined in terms of their numerical proportions in the Timaeus (35b–36b), which were the key to the universe.20 Whereas Orpheus was seen as a reliable guide for the interpretation of the harmony of the spheres (musica mundana) and for ideas about tuning and temperament (musica instrumentalis), Ficino clearly struggles to integrate Orphic ideas about the power of music (musica humana) in his Timaeus commentary. There are sources that testify to the fact that some of his contemporaries envisaged Ficino as another Orpheus who had brought Orphic song back to life.21 We can only speculate about the specific character of Ficino’s songs, because they were improvisations that were not notated in any way. What we know from contemporary testimonies of his musical ceremonies is that he induced a state of divine frenzy or trance both in himself and in some of his susceptible listeners or patients. Next to inducing spiritual enlightenment and healing, Ficino’s Orphic singing was meant to regain the lost Eurydice, which was equated in his Timaeus commentary with the Pythagorean-Platonic knowledge of the harmonic structure of the universe.22 Orpheus’s most remarkable deed has always been his descent into the underworld to rescue Eurydice from death and bring her back to the world of the living. Orpheus was a singer who could perform such miracles, because he was initiated in the secrets of the heavenly spheres, including their animated and musical nature. By imitating Orpheus, Ficino also wanted to obtain the key to the harmony of the spheres, which would enable him to master unruly passions and exorcise demons, which were associated with the wild beasts who were tamed in the Orpheus myth.23 In Neoplatonic sources from late antiquity, a collection of hymns that were addressed to various gods, such as Apollo, and divine concepts, such as the world lyre, had been attributed to a historical Orpheus who lived in Greece before Pythagoras and Plato.24 Ficino firmly believed that the Orphic hymns were authen 20

For the discussion of Ficino’s lyre, see Allen, ‘Eurydice in Hades’, pp.24–5. As Allen explains, Warden assumes that Ficino’s Orphic lyre was seven-stringed, whereas Allen, on the basis of his own study of Ficino’s commentaries on Plato’s Phaedrus and Ion, is more inclined to think that Ficino’s lyre was a tetrachord, that is, an instrument that is similar to Orpheus’s lyre with four strings. Even though a lyre in Ficino’s time was usually seven-stringed and thus the ideal instrument for imitating the harmonies of the seven planets, of course, Ficino was not really imitating the harmony of the spheres, but projecting ideas about the musical practice of his own time onto the heavens. In line with Haar (‘Musica Mundana’, pp.346–7), I believe that his lyre was not a historically informed reconstruction of an ancient Greek instrument, but a lyre or lira da braccia, which was used in his own time. 21 Voss, ‘Marsilio Ficino, the Second Orpheus’, p.155. 22 Voss, ‘Orpheus redivivus’, p.228; and Allen, ‘Eurydice in Hades’, p.30. 23 The classical treatment of Ficino’s ideas about music and medicine can be found in Walker, Spiritual and Demonic Magic, pp.4–24; and Raymond Klibansky, Erwin Panofsky and Fritz Saxl, Saturn and Melancholy: Studies in the History of Natural Philosophy, Religion, and Art (London, 1964). 24 For a study of the ancient Orphic hymns, see Martin L. West, The Orphic Poems (Oxford, 1983); for the place of the Orphic hymns in Ficino’s theory of an ancient



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tic and he used them as a model for Pythagorean-Platonic effective music and song, which could enlighten, temper and heal people. Regrettably, Ficino’s Latin translation of the Orphic hymns has not survived or has not yet been rediscovered.25 It is highly likely that he never published them for fear of being accused by the Church of illegitimate practices in which demons were invoked.26 Based on his astrological beliefs, Ficino seems to have been especially fearful of rousing demons that were associated with the planets Saturn and Mars, and the Moon, which he conceived of as malevolent heavenly bodies. These demons could interfere in a negative way with the harmonic master plan of God’s Creation.27 In a revision of the first printed edition of his Timaeus commentary (1484), Ficino tried in 1496 to purge the text of musical magic associated with harmful demons. In the 1496 edition, he only wanted to keep the invocation of God in sung prayers, and the manipulation of planetary correspondences in nature as forms of musical magic.28 He preserved his explanation of how God and a kind of impersonal, planetary spirit could have a beneficial influence on man. These impersonal spirits worked through the spiritus mundi to affect the human spirit. Ficino argued that spirits were not capable of acting directly on man’s rational soul, as demons could do. In Distinctio 24, a chapter of miscellanea (Distinctiones) presented at the end of the Timaeus commentary in the 1496 edition, which was removed from the original main text of the 1484 commentary, Ficino reports that he successfully exorcised a Saturnian demon.29 During a ceremony which took place at a beneficial astrological hour, holy prayers were sung or recited to create such a hostile atmosphere for harmful demons that they would be driven out from the physical space as well as from the mental space of the bewitched servants. Before reporting the story of his exorcism, Ficino takes great pains to explain that there are two different kinds of demons under the Moon: a higher kind of divine demons with celestial bodies who do good and are reliable, and a lower kind of demons with airy bodies, which can be deceptive: theology, see Ilana Klutstein, Marsilio Ficino et la théologie ancienne: Oracles Chaldaïques, Hymnes Orphiques, Hymnes de Proclus (Florence, 1987). 25 Klutstein, Marsilio Ficino et la théologie ancienne, pp.21–52. 26 Allen, ‘Eurydice in Hades’, p. 25. 27 Walker, Spiritual and Demonic Magic, p.17. Walker explains that in Ficino’s De vita Book 3, chap.21 the Sun, Jupiter, Venus and Mercury are seen as benign planets with their own particular kind of music, while Saturn, Mars and the Moon, as more malevolent heavenly bodies, have only ‘voices’, that is, no music. 28 In Ficino’s ‘Compendium in Timaeum’ he deals with prayers in chap.6, fol.60r and with music as a form of natural magic in chap.31, fols.70v–71r. It is unclear how religious and astrological music precisely relate to each other. Yet, there is evidence that Ficino linked natural magic to the sacred goals of traditional Christian psalmody and worship, David the Psalmist being identified as the biblical counterpart to Orpheus in De vita Book 3, chap.21. 29 Ficino, ‘Compendium in Timaeum’, chap.24 ‘Distinctiones’, fol.83r. This passage is analysed in detail in Prins, Echoes of an Invisible World, pp.205–6.

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Among the demons that dwell in the mixed air the theology of the pagans and the school of Plato count certain demons without reason, or just as if they were dumb demons, demons that have a very piercing imagination and big powers. For they hold that just as there is a being on earth with two natures, that is to say a rational and an irrational nature, so there is also in water a twofold being, there where Orpheus and the poets sing about certain aquatic divinities. Likewise they deemed it possible that also in the mixed air, apart from demons that live by reason, there are demons that are as though without reason, and that they clearly use their very powerful imagination to the utmost, with which they also trigger our imagination, just like bodies trigger other bodies.30

For the first time, Orpheus is presented in the Timaeus commentary as an authority on demonology. Presumably, for the exorcism reported in the text after this quotation Ficino used music to chase away the demons of the servants of a Jewish family in Florence. Music could either help to drive out negative outer influences or draw in positive outer influences, especially those of the animated beings with which the heavens were populated. In Ficino’s view, music could especially help a listener to overcome the destructive influence of the planet Saturn. This could be achieved by creating a musical antidote against Saturn’s influence, that is, by making music with musical aspects that were associated with the beneficial planets of the Sun, Jupiter, Venus and Mercury. By invoking the planetary gods, spirits or reliable demons, they could work through the spiritus mundi and the musical spirit directly on the human spirit. Yet in the exorcism described in his Timaeus commentary, Ficino evidently manipulated malicious demons that were capable of influencing the imagination and thereby of acting directly on man’s rational soul. A clear distinction between beneficial, white, spiritual magic and dangerous, black, demonic magic is impossible to draw here, even though Ficino was trying hard to create such a distinction by arguing that there are two kinds of demons. This case study of an exorcism clearly suggests that Ficino was involved in black, dangerous magic by exorcising demons with an exceptionally powerful imagination that were supposed to have an equally powerful effect on the human mind. It is possible that Ficino was aware of the fact that his project to distinguish between spiritual and demonic magic had failed, because it was theoretically impossible to distinguish between benign spiritual and harmful demonic influence. For if one argues for the existence of a channel for supernatural influence, it is impossible to control what kind of beings could make use of it. To explain why Ficino banished all the passages on demons to the ‘Miscellanea’ (Distinctiones) section of his Timaeus commentary, we may argue that he acted in fear of the religious authorities of his time. However, it is equally possible that he did this because he believed that he could only rescue the Orphic secret knowledge of the harmony of the spheres if he could distance himself from Orpheus’s demonic practices. To put it into the terminology of the myth of Orpheus: it is 30

Ficino, ‘Compendium in Timaeum’, chap.24 ‘Distinctiones’, fols.82v–83r. Cf. Proclus, In Timaeum II, 49.18–20.



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highly likely that because of its harmful potential, Orpheus had decided to leave Eurydice – understood in this context as knowledge of demonic magic – behind in the underworld. Ficino tried hard to make a distinction between Orpheus as an ancient sage whose work could be beneficially studied to understand the wonders of Creation, and Orpheus the musical magician whose practices undermined this very knowledge of the harmonious universe. Yet he did not realise that Orpheus’s knowledge of the harmonic secrets of the world and his demonic magic were two sides of the same coin; that is, that removing explicit passages on demonology from his Timaeus commentary did not effectively eradicate the implicit magic on which Ficino’s worldview was founded.

Girolamo Cardano In addition to being an important astrologer, mathematician, philosopher and physician, Cardano occupies an important place in the history of theories about music theory and music therapy. His contributions to these fields can be found in his De musica (On Music, 1574), his most extensive and important text on music theory, of which a summary is included in his De subtilitate (On Subtlety, 1552).31 Moreover, they are scattered among texts such as his De utilitate ex adversis capienda (On Gaining Advantage from Misfortunes, 1561) and De tranquillitate (On Tranquillity, 1561), in which Cardano tries to formulate an answer to the questions of what one can gain during life on earth that is enduring and meaningful, and how one can cultivate a tranquil soul.32 Orpheus appears in De tranquillitate as a guide in Girolamo Cardano’s search for the extraordinary, lost power of ancient music to influence the human mind.

31

For a complete edition of Cardano’s writings, see Girolamo Cardano, Opera Omnia (Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt, 1966 [facsimile of the 1663 Lyon edition]), hereafter abbreviated as: OO. For a translation of Cardano’s De musica, see Hieronymus Cardanus, Writings on Music, ed. and trans. Clement A. Miller ([Rome], 1973), pp.73–191. For a translation of Cardano’s De subtilitate, see The De subtilitate of Girolamo Cardano, ed. John M. Forrester with introduction by John Henry and John M. Forrester, 2 vols (Tempe, AZ, 2013). On Cardano’s music theory, see Guido Giglioni, ‘Bolognan Boys are Beautiful, Tasteful and Mostly Fine Musicians’, The Sciences of Homosexuality in Early Modern Europe, ed. K. Borris and G. Rousseau (London, 2008), pp.201–20, espec. pp.218–19; Anne E. Moyer, Musica Scientia: Musical Scholarship in the Italian Renaissance (Ithaca, NY, 1992), pp.158–68; Ingo Schütze, ‘Cardano und die Affektenlehre der Musik,’ Bruniana e Campanelliana 1 (2001), pp.453–67; and Jacomien Prins, ‘Girolamo Cardano and Julius Caesar Scaliger in Debate about Nature’s Musical Secrets’, Journal of the History of Ideas 78 (2017), 169–89. 32 On Cardano’s ideas about the art of living with oneself, see Markus Fierz, Girolamo Cardano, 1501–1576: Physician, Natural Philosopher, Mathematician, Astrologer, and Interpreter of Dreams (Boston, 1983), pp.156–66. On Cardano’s ideas about illness and health, see Nancy S. Siraisi, The Clock and the Mirror: Girolamo Cardano and Renaissance Medicine (Princeton, NJ, 1997).

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Building on and further developing earlier notions of the power of music from scholars such as Ficino, Cardano associates the mythical hero with his extraordinary musical powers. Yet, whereas Ficino used Orpheus above all in an account of supernatural musical powers and knowledge, Cardano uses him to explain the same powers in terms of the physiological and the affective. He envisions making or listening to music, especially instrumental music played on a string or keyboard instrument, as an effective way of influencing someone’s morals, affections and behaviour in a purely natural way: In this kind of [instrumental] music one can meet the three conditions that Aristotle proposed, namely, the confirmation of change of morals, affections or behaviour. These conditions also apply to the present times, both in the morals of children and adolescents and in the organisation of life.33

In principle, Cardano is also convinced of the power of vocal music, but negative experiences with the singers of his time prompted him to issue a warning in De utilitate to avoid their company. Fully in line with the above quotation from De utilitate, in De tranquillitate, a treatise on activities that are favourable to the cultivation of a tranquil soul, Cardano praises the beneficial effect of solo music. In a discussion between a philosopher, a citizen and a hermit that is included in the book, he addresses the power of the Orphic lyre to tranquillise the human mind.34 Against the backdrop of his general philosophical quest for longevity and happiness, this discussion can be understood as a lesser musical precept, which might enhance human life in both a quantitative and qualitative sense. It belongs to a group of precepts which are primarily aimed at the avoidance and cure of mental problems such as anxiety. In addition, this musical precept is an expression of the general rule of the pursuit of moderation in all things.35 In this regard, making and listening to music can be used to learn how to be moderate in the passions, and how to avoid harmful affections such as fear. Exposure to good music played by virtuous musicians will not only induce temperance, but will also help fortify the human soul so that it is capable of combatting certain vices. In short, music is a powerful tool to moderate emotion and to avoid vice. In addition, it can also bring a moderate amount of pleasure to one’s life that is associated with the tranquillity of mind. In this regard, music is given an essential role in Cardano’s philosophy of life. In his attempt to account for music’s power to influence the affections in his De musica, Cardano addresses the ancient and medieval view that specific musical modes would have specific emotional effects.36 He reports that ‘concerning the 33

Cardano, De utilitate, OO, vol.2, p.117; Cardanus, Writings on Music, trans. Miller, p.199. Cardano, De tranquillitate, OO, vol.2, pp.299–371. Chap.42, ‘On the lyra and the lyre’, is translated in Cardanus, Writings on Music, trans. Miller, pp.199–206. 35 Eugene Rice, The Renaissance Idea of Wisdom (Cambridge, MA, 1958), p.173. 36 Cardanus, ‘De musica’, chap.13, Writings on Music, trans. Miller, pp.97–101, ‘Modes’. 34



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nature of the modes, Plato considered the Lydian useless … The Mixolydian was suitable for tragedies because it affected the emotions … The Mixolydian is joined to the Dorian in tragedies, for the latter is filled with majesty, and tragedy has both majesty and emotional meaning.’ Moreover, Aristotle states ‘that the Mixolydian was effective in causing weeping and commiseration, and that the Phrygian caused fury and was inimical to peace of mind. So he approved of the Dorian above all, for it withdrew from passionate emotions and led to moderation.’37 Yet in contrast with ancient and medieval theories in which certain musical modes were linked with specific affections and mental states such as love, hate and sleep, Cardano’s treatment of the subject bears witness to his awareness that music cannot carry specific meaning in the same way as language.38 Moreover, he acknowledges that an affection is not induced simply by hearing a specific pattern of musical consonances and dissonances, but by the context in which these combinations of tones appear: better things are always pleasing after worse ones, but the opposite is displeasing. So light pleases after darkness, sweetness after bitterness, oil of roses after dill, and consonances after dissonances.39

Hence ‘happiness’, as one of the affections that can be induced by music, is not a characteristic of a certain musical mode, but will most likely appear when a musician modulates in a certain passage from a musical passage with dissonances associated with fear and tension to one with consonances associated with relaxation. In chapter 18 of his De musica, Cardano discusses the advantages and disadvantages one can gain from making or listening to music in further detail. Music can be used as a tool for the care of the self in three ways. First, music ‘pertains to instruction and study’; second, it can be used for ‘the cleansing of the spirit’; or, third, music is pertinent ‘to spending time pleasurably in leisure, tranquillity, and freedom from the pressure of more serious matters’.40 Ultimately, the three converge in one theory of the musical cultivation of a tranquil soul, in which mental problems can be cured by tempering certain affections: Teachers and disciplinarians have agreed on the expiative and purgative force of strong affections. When these affections subside they may become excessively reversed and softened by giving way especially to affections of misery and pity,

37

Ibid., pp.100–1 (translation modified). On Cardano’s theory of musical affects, see Moyer, Musica Scientia, pp.163–8; and Schütze, ‘Cardano und die Affektenlehre der Musik’, pp.453–67. 39 Cardano, De subtilitate, OO, vol.3, p.572, translated in Cardanus, Writings on Music, trans. Miller, p.212. 40 Cardanus, ‘De musica’, Writings on Music, trans. Miller, p.105. 38

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causing dejection and depression. Music also was meant to fill such affections with a certain innocuous pleasure.41

Understanding how the ancient Greeks could cleanse the spirit musically becomes one of the ruling passions of Cardano’s life. In his De tranquillitate he addresses the theme again in order to find a cure for an unquiet human mind. The diagnosis of this disease is formulated by the philosopher in the dialogue: Since this tract is long enough, it is sufficient in the remaining part to show how men daily are distracted and even tormented with vain desires. We seek pleasure that is either good or bad, useful or useless, attainable or unattainable, and in this way we spend our entire life, just as did Tantalus.42

This reference to the punishment of Tantalus, who longed for water he could not drink and food he could not eat, is a simile for people who during their lives on earth cannot reach the spiritual food that they need in order to reach happiness in life. However, if one would begin a more virtuous and fulfilling life by learning how to play a musical solo instrument, Cardano – through the persona of the philosopher in the dialogue De tranquillitate – warns that this might turn out to be a less effective remedy than originally thought. Mastering an instrument involves a lot of practice, discipline and concentration, and often turns out to be a frustrating activity, which is ‘hostile to tranquillity’ because ‘the source of this impediment is found nowhere else than in ourselves’.43 Having discussed the great inconvenience of the contemporary lyre with strings which ‘when they are tuned break from humidity and rain or from dryness and wind’, the philosopher in this passage nevertheless comes to the conclusion that it is the most perfect instrument. Moreover, he argues that it is similar to the ancient lyra, and therefore should be used to revive ancient Greek secret musical powers such as catharsis:44 The lyre possesses a mellifluous suavity found in no other instrument. From this it is thought that Orpheus moved rocks and trees with the lyra, not to mention that with it he also compelled brute animals to dance. In this way also he saved Eurydice from the underworld gods and brought her back to the upper regions of earth.45

Subsequently, Cardano – through his representative, the philosopher – makes it clear that he attributes the most extensive emotional power in music to vocal music or song, and that it is the text that is responsible for an additional power: ‘the lyre 41

Ibid. (translation modified). De tranquillitate, OO vol.2, p.343; Cardanus, Writings on Music, trans. Miller, p.200. 43 Ibid. 44 Ibid. 45 De tranquillitate, OO, vol.2, p.345; Cardanus, Writings on Music, trans. Miller, p.202 (translation modified). 42



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blends well with every other instrument, but above all with the human voice, so that one who plays it beautifully seems to be a god among mortals’.46 Notwithstanding his negative opinion about the singers of his time, Cardano seems still to firmly believe in the power of vocal music. Fully in line with the musical aesthetics of his time, he is convinced that a combination of words and tones has the most powerful effect on the human mind, because together they seize the mind in its entirety. As explained above, the musical cultivation of a tranquil soul can be best achieved by the imitation of strong affections in music, which will induce catharsis.47 Cardano gives an example of how a ‘negative’ emotion can be induced by a particular kind of musical figure: ‘a mood of commiseration by slow and serious notes by dropping downward suddenly from a high range imitates the manner of those who weep’.48 If musical figures, such as slow and serious descending notes, imitate certain physical manifestations, such as weeping, this can lead to a beneficial release of the emotion.49 If someone would listen to a kind of mournful monodic song performed by a singer and a lyre player together, it could induce a form of musical catharsis resulting in a more carefree mood:50 Therefore, if there is an instrument appropriate to tranquillity and also a relation of metre and poetry to it, the instrument will be a cithara and the song will be mournful and almost tragic. In this way we can lighten the cares that result from the misery of human misfortune.51

Music is presented here as a leisure activity providing temporary freedom from care. De tranquillitate also includes a small musical composition with a text by Cardano, which is meant as an opiate to sorrow (see Plate 6.1). The accompanying lute music, presumably composed by his friend Giudeo, is an example of how knowledge of ancient Greek powerful music was reinvented in Italy in the second half of the sixteenth century.52

46

De tranquillitate, OO, vol.2, p.345; Cardanus, Writings on Music, trans. Miller, pp.202–3 (translation modified). 47 Cardanus, ‘De musica’, Writings on Music, trans. Miller, pp.142–4. 48 Ibid., p.143. 49 Moyer, Musica Scientia, p.167. 50 On the Aristotelian theory of musical catharsis, see Aristotle, Politics, 1339a11–1342b34, translated in Greek Musical Writings, ed. Andrew Barker, 2 vols (Cambridge, 1984–9), vol.1, pp.172–82. 51 Cardano, De tranquillitate, OO, vol.2, p.345; Cardanus, Writings on Music, trans. Miller, p.204. The title of this chapter is taken from this quotation. 52 Henry Morley, Jerome Cardan: The Life of Girolamo Cardano, of Milan, Physician, 2 vols (London, 1854), vol.1, pp.239–40. Morley refers to Giudeo as ‘a composer who was then ninety-seven years old’. Presumably, this is the famous Jewish lutenist Gian Maria Giudeo, who worked at the Medici court.

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Plate 6.1  (above and opposite) Girolamo Cardano, ‘Lament’ in De tranquillitate, OO, vol. 2, pp. 346–7. Reproduced from the facsimile reprint of Cardano’s Opera Omnia with the kind permission of Frommann-Holzboog Verlag e.K.



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The English translation of Cardano’s Lament is as follows: A purple flower cut by the hard plough droops, so to me my dying son appears; worthy a Nestor’s life, I see him bow under the axe, and long upon mine ears murmurs a voice, ‘O pitiable sire!’ it says, ‘O infant born hard years to know! Three souls at once under one stroke expire, – my own death is the least part of my woe. My little child, my father’s age, I mourn, the piteous image fills me with alarm; though I die young, and give the senses born for loving nurture to the headsman’s arm, while evil-doers sheltered by your laws drag life with gladness through the ways of crime, I heed not that. A keener sorrow draws my spirit downward. In the coming time, my noble father, solace who shall give to your great sorrow; who, firm to your side, will be your comrade onward? Ah, yet live! To you our helpless infant I confide. Harden his soul to bear the hurts of fate. Cherish the grandchild; in his bloom behold your son again – Oh, wish that comes too late! Could but my dying arms you both enfold! In vain. I tell my last desires, and fade departing through eternal shades. Farewell!’ God covered up the stars when this was said; Brutes moaned, and, dropping from the rock, tears fell.

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In this ‘Lament’ (or ‘Dirge’) on the death of his son, Cardano and Giudeo follow a set of rules of imitation, according to which art should imitate both classical Greek and Roman poetry and music, and the objects and events of ordinary life, in order to be pleasurable and effective.53 Music should be modelled after both ancient Greek musical modes and the four basic affections of sorrow, joy, tranquillity and excitement. The Lydian mode is appropriate for consolation in distress, and commiseration can be musically expressed by imitating ‘the manner of those who weep, for at first they wail in a very high and clear voice and then they end by dropping into a very low and rather muffled groan’.54 In the ‘Lament’, this is translated into a specific use of rhythm, pitches and scales. First, to express the meaning of the text rhythmically, in the word ‘doloris’ (‘woe’, line 6), for example, the second consonant is given a long note followed by two short notes in order to depict a sob. Furthermore, to express the meaning of the text melodically, the word ‘doloris’ (‘sorrow’, line 18) is depicted by slow and serious, dropping notes.55 Moreover, in the line ‘Nunc tres concordes anima moriemur in una’ (‘Three souls at once under one stroke expire’, line 7), the expiration is musically expressed by repetition on the same low pitch. This is contrasted with words such as ‘coelo’ and ‘Deus’ (‘God covered up the stars when this was said’, line 27), which are given the highest pitches of the whole composition. Musically, the composition is an aural picture of the consoling hope that the soul of Cardano’s son will have a blessed life in the hereafter. This hope was quite vain against the backdrop of the Christian belief that sinners such as Cardano’s son, who murdered his wife, were punished in the hereafter. We may only hope that Cardano’s ‘Lament’ had a self-consolatory quality and that his enormous grief about the death of his son was lightened by his self-induced music therapy.

Conclusion The myth of Orpheus experienced a genuine revival during the Italian Renaissance because it was believed to provide new answers to questions surrounding the mysteries of the cosmos, man and music. The myth was read by Renaissance scholars on at least two levels: a literal one, referring denotatively to a historical figure in the possession of the key to knowledge about the universe; and a metaphorical one, referring connotatively to musical practices based on this knowledge. The balance between both levels was different in the philosophy of Ficino and Cardano, but they shared the belief that by studying and reviving an Orphic singing practice one could master harmful demons, unruly passions and overwhelming affections or emotions, which they associated with the wild beasts that Orpheus had enchanted in the famous myth. During the Italian Renaissance, it became increasingly important to imitate and express aspects of (human) nature in music. For this purpose, Italian Renaissance scholars such as Ficino and Cardano took the ancient Greek doctrine of imitation 53

Cardanus, ‘De musica’, chap.36, Writings on Music, trans. Miller, pp.142–4. Ibid., p.143. 55 Cardano, De tranquillitate, OO, vol.2, p.346; Cardanus, Writings on Music, trans. Miller, p.205. 54



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as their point of departure, that is to say, they argued for the imitation of nature as the basis for musical expression. The myth of Orpheus functioned as a source of inspiration for ways in which one could manipulate the natural and the supernatural with music. In some of these interpretations Orpheus was envisaged above all as a divine being with supernatural, musical-magical powers, and in others as a human being who was capable of purging his spirit of mournful emotions by witnessing the playing out of such emotions during a musical experience. In sum, for many Italian Renaissance scholars the myth of Orpheus functioned as an excellent focus for reflecting on music’s power to alter the nature of the human psyche to the extent of conquering even deadly sorrow. These reflections were so powerful and convincing that they became a lasting paradigm for musical experience in Western culture.

7

Origin Myths, Genealogies and Inventors: Defining the Nature of Music in Early Modern England Katherine Butler

I

n early modern England, a traditional starting point for essays on music was its origins and invention. The Elizabethans inherited numerous myths and theories from classical mythology, bird-lore, the Bible, theology and ancient philosophical thought. These myths included Pythagoras’s discovery of the principles of harmony in a blacksmith’s hammers, Jubal the biblical inventor of harps and instruments, the assertion that humanity learned music from the birds and the breeze, the Greek inventors of instruments including Amphion, Orpheus, Mercury and Pan, not to mention Pythagorean and Platonic notions of universal harmony.1 To our current mind-set, these myths – and, indeed, discussion of music’s origins – are mere curiosities; however, authors who wrote in praise of music in early modern England did so against a backdrop of radical Protestant attacks on music, which flared up at regular intervals throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries.2 Issues such as whether music was a gift originating from God, or a worldly, human endeavour, had a particular immediacy and relevancy in this context. While music’s defenders would typically go on to explain music’s wondrous effects, it was through these stories of origin and invention that thinkers put forward their theories concerning the circumstances and reasons for music’s existence. Authors drawing on these origin myths were faced with the tricky task of charting a path through competing and contradictory stories in order to achieve a meaningful argument. These origin myths explained both the creation of divine and natural harmony, and the development of the human art of music. Moreover, as the term ‘invention’ in the early modern period encompassed both aspects of what we today separate as ‘discovery’ and ‘invention’, the inventors of music could 1

For the medieval approaches to this tradition, see the chapters of Elina Hamilton and Jason Stoessel in this collection. On Jubal/Tubal and Pythagoras, see: James W. McKinnon, ‘Jubal vel Pythagoras, quis sit inventor musicae?’, The Musical Quarterly 64 (1978), 1–28; Carla Bromberg, ‘A Preliminary Study of the Origin of Music in Cinquecento Musical Treatises’, International Review of the Aesthetics and Sociology of Music 41 (2010), 161–83. 2 See for example, Rob C. Wegman, The Crisis of Music in Early Modern Europe, 1470–1530 (New York, 2005); Jonathan Willis, Church Music and Protestantism in Post-Reformation England: Discourses, Sites and Identities (Farnham, 2010), pp.11–80; and Jamie Apgar’s chapter in this collection.



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be variously said to have been gifted the knowledge from God, to have discovered harmony in nature, or to have fashioned the musical instrument or art through their own intellect.3 While some regarded the various inventors of music as historical humans who had become treated as gods because of their great discoveries, most found it productive to read myths allegorically to draw out deeper conceptual truths about music. Similarly, it was not uncommon for authors to combine these historical and allegorical readings.4 At their least coherent, the relation of music’s origins in Elizabethan treatises collapses into a mere listing of all the possible theories, their contradictions left unreconciled.5 For others, however, the narratives employed to select, organise and explain their mythical materials reveal much about their conception of music and their strategy for its defence. This chapter explores how early modern English authors writing in the ‘praise of music’ tradition constructed their own mythical narratives and allegorical characters as a framework for organising the various stories and putting forth their philosophies of music. In doing so, they both asserted music’s status and defined its nature. Some used the language of parentage and offspring to affirm music’s antiquity and moral legitimacy, while others grappled with the complex relationship of music to the divine, human and natural realms.6 Moreover, the conclusions they reached were slowly shifting: whereas late sixteenth-century writers tended to emphasise the divine inspiration behind humanity’s musical endeavours, growing confidence in both humanity’s ability to master the acoustical secrets of nature and in modern music’s progress beyond that of the Ancients, gradually encouraged more human-centred narratives of music’s origins.

Music’s Antiquity and Parentage At a time when Humanist thinkers looked to the ancient world for their intellectual inspiration, demonstrating music’s antiquity and mythical ancestry was an important means of establishing its cultural status. Polydore Vergil’s De inventoribus rerum was a major source for discussions of music’s origins (there was an abridged version in English in 1546 that went through numerous editions), and his approach focused on the earliest individual musicians named by classical and Hebrew authorities. Vergil recounts, for example, that Pliny regarded Amphion

3

Catherine Atkinson, Inventing Inventors in Renaissance Europe: Polydore Vergil’s De inventoribus rerum (Tübingen, 2007), pp.17–19. 4 On strategies of interpreting myth: Arthur B. Ferguson, Utter Antiquity: Perceptions of Prehistory in Renaissance England (Durham, NC, 1993), pp.13–60; Jean Seznec, The Survival of the Pagan Gods: The Mythological Tradition and its Place in Renaissance Humanism and Art (New York, 1953), pp.11–147. 5 For example, Lodowick Lloyd, The Pilgrimage of Princes, Penned Out of Sundry Greek and Latin Authors (London, 1573), fol.112v–115r. 6 Linda Phyllis Austern, ‘Nature, Culture, Myth, and the Musician in Early Modern England’, Journal of the American Musicological Society 51 (1998), 1–47.

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son of Jupiter as the first finder of music, while Josephus attributes the discovery to ‘Tubalcain, an Hebrew’.7 In the latter half of the sixteenth century, however, English writers praising music tended to begin by undermining the whole idea of seeking out music’s origins among these demi-gods and early humans. Instead, the ultimate strategy was to trace music’s origins back to God, thereby asserting music’s timeless value and divinity beyond other arts. The musician and autobiographer Thomas Whythorne makes this argument on the basis of scriptural references to heavenly song, angel music and celestial trumpets, which, he argues, prove that music existed in heaven before Creation: Now considering that it is not to be doubted that there is heavenly music or music in heaven, it is not otherwise to be thought but that it was used before the world began, or else you must grant that it was learned there since the world began, which is most unlike to be true. It is more like that God gave the same gift unto his angels and ministers before the world began.8

Others made similar arguments from a Neoplatonic stance. An early Jacobean ‘Praise of Music’, found only in manuscript, traces a three-stage origin for musical harmony from angelic music, passed to the cosmos and the earth in Creation, and finally to humanity via the actions of Adam: for so soon as after his creation through disobedience he had procured to the earth a curse … God in mercy pitying the misery of man … instructed his grandchild Tubal in the excellent skill of music and making of instruments to the end that in the midst of his toilsome labour he and his posterity might take delight and pleasure in the painful passing over of their life by that most excellent skill of music.9

As the latter part of this extract reveals, there is usually more at stake than merely proving that music was as old as Creation itself. Consideration of origins often opened up deeper issues concerning music’s nature and purpose. In this early Jacobean treatise, the author’s ultimate aim was to prove ‘the necessary use of it [music] in the service and Christian Church of God’. Therefore, in this narrative music emerges as a special gift from God given directly to humanity. Indeed, this author gives no space to the classical inventors of music, preferring instead to focus on biblical musicians (such as King David) and music’s divine justification 7

Polydore Vergil, An Abridgement of the Notable Work of Polydore Vergil Containing the Devisers and First Finders Out as well of Arts, Ministries, Feats and Civil Ordinances, as of Rites, and Ceremonies, Commonly used in the Church, ed. Thomas Langley (London, 1546), fol.xxi verso–xxv recto (fol.xxii). There were three editions in 1546 and a further three in 1551, c.1560 and 1659. 8 James Marshall Osborn, ed., The Autobiography of Thomas Whythorne (Oxford, 1961), p.222. 9 ‘The Praise of Music’, London, British Library: Royal MS 18 B XIX (early Jacobean), fol.1r–v.



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(though a few ancient philosophers are admitted as witnesses of music’s virtuous effects). The author continues by explaining that music’s seemingly more limited powers in modern times are a result of man’s corrupted nature. While Adam had a ‘pure natural body’, succeeding generations have been increasingly ‘corrupted by external commixtion coming of sustenance’.10 Humanity has been diluted by the natural world through the food and water people must consume, implicitly making us less human and more earthly and therefore less sensitive to music’s powers. This implicitly counters arguments for music’s morally corrupting influence by reversing the argument to suggest, in contrast, that it is humanity that is corrupt and therefore less able to take advantage of music’s beneficial qualities.11 Most authors were not so willing to jettison all the classical myths of music’s origins and inventions, but they similarly selected and arranged them according to their broader purposes and theories. The anonymous author of The Praise of Music (1586) was primarily concerned with establishing music’s moral legitimacy and saw this challenge as parallel to how one might establish the reputation, status and lineage of a person. The personification of music as a woman had its origins in antiquity and depictions of Lady Music are found from early medieval times onwards.12 Yet in this treatise the allegory is no longer a static, timeless representation of music. Rather, Lady Music is given parents, ancestors, offspring and a lifecycle, which provide a narrative thread to this author’s re-telling of the origins of music. Music is first presented to the reader in the preface as ‘so sweet, so good, so virtuous, so comely a matron among other arts’.13 Defining her as a matron implies motherhood, maturity and respectability. Yet in the opening chapter, the author finds this respectability difficult to establish due to the uncertainty that arises from the competing myths. In human genealogy, legitimacy is founded on birth and parentage, but the details of music’s nativity were obscure because her ‘continuance is great but not defined, her birth day ancient but not dated’.14 The author sidesteps this initial problem using the same strategy we saw above: making music so ancient 10

Ibid., fol.2r. For examples of arguments regarding music’s corrupting influence, see Stephen Gosson, The School of Abuse Containing a Pleasant Invective Against Poets, Pipers, Players, Jesters, and such like Caterpillars of a Commonwealth (London, 1597), fols.7r–11r; Philip Stubbes, The Anatomy of Abuses Containing a Discovery, or Brief Summary of Such Notable Vices and Imperfections, as now Reign in Many Christian Countries of the World (London, 1583), sigs.O3v–[O7]r. 12 See Jason Stoessel’s chapter in this collection; Tilman Seebass, ‘Lady Music and Her “Proteges” from Musical Allegory to Musicians’ Portraits’, Musica Disciplina 42 (1988), 23–61; Linda Phyllis Austern, ‘“My Mother Musicke”: Early Modern Music and Fantasies of Embodiment’, Maternal Measures: Figuring Caregiving in the Early Modern Period, ed. Naomi J. Miller and Naomi Yavneh (Aldershot, 2000), pp.239–81 (240–1, 250–4); Austern, ‘Portrait of the Artist as (Female) Musician’, Musical Voices of Early Modern Women: Many-Headed Melodies, ed. Thomasin K. LaMay (Aldershot, 2005), pp.15–62 (22–6). 13 The Praise of Music wherein besides the Antiquity, Dignity, Delectation, and Use thereof in Civil Matters, is also Declared the Sober and Lawful Use of the Same in the Congregation and Church of God (Oxford, 1586), ‘The Preface to the Reader’. 14 Ibid., p.2. 11

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that she predates Creation itself, ‘for time cannot say that he was before her, or nature that she wrought without her’.15 The author glosses over the relationship between natural and artificial music by skipping over Music’s early years, so that her reputation might rest on the qualities of her maturity: As for her infancy, let us bury it in silence, and wrap up as it were in her swathing clouts. For no doubt she was not enquired, talked, or written of till she waxed and grew in years, that is in perfection and ripeness.16

Instead the author begins the tale when Music had come of age and was ‘fit to wed men’s ears and hearts unto her’.17 Like an Elizabethan woman of marriageable age, Music’s status depended on her ancestry. Music, however, was ‘challenged by this nation and that country, so claimed by this man and that God, that it was doubtful in such variety of judgement, to whom she was most beholding for her birthright’.18 At this point the author is taking a risky tack, as Music’s lack of clear parentage would seem to imply the taint of illegitimacy. Instead the author attempts to put a different spin on the situation, arguing that with so many lands, peoples, gods and even heaven and earth arguing over her, she is shown to be no ‘base born child’, but rather such a one as ‘commends him that invented her’.19 Music is not only tainted with hints of illegitimacy, but also with promiscuity. Acknowledging the lack of agreement among authorities regarding the inventors of various musical instruments, the author admits that ‘because she is as pregnant as Libia always breeding some new thing … it will be the harder in such fruitfulness of issue to father every child aright, and to assign to every one his proper and peculiar invention’.20 A critic of music could certainly twist this passage to suggest Music’s promiscuity and the illegitimacy of her children, though the author attempts to present this positively as the productivity and flourishing of music. The biographical and genealogical narratives that were intended to bring structure are straining under the weight of the incoherence of the traditional stories, and the author is in danger of losing control over the allegorical readings of music’s nature and virtues that he is trying to weave from these myths. The author’s strongest defence, however, is the illustrious gods whom Music can claim as her ancestors. The author describes the Muses as ‘christening her Music after their own name’.21 Moreover, it is not surprising that her mother is many instead of one, for ‘how could ordinary parents have conceived such extraordinary perfection?’ The author’s genealogy also provides grandparents for Music: Jupiter, 15

Ibid. Ibid., p.3. 17 Ibid. 18 Ibid., p.4. 19 Ibid. 20 Ibid. 21 Ibid., p.5. 16



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who is explained as symbolising ‘dexterity and quickness of wit’, and Memory, ‘that aged and reverend mistress of all sciences’.22 Taking another tack, the Graces are suggested as an alternative set of parents, suggesting Music’s virtuous and attractive qualities: amiability, youth, chastity with a suggestion of fertility, concord, mirth, liberty, eternity and purity. The charting of Music’s pedigree is therefore also an account of the virtues and qualities through which the art arises. ‘How’, the author asks, ‘can a graceless fruit come of so gracious a stock?’23 Despite the biographical and genealogical models used in this narrative, the author of The Praise is not writing a history of music, but rather a philosophical meditation on its nature and qualities. The author does not intend for readers to believe in these figures as gods, nor to regard them as real historical personages from ancient times. Rather, the method is allegorical, requiring readers to ‘draw the veil aside, and look nearer into that, which now we do but glimpse at’ to find the true meaning behind the narrative created: that music is ‘the gift and invention of the gods, and therefore ordained to good use and purpose’.24

God, Nature and Humanity The Praise of Music’s approach to establishing music’s legitimacy as if it were a person was distinctive, but it was not the only work to use allegory and personification as a method for creating a structure for the chaotic collection of tales that surrounded music’s origins and inventions. Rather than considering its legitimacy and virtues, however, for other authors allegories were a means of highlighting the underlying forces and circumstances behind the creation or discovery of music. The Oxford philosopher and physician John Case used allegory in his Apologia musices (1588) to draw out perhaps the most thoroughly worked-out conception of the relationship of divine, natural and human music of any Elizabethan author, following Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa’s categorisation of music as ‘natural, celestial and human’ in the second book of De occulta philosophia (1533).25 He dismisses the competing mythical inventors of music in a sentence and instead asserts his own reading of Apollo as an allegory of ‘our wise and ever-living God’, before creating his own mythical account of music’s birth using reproductive metaphors that briefly echo the genealogical narratives of The Praise of Music.26 22

Ibid. Ibid., pp.5–6. 24 Ibid., p.5. 25 John Case, Apologia musices tam vocalis quam instrumentalis et mixtae (Oxford, 1588), p.8 (‘musicam naturalam, coelestem, humanam’). All translations from this work are by Dana F. Sutton www.philological.bham.ac.uk/music/. Accessed 7/9/2015. 26 Ibid., p.1. On debates surrounding whether or not John Case might be the author of the anonymous The Praise of Music (1586), see: Howard B. Barnett, ‘John Case, an Elizabethan Music Scholar’, Music and Letters l (1969), 252–66; J.W. Binns, ‘John Case and The Praise of Musicke’, Music and Letters 55 (1974), 444–53; Ellen E. Knight, ‘The “Praise of Musicke”: John Case, Thomas Watson and William Byrd’, Current Musicology 30 (1980), 37–59; Hyun-Ah Kim, ed., The Praise of Musicke, 1586: An Edition with Commentary, Music Theory in Britain 1500–1700 (London, 2018), pp.27–49. 23

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Case presents Music as the daughter of God and Nature. These two musical parents point to the ambivalent nature of music. In its divinity music speaks to the human mind, the image of God. Indeed, Case argues that the mind arises from the first cause (i.e. God) and music. As a physical and natural phenomenon, music delights the ears and senses.27 He traces a clear line of descent from music’s divine origins, through the celestial spheres to its infusion in Nature, until music is made vocal and instrumental by ‘a kind of human imitation’ and finally ‘polished by art, usage and experience’.28 He interposes nature between God and humanity such that human music is seen as an imitation of the divine harmony as revealed via nature. This hierarchical chain from God via nature to humanity is similar to that later depicted in Robert Fludd’s ‘Integrae naturae speculum artisque imago’ (‘Mirror of the Whole of Nature, and the Image of Art’).29 Here Lady Nature is firmly chained to a godly hand, while she simultaneously holds the chain that more loosely controls the Ape of Nature, Art. Although inferior in status, nevertheless the Ape can improve upon Nature, even as it serves her.30 Case’s conception is slightly modified by his belief that music acts as a direct link between God and the human mind or soul, such that humanity’s relationship with music can be both divine and worldly. Ultimately this close interrelationship enables him to form the foundation of his argument in defence of music: that ‘we are injurious to God, to ourselves, and to Nature if we should debar it from heaven, from the church, from the marketplace, from men’s public, and private employment’.31 Elizabethan theories of procreation, however, mean that Case’s union of God and Nature was no equal partnership. Women were often considered to be simply the vessels to carry the child and provide the matter and nourishment, while the male semen gave the form of the child.32 That this is what Case had in mind is clear from his later adaptation of the personification to make God the ‘author’

27

Ibid. Ibid., p.3 (‘musica a Deo orta, motibus caelestium corporum insita, rebus singulis et effectis naturae secundum divinam providentiam infusa, ab hominibus imitatione quadam vocalis ac instrumentalis (ut aiun) facta, a maioribus honorifice suscepta, arte, usu, experentia perpolita …’). 29 Robert Fludd, Utriusque cosmi maioris et minoris metaphysica, physica, atque technica historia, 2 vols (Oppenheim, 1617), vol.1, pp.4–5. Fludd attended St John’s College, Oxford, where Case had previously been a Fellow, and shared his profession as a physician as well as his musical interests. 30 Austern, ‘Nature, Culture, Myth’; Linda Phyllis Austern, ‘“ ’Tis Nature’s Voice”: Music, Natural Philosophy and the Hidden World in Seventeenth-Century England’, Music Theory and Natural Order from the Renaissance to the Early Twentieth Century, ed. Suzannah Clark and Alexander Rehding (Cambridge, 2001), pp.30–67 (45–7). 31 Case, Apologia musices, p.4 (‘iniuriosi Deo, nobis, naturae sumus si a coelo, a templo, a foro, si a publico et privato usu hominum’). 32 Jennifer Wynne Hellwarth, The Reproductive Unconscious in Late Medieval and Early Modern England (New York, 2002), pp.2–4; Ian Maclean, The Renaissance Notion of Woman: A Study in the Fortunes of Scholasticism and Medical Science in European Intellectual Life (Cambridge, 1980), p.74. 28



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and Nature the ‘nurse’ of music.33 Case’s Nature is a passive vessel for God’s harmonious creativity. Here Case follows a Reformation theology that saw God as the only active force in existence and Nature as passive, made and controlled by God for the sake of humanity.34 Case’s language implies God’s active role in tuning creation’s harmony, whether by touching Nature’s lyre or tuning the spheres, and believes music to have been ‘granted us for the worship of God and the consolation of human life’.35 Nor does Nature have any proactive influence over humanity for Case, being merely a model for imitation. Nature was frequently portrayed as the source of inspiration for people’s discovery of music in their attempts to imitate nature, typically birdsong or whistling breezes.36 The premise that humanity could learn from nature’s harmonies informed Charles Butler’s transcription of the ‘music’ of humming bees in staff notation and his later transformation of these sounds in a ‘bees’ madrigal’.37 While our immediate perception might be that Butler has musicalised their hum into the more perfect form of the human art, Butler’s words blur the hierarchies and boundaries of art and nature. Butler claims to show ‘the grounds of their art’ and if any listener finds the dissonances that result in the bees’ practice too harsh, Butler argues that ‘he showeth himself no experienced artist’.38 Later, in a nod to creation stories that credited natural sounds as the inspiration for human music, he claims that ‘if music were lost, it might be found with the Muses’ birds’.39 33

Case, Apologia musices, pp.5–6 (‘authorem’ and ‘nutricem’). Austern, ‘’Tis Nature’s Voice’, p.38; Gary B. Deason, ‘Reformation Theology and the Mechanistic Conception of Nature’, God and Nature: Historical Essays on the Encounter Between Christianity and Science, ed. David C. Lindberg and Ronald L. Numbers (Berkeley, 1986), pp.167–91 (175–85). 35 Case, Apologia musices, pp.7–9 (‘primus motor veluti plectro suo cytharam naturae tangit’; ‘ex corporibus dextra Dei perpetuo circumrotatis ... sonus’; ‘quae ad Dei cultum vitaeque humanae solamen datur’). 36 This Renaissance origin myth was perhaps inspired by the Roman poet Titus Carus Lucretius, De rerum natura, ed. and trans. William Ellery Leonard (New York, 1916), Book V, lines 1379–415 http://data.perseus.org/citations/urn:cts:latinLit:phi0550. phi001.perseus-eng1:5.1379-5.1415. Accessed 23/12/2017; or in a more general sense by Pliny’s account of the nightingale teaching and learning its song, Natural History, ed. and trans. H. Rackman (Cambridge, MA, 1938), Book X, Section 43, pp.334–7. The avian origins of music also had a medieval precedent in Johannes Aegidius of Zamora’s thirteenth-century Ars Musica, though the majority of medieval writers denied birdsong the status of music on the grounds that music was a rational, human activity: Elizabeth Eva Leach, Sung Birds: Music, Nature and Poetry in the Later Middle Ages (Ithaca, 2007), pp.72–4, 274 and 284. For the continued influence of birdsong in discussion of music’s origins see Matthew Head, ‘Birdsong and the Origins of Music’, Journal of the Royal Musical Association 122 (1997), 1–23 (12–17). 37 Austern, ‘Nature, Culture, Myth,’ pp.8–17; Nan Cooke Carpenter, ‘Charles Butler and the Bees’ Madrigal’, Notes and Queries 200 (1955), 103–6; Charles Butler, The Feminine Monarchy or A Treatise Concerning Bees and the due Ordering of Them (Oxford, 1609), sig.F[1]r; The Feminine Monarchy: or The History of Bees (London, 1623), sigs.K4v–L2r. 38 Butler, The Feminine Monarchy (1623), sig.K4r. 39 Ibid. 34

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Despite the advantages of human music shown in his transcriptions and composition – not least humanity’s ability to record these sounds – Butler nevertheless calls into question the superiority of human music over the natural: nature is intended to provide humanity with a model for developing its own art of music and if human ears do not like what they hear then the fault lies with humanity, not the bees. Similarly, in his music treatise he asserts the superiority of the voice – the natural instrument – over manmade musical instruments.40 The suggestion is that humanity can mimic and perhaps even refine nature, but not rival it, as music’s foundations are ultimately those of nature. Case too avoids a clear-cut hierarchy between natural and artificial music, though for different reasons. For Case, the God-created harmony of the mind means that human music – though able to be learned from nature – is ultimately inspired by the divine. He believes that the first design of instruments originated with God, reading this as the meaning behind the classical stories attributing instruments to various divinities.41 Similarly, he argues for the parity of vocal (natural) and instrumental (artificial) music in divine worship, because both are created by a person through divine inspiration: A man indeed has done this, who, after he has conceived celestial harmony in his mind, touches, strikes and moves instruments with finger, plectrum and breath, and shapes, forms and modulates their voices and tongues in accordance with divine inspiration and affection.42

Moreover, the union of instrumental and vocal music is the most divine because it combines art and nature, with their shared foundation that – as we saw in Case’s line of descent above – can ultimately be traced back to God. Case and Fludd’s image of the relationship between divine, human and natural music was by no means the only conception. The earliest of the Elizabethan ‘praise of music’ pieces is the Commendation of Music and a Confutation of them which Dispraise it by the otherwise unknown Nicholas Whight. Printed as a single-sheet publication, most likely in 1563, this was essentially a poeticised summary of Polydore Vergil’s De inventoribus rerum.43 Following Vergil’s person-centred account, Whight minimises the role of God in his account of music’s origins, despite recounting numerous biblical musicians. Yet Whight adds a distinctive narrative through the addition of two allegories: Dame Nature and Dame Reason.

40

Charles Butler, The Principles of Music, in Singing and Setting with the Two-Fold Use Thereof, Ecclesiastical and Civil (London, 1636), p.95. 41 Case, Apologia musices, p.38. 42 Ibid., p.39 (‘Tribuit quidem homo, qui postquam coelestem harmoniam animo concepit suo, digito, plectro, flatu tangit, pulsat, movetque instrumenta, eorumque voces et linguas pro divino afflatu et affectu format, flectit, moderatur’). 43 Nicholas Whight, A Commendation of Music and a Confutation of them which Dispraise it (London, 1563). Whight’s verses were unlikely to have been intended for singing as there is no indication of tune or demarcation of stanzas.



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Whight begins with Nature seeing the troubles of humanity and granting him the gift of music to drive away their cares. Just as Nature taught the birds to sing, so she teaches nurses to sing to children, and ploughmen and carters to sing to ease their toils. For Whight then, natural music is not merely the music of the natural world, but also the untutored singing of humanity. This idea was not uncommon. The author of the Praise of Music would later describe this as the ‘instinct’ of the harmonious soul which ‘compelled’ even ‘ignoble persons’ to whistle or sing.44 Moreover, for Whight Nature is not passive material to be imitated, but an active tutor of humanity. Indeed, one myth often cited in the sixteenth century had people taught to sing by the birds, particularly the nightingale.45 Unlike Case and Butler, Whight does, however, draw a clear hierarchical distinction between the music taught by Dame Nature and that inspired by Dame Reason. While Whight sees Nature as the source of humanity’s innate musicality, the origins of art music are presented as inspired by human ingenuity. He continues: Indeed I think soon after that, dame Nature made the sound: That Reason did the measure make, the concord and the ground. And then in Mercury first it wrought, as author of the same.46

Here he refers to the myth that Mercury created music in three parts ‘set and proportioned to the three times of the year, the bass to winter, the treble to summer, the mean to the spring, being a mild season between summer and winter’ (as the Praise of Music put it).47 Whight suggests that Nature has provided the basis for melodious sound production, but Reason has discovered the principles of harmony and metre. Furthermore, Reason goes on to devise instruments, inspiring ‘a forward wit in Mercury, for to invent the same’. There follows the tale of Mercury coming across a dead tortoise where just a few dry sinews remained stretched across the shell. Noting the musical sound they made, he went on to use this principle to create the first harp. Whight’s emphasis on this being ‘by th’invent of his brain’ emphasises the reason and wit of man as creating a sophisticated musical art distinct from natural music in its understanding of harmony, control of polyphonic voices and new technologies of musical production. The absence of the divine influence is atypical in sixteenth-century accounts of music’s origins, but Whight’s emphasis on the rationality and inventiveness of 44

The Praise of Music, p.43. For example: Pierre Boaistuau, Theatrum Mundi: The Theatre or Rule of the World, Wherein may be Seen the Running Race and Course of Every Man’s Life, as Touching Misery and Felicity, trans. John Alday (London, 1566), sig.[C6v]. On the early modern fascination with the relationship between birdsong and human music see Austern, ‘Nature, Culture, Myth’, pp.18–24; Richard A. Jensen, ‘Birdsong and the Imitation of Birdsong in the Music of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance’, Current Musicology 40 (1985), 50–65. 46 Whight, A Commendation of Music. 47 The Praise of Music, p.11. 45

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the musical can be explained both by his paraphrasing of Vergil’s De inventoribus (which is primarily concerned with earthly origins and inventors) and by Whight’s polemical strategy. His closing shot to those who would condemn music declares such an opinion to be ‘a great dispraise to his wit’. He irreverently compares the music critic’s words to ‘wind’, implicitly contrasting their unreasoned words with the rationality of music. Nevertheless, the relationship between natural and human music is a recurring issue across all these defences of music, and this narrative of nature being superseded by reason enables Whight to organise his account of music’s origins to suit his approach to music’s defence. Moreover, his emphasis on human reason would become an increasingly dominant approach during the seventeenth century.

From Jarring Winds to Organ’s City Contemplation of the divine, natural and human origins of music continued to follow similar themes from the sixteenth into the seventeenth centuries. Yet the discourse of the origins of music was not untouched in a century defined by new experimental approaches to natural philosophy through which it was believed humanity might gain a new understanding and mastery of the natural world, and which saw both new acoustical investigations into the properties of sound and renewed mathematical interest in the definition of harmony.48 Natural harmony could not just be imitated, but perfected by rational and mechanical control. There was a fascination with how human ingenuity might surpass nature with new inventions and instruments, extending human abilities and natural harmony.49 Whereas The Praise of Music and John Case’s Apologia musices were typical of the Elizabethan emphasis on God as the inspiration for human musicality, in the latter half of the seventeenth century there was a growing emphasis on human endeavour in the portrayal of music’s origins and development. The way in which humanity had come to discover music was becoming significant. Francis Bacon had criticised earlier writers on the first inventors of things for celebrating ‘chance [rather] than art’. The stories leave humanity ‘beholden to the nightingale for music … to chance, to anything else, rather than to logic’.50 In the musical section of Thomas Powell’s Human Industry or, A History of Most Manual Arts (1661), the narrative materials are familiar, but the story is now a human-centred one. While still begin 48

See for example, Penelope Gouk, ‘Acoustics in the Early Royal Society 1660–1680’, Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London 36 (1982), 155–75; Penelope Gouk, Music, Science and Natural Magic in Seventeenth-Century England (New Haven, 1999); Benjamin Wardhaugh, Music, Experiment and Mathematics in England, 1653–1705 (Farnham, 2008). 49 On instruments as the perceived means to improve of human abilities and nature’s harmony, see: Austern, ‘’Tis Nature’s Voice’, pp.41–4; Austern, ‘Nature, Culture, Myth’, pp.26–7. On the changing relationship between the natural and the artificial, see Lorraine Daston, ‘The Nature of Nature in Early Modern Europe’, Configurations 6 (1998), 149–72. 50 Francis Bacon, The Two Books of Francis Bacon. Of the Proficience and Advancement of Learning, Divine and Human (London, 1605), fols.48v–49r.



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ning with divine and celestial music that taught the human soul to delight in music, and acknowledging God as humanity’s creator, Powell swiftly moves to a detailed portrayal of the human body as a musical instrument: God made the body of man … a kind of a living organ or musical instrument …  There is but one pipe to this organ (to wit) the weasand [i.e. oesophagus]; the lungs are the bellows to make wind, and to inspire this pipe; yet with this one pipe (being variously stopped) we can express a thousand sorts of notes and tunes, and make most ravishing music.51

In Powell’s account, it is no longer the physical world or avian singers, but rather the human body which inspires inventors to improve on nature and create artificial instruments: In imitation of this musical pipe in the throat of man, men devised to make music with a syringe or reed; which being bored with holes, and stopped with the fingers, and inspired with man’s breath, was made to yield various and delightful sounds.52

His rehearsal of the invention of the various instruments (biblical and ancient) ends with the ‘marvellous curiosities’ of more recent times, including ‘a pair of organs made in Italy that would sound either drum or trumpet, or a full … choir of men, as the organist pleased’.53 Attitudes to nature had undergone some fundamental shifts since the Elizabethan authors. In a shift of emphasis from the naturally harmonious world of the Elizabethan ‘praise of music’ texts, seventeenth-century perceptions of nature increasingly emphasised its unruly and wild character, and there was a greater emphasis on the need for humanity’s ability to master and improve on it. In the frontispiece to Thomas Salmon’s Essay to the Advancement of Music (1672), the hand of God presents the author’s new system of musical notation as ‘concordia’ opposite the discord of conventional notes and clefs, while Lady Music sits between a dark, shadowy wood and a light and elegant, formal garden. Untamed nature is disordered and sinister, while the garden represents humanly imposed order that perfects nature into new beauty. The implication is that Salmon’s newly invented notational systems will also apply divinely inspired, human ingenuity to achieve a new musical order and perfection.54

51

Thomas Powell, Human Industry, or, A History of Most Manual Arts (London, 1661), pp.102–3. 52 Ibid., p.103. 53 Ibid., pp.108–9. 54 Austern, ‘’Tis Nature’s Voice’, pp.47–9; Thomas Salmon, An Essay to the Advancement of Music by Casting Away the Perplexity of Different Clefs, and Uniting All Sorts of Music, Lute, Viol, Violin, Organ, Harpsichord, Voice, &c in One Universal Character (London, 1672).

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The difference from the sixteenth-century praises of music is one of emphasis more than substance, but the portrayal of harmony as less a quality of nature than a human intervention continues in the poet Andrew Marvell’s ‘Music’s Empire’ (published 1681).55 Here the newly created world is not a harmonious place, but rather likened to a cymbal, with ‘jarring winds’ and ‘solitary sound’. It was Jubal that ‘first made the wilder notes agree’ and therefore humanity that brought harmony to nature. Paralleling musical harmony with the development of civil society, Jubal takes on the attributes of Amphion to found ‘the organ’s city’, while the double meaning of consort – musical ensemble and spouse – parallels the social organisation and procreation of humanity with the propagation of musical instruments and genres. The language of ‘Jubilee’, the punning evocation of Moses in the epithet ‘Mosaic of the Air’, and the idea of calling echoes from their ‘cells’, characterises humanity’s actions as a liberating music from the strictures of nature. This artificial music ultimately gains the ‘empire of the ear/Including all between the Earth and Sphere’. Yet although ‘victorious’, this music is called to do homage to a ‘gentler Conqueror’, whose identity is a subject of controversy. Following Jonathan Goldberg’s interpretation and based on the religious language that underpins the poem, the conqueror can be considered as Christ, with humanity’s efforts to harmonise the earth ultimately positioned as second to God’s.56 Other scholars have read the conqueror as the music-loving Oliver Cromwell – previously praised in musical terms in Marvell’s ‘The First Anniversary of the Government under O.C.’57 – in which case human harmonic endeavour is the sole subject of this narrative of music’s origins.58 Either way, Marvell’s story of humanity harmonising a jarring nature marks a significant shift in the relationship between natural and human music.

Conclusion There is one widely known myth that has surprisingly played almost no role in these English accounts of music’s origins: Pythagoras and his legendary discovery of harmonic proportions, from hearing the striking of a smith’s hammers (sometimes also ascribed to the biblical Jubal, whose brother Tubalcain was the first blacksmith59). The omission is significant and strikingly different to Italian treatises of the cinquecento, in which Carla Bromberg finds Pythagoras or Jubal’s discovery at 55

Andrew Marvell, Miscellaneous Poems (London, 1681), pp.47–8. Jonathan Goldberg, ‘The Typology of “Musicks Empire”’, Texas Studies in Literature and Language 13 (1971), 421–30. 57 Marvell, Miscellaneous Poems, pp.119–29. 58 Patsy Griffin, The Modest Ambition of Andrew Marvell: A Study of Marvell and his Relation to Lovelace, Fairfax, Cromwell, and Milton (Newark, 1995), p.91; John Hollander, The Untuning of the Sky: Ideas of Music in English Poetry, 1500–1700 (Princeton, 1961), pp.310–14. 59 McKinnon, ‘Jubal vel Pythagoras’. See also the chapters of Elina Hamilton and Jason Stoessel in this collection. 56



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the blacksmith’s workshop are referred to in nearly every treatise.60 The story was nevertheless well known in early modern England: Edmund Spenser drew on the myth in Book IV of The Fairy Queen and William Browne in Britannia’s Pastorals; Robert Dowland mentions it in Variety of Lute-Lessons (1610), and numerous biblical exegetes refer in passing to Jubal’s weighing of his brother’s hammers, suggesting that it would have been common knowledge.61 Partly this can be explained by the fact that many English authors were following the example of Polydore Vergil. He had emphasised musical performance and its effects on listeners rather than compositional development, and in doing so omitted this legend of Pythagoras.62 Yet this notable difference, while otherwise drawing on a common set of materials, also highlights the different tone and purpose of the English authors’ considerations of music’s origins. In the Italian treatises, Pythagoras and Jubal are often followed by lists of contemporary composers and theorists, suggesting that their concern is primarily music’s harmonic development. For theorists such as Zarlino, the story of Pythagoras/Jubal’s hammers provided a foundational myth from which to build towards their own musical theories.63 For English authors, the theoretical basis of music was not the issue at stake. English theoretical treatises were largely practical guides for amateurs in no need of such speculative discussions of music’s origins.64 Rather, English authors dealing with the origins of music were more likely to be writing works of philosophy, attempting to define music’s moral, civil and theological status in a context in which music’s place in human society – and particularly in church worship – was regularly questioned. Nor for the most part was their interest in these stories an attempt to find a starting point for a history of music (the exception being Powell’s Human Industry, which does create a narrative of progress from the first inventors of instruments to the ingenious modern designs). While the Pythagoras myth was essential for a narrative of discovering music’s intellectual and mathematical properties, the story of the hammers had much less to contribute to an understanding of music’s morality and roles in human life. Spanning the supernatural, the natural and the artificial, music was simultaneously divine and heavenly, natural and physical, and the result of human wit and invention. This 60

Bromberg, ‘A Preliminary Study of the Origin of Music’, pp.164–5. Elizabeth Eva Leach, ‘The Unquiet Thoughts of Edmund Spenser’s Scudamour and John Dowland’s First Booke of Songes’, ‘Uno gentile et subtile ingenio’: Studies in Renaissance Music in Honour of Bonnie Blackburn, ed. Gioia Filocamo and M. Jennifer Bloxam, (Turnhout, 2009), pp.513–20; John M. Steadman, ‘The “Inharmonious Blacksmith”: Spenser and the Pythagoras Legend,’ PMLA 79 (1964), 664–5; William Browne, Britannia’s Pastorals: The Second Book (London, 1625), p.127; John Dowland, ‘Other Necessary Observations belonging to the Lute’, Variety of Lute-Lessons viz. Fantasies, Pavans, Galliards, Almains, Corantos, and Voltas: Selected Out of the Best Approved Authors, as Well Beyond the Seas as of our own Country, ed. Robert Dowland (London, 1610), sig. D1r–E1v (sig.D2r). 62 Atkinson, Inventing Inventors, p.164. 63 Bromberg, ‘A Preliminary Study of the Origin of Music’, pp.163–5. 64 Rebecca Herissone, Music Theory in Seventeenth-Century England (Oxford, 2000), p.224. 61

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gave defenders a three-pronged attack against music’s critics – to deny the benefits of music was to do injustice to God, the natural world and human nature. In The Praise of Music, this emphasis on music as an essential constituent of human existence even inspired a personification that gave music itself a human-like lifespan. Nevertheless, the arguments being made by English authors would have been recognised by continental readers. Moreover, such beliefs in the divine origins of music, the inspirational effect of natural sounds on art music, and the role of human ingenuity would remain common themes well into the eighteenth century. They held their ground even as the writing of music histories developed a greater concern for verifiable history, before eventually losing ground to newer theories of music being an innate language of human expression, or having developed from language.65 These mythical accounts of music’s beginnings continued to hold importance because of their significance for articulating music’s perceived relationship to humanity, nature and the divine.

65

Head, ‘Birdsong and the Origins of Music’, pp.1–23.

iv myth and musical practice

8

How to Sing like Angels: Isaiah, Ignatius of Antioch and Protestant Worship in England * Jamie Apgar

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eligions are deeply invested in stories. An important reason for this is their capacity to make political and moral suggestions through allegory and metaphor, but stories also shape religious observance in literal ways. The Last Supper, recounted in the four gospels, is commemorated not simply in words, but by the act of breaking bread, a form of remembrance Luke’s version of the story explicitly commands. Those accounts recall a doctrinally significant episode, but they also physically inform its ritualisation.1 This chapter examines two stories with a similarly material relationship to liturgical tradition. These ancient tales of eminent figures who saw and heard angels praising God were used in the medieval and early modern periods to assert that alternating or responsive performance had heavenly roots.2 Changing ritual practices and contemporary religious politics fundamentally shaped the ways in which the stories were received. Yet a political narrative of the favour and disfavour they found offers only a partial picture of their role within contemporary religious cultures. After explaining their histories, I argue that they appealed to common beliefs about the spiritual function of music and the effects of collaborative worship, empowering their survival in the face of critique. I further suggest that this reflects the capacities of myth to instruct, inspire and explain, not in lieu of, but in fluid relation to, empirical, rational and critical inquiry.



* The following abbreviations will be used: MECL = Music in Early Christian Literature, ed. James W. McKinnon (Cambridge, 1987); CCSL = Corpus Christianorum Series Latina (Turnhout, 1953–); CCCM = Corpus Christianorum Continuatio Mediaevalis (Turnhout, 1976–); PL = Patrologiae Cursus Completus … Series Latina, ed. JacquesPaul Migne (Paris, 1844–55); STC = A.W. Pollard and G.R. Redgrave, A Short-Title Catalogue of Books Printed in England, Scotland, & Ireland and of English Books Printed Abroad, 1475–1640, 2nd edn (London, 1976–86). Latin translations are my own unless otherwise indicated, but I am grateful to Leofranc Holford-Strevens and Sean Curran for assistance with Greek and Latin respectively. 1 The Eucharists of early Christianity indeed placed more weight on the actions than on the words. Catherine Bell, Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice, 2nd edn (Oxford, 2009), p.112. On theories of the relationships between myth and ritual, see Catherine Bell, Ritual: Perspectives and Dimensions, 2nd edn (Oxford, 2009), chap.1. 2 Reinhold Hammerstein devoted three sentences to these stories in Die Musik der Engel (Munich, 1962), pp.44–5. He mentions their original sources and quotes the story of Ignatius in German translation.

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Hearing Heaven The first story is found in Isaiah 6:2–3. The prophet sees the Lord sitting on a throne attended by two angels called seraphim, who ‘cried one to another and said, “Holy, holy, holy the Lord, God of hosts; all the earth is full of his glory.” ’ 3 Interpretations of this familiar hymn have rested largely on the symbolism perceived in its words, not on its scriptural context.4 Yet scripture does remark on how the hymn is sung: the angels ‘cried one to another’. This point did not escape early Christian authors. Augustine likened the seraphim to the Old and New Testaments, which also seemed to speak reciprocally by presenting and fulfilling prophecy.5 Isidore of Seville added a component to the Augustinian comparison to illuminate an emerging liturgical practice. ‘Two choirs singing together alternatim’, he writes, is ‘like the two seraphim and the two testaments calling to one another’.6 This alternatim manner – one half of the choir, standing on one side, sings a verse, and the other, standing on the opposite side, sings the next – was the daily bread of medieval and early modern liturgy, used to perform psalms and certain other items in both chant and polyphony. The second story originated in an ecclesiastical history written in the fifth century by Socrates of Constantinople.7 He states that Ignatius, a first-century bishop, saw a vision of angels hymning the Trinity with ‘ἀντιφώνων ὕμνων’ (‘antiphonal hymns’) and transmitted their manner to his church at Antioch, whence the practice spread throughout Christendom.8 The meaning of ‘ἀντιφώνων’ (‘antiphonal’) and related words in early Christian texts is, in the words of James McKinnon, a ‘thorny question’.9 Yet Western readers encountered Socrates only in the Historia Tripartita, a sixth-century Latin translation and compilation of his narrative and two others, where ‘ἀντιφώνων ὕμνων’ is rendered as the noun ‘antiphonas’.10 Early medieval authors hewed closely to this wording, which, as some scholars have 3

Angela M. Kinny and Edgar Swift, eds, The Vulgate Bible: Douay-Rheims Translation, 6 vols (Cambridge, MA, 2010–13), vol.4, p.25. 4 Most notable is the ancient claim that the three iterations of ‘holy’ symbolise the Trinity. See for instance, Augustine, Contra Adimantum, Book I, chap.28 (PL 42, col.170). 5 Augustine, Contra Faustum, Book XII, chap.48 (PL 42, col.280); Enarratio in Psalmum XLIX (PL 36, col.567). Early modern preachers also referenced this simile. 6 ‘Antiphonas Greci primi composuerunt, duobus | choris alternatim concinentibus quasi duo seraphin duoque testamenta inuicem sibi conclamantia.’ Isidore of Seville, De Ecclesiasticis Officiis, Book I, chap.7 (CCSL 113, p.7). 7 Socrates, Histoire Ecclésiastique: Livres IV–VI, trans. Pierre Périchon and Pierre Maraval (Paris, 2006). 8 Ibid., Book VI, chap.8 (p.298). English translation in MECL no.218 (p.102). 9 MECL, no.218 (p.101). See Edward Nowacki, ‘Antiphonal Psalmody in Christian Antiquity and Early Middle Ages’, Essays on Medieval Music in Honor of David G. Hughes, ed. Graeme M. Boone (Cambridge, MA, 1995), pp.287–315 (espec. 301–4) and Terence Bailey, Antiphon and Psalm in the Ambrosian Office (Ottawa, 1994), pp.111–12. 10 Cassiodorus, Cassiodori-Epiphanii historia ecclesiastica tripartita: historiae ecclesiasticae ex Socrate, Sozomeno et Theodorito, Book X, chap.9, ed. Rudolphus Hanslik, Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum 71 (Vienna, 1952), p.596. [Commonly known as Historia Tripartita.]



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cautioned, may refer only to the items called ‘antiphons’ – the refrains of Office psalms – not to the alternatim practice used to chant those psalms.11 Others argue that a distinction between the use of antiphons and two alternating choirs would have made little sense to the typical cleric, who did not experience one without the other.12 At the height of the Middle Ages, alternatim singing was standard fare, and medieval authors turned to the visions of Isaiah and Ignatius to explain its origins and continuing significance. The Rationale Divinorum Officiorum (c.1291–6), a synthesis of the tradition of medieval ritual commentary compiled by the French bishop Durandus, offers a glimpse of this approach.13 Durandus handles Isaiah simply by quoting Isidore.14 He dispatches Ignatius almost as efficiently. In the most detailed of three references to the story, Durandus explains: The holy fathers ordained that [the psalms] be performed alternatim, that is, one part of the choir sings one verse, the other part sings another verse, which the blessed Ignatius is said to have first established in the Church of Antioch because in a vision he heard angels singing psalms antiphonatim.15

If the adverbs antiphonatim and alternatim intended a distinction, it was again of limited relevance to the average reader. Indeed, one fifteenth-century English author, possibly working from the Rationale, simply elided it: ‘psalms should be sung one verse on the one side of the choir, another on the other side’, he declared, because Ignatius had heard angels ‘sing psalms in such manner; choir to choir.’16 In ritual commentary the visions of Isaiah and Ignatius established angelic precedents for alternatim practice, serving the larger purpose of the genre by inviting clerical reflection on the theological coherence and meaning of the liturgy. The stories were also mentioned in other literary domains. Durandus, for instance, borrowed his first reference to Ignatius from the popular Legenda Aurea, a thir-

11

For instance, Amalar of Metz, On the Liturgy, Book IV, chap.7, ed. and trans. Eric Knibbs, 2 vols (Cambridge, MA, 2014), vol.2, pp.361–2. 12 Peter Jeffrey, ‘The Introduction of Psalmody into the Roman Mass by Pope Celestine I (422–432)’, Archiv für Liturgiewissenschaft 26 (1984), 147–65 (151). 13 CCCM140–140b. The Rationale was widely disseminated in several hundred manuscripts and later in numerous prints. For more on its historical context and significance, see Timothy M. Thibodeau, ed., The Rationale Divinorum Officiorum of William Durand of Mende: A New Translation of the Prologue and Book One (New York, 2007), pp.xvii–xxii. 14 Durandus of Mende, Rationale Divinorum Officiorum, Book V, chap.2 (CCCM 140a, pp.26–7). 15 Ibid, Book V, chap.2 (CCCM 140a, pp.29–30): ‘Sancti patres ordinauerunt ut alternatim dicerentur, id est una pars chori unum uersum, altera alium diceret, quod beatus Ignatius primus statuisse fertur in Ecclesia Antiochena pro eo quod in uisione audiuit angelos antiphonatim psalmos psallentes.’ 16 J.H. Blunt, ed., The Mirror of Our Lady containing a Devotional Treatise on Divine Service (London, 1873), p.37.

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teenth-century hagiographical compendium.17 In these other spaces, Ignatius’s vision proved particularly flexible. One ninth-century music treatise cited both tales, but connected only the seraphim to alternatim performance.18 Yet none of these figures were driven to question the stories or how they were used. Convention was to mention them – perhaps citing scripture, Isidore or the Historia Tripartita – and to forge ahead.

A ‘Mere Fable’ and a ‘Greater Authority ’ The religious, political and intellectual conditions of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, however, prompted such questions. Early modern thinkers scrutinised existing authority on a number of topics using an array of intellectual strategies; perhaps best known are the empirical methods they applied to natural phenomena.19 Yet they also grappled with history and myth using tools that came to define modern historical scholarship, such as a critical approach towards sources. As several scholars have recently argued, the adoption of these methods cannot adequately be explained through narratives of historiographical secularisation or technical progress.20 Indeed, situating early modern scholarly practices in their ideological contexts reveals religious debates as central factors in their development. As Alexandra Walsham notes: ‘Ostensible advances in historical method were at least in part a side-effect of the polemical conflicts engendered by the Reformation and Counter-Reformation themselves.’21 Ecclesiastical histories were key weapons in these quarrels, promoting rival narratives of past events and doctrines to further competing visions of true Christianity. We will explore how the authors of one such work implemented the technique of viewing sources critically to question traditional connections between angels and choral practice. In the sixteenth century, the ancient stories that had forged those connections remained current in orthodox circles.22 Challenging them would require care. Sixteenth-century reformers united around the belief that scripture was the great 17

Jacobus da Voragine, Legenda Aurea, ed. Giovanni Paolo Maggioni (Florence, 1998), p.1272. Cf. Durandus, Rationale Divinorum Officiorum, Book I, chap.1 (CCCM 140, p.18), and translation in Thibodeau, ed., The Rationale Divinorum Officiorum of William Durand of Mende, p.17. 18 Aurelian of Réôme, Musica Disciplina, ed. Lawrence Gushee, Corpus scriptorum de musica 21 ([s.l.], 1975), p.129. More examples in Martin Gerbert, ed., Scriptores ecclesiastici de Musica sacra potissimum, 3 vols (St Blaise, 1784), vol.3, pp.197–8 and p.343. 19 Music and sound were at the forefront of these investigations. See Gina Bloom, Voice in Motion: Staging Gender, Shaping Sound in Early Modern England (Philadelphia, 2007), pp.73–7, and Bruce Smith, The Acoustic World of Early Modern England: Attending to the O-Factor (Chicago, 1999), pp.98–9. 20 David Womersley, ‘Against the Teleology of Technique’, The Uses of History in Early Modern England, ed. Paulina Kewes (San Marino, CA, 2006), pp.91–104; Alexandra Walsham, ‘History, Memory, and the English Reformation’, The Historical Journal 55 (2012), 899–938, espec. 905–7. 21 Walsham, ‘History, Memory, and the English Reformation’, p.906. 22 Johann Eck, a famous antagonist of Luther, referred to Isidore’s simile and Ignatius’s vision in quick succession in his 1525 Enchiridion (reprinted London, 1531), sig.I3v.



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est – and only infallible – religious authority. This placed Isaiah beyond reproach. Socrates, by contrast, enjoyed no such immunity, opening the door to an examination of his account in its historical context. The most influential critics of his story of Ignatius were the Protestant authors of what is now called the Magdeburg Centuries, which, when its first volumes were published in 1559, was the most ambitious ecclesiastical history ever conceived.23 These so-called Centuriators openly doubted the old tale: But what is said about hymns, responsories or antiphons, having been revealed to Ignatius through a vision of angels, lacks credibility: even if Socrates, author of the Historia Ecclesiastica, says it. For it does not seem that this issue is of such importance that on its account angels inevitably would have descended and appeared before him singing: mostly because the church already had psalms and hymns.24

Contrary to what we might expect, the possibility of angelic intervention was not the problem.25 The scepticism expressed here was instead rooted in the overall methodology of the Centuries, which applied the source-critical apparatus of contemporary French jurisprudence to a providentialist mindset in which the Bible was considered the most reliable historical document.26 In this context, the Centuriators’ crucial move is to characterise Ignatius’s invention as ‘hymns, responsories or antiphons’. This broad reading of the story placed it in the precarious position of contradicting the vastly greater authority of scripture, which confirmed that by Ignatius’s time ‘the church already had psalms and hymns’.27 In the Centuriators’ approach, that fact easily trumped Socrates’s uncorroborated testimony. 23

Centuriators of Magdeburg, Ecclesiastica historia, integram ecclesiae Christi ideam, quantum ad locum, Propagationem, Persecutionem, Tranquillitatem, Doctrinam, Haereses, Ceremonias, Gubernationem, Schismata, Synodos, Personas, Miracula, Martyria, Religiones extra Ecclesiam, et statum Imperii politicum attinet, secundum singulas Centurias, perspicuo ordine complectens (Basel, 1559–74). The project is so named because the group of scholars spearheading it were initially based in Magdeburg. See discussion in Irena Backus, Historical Method and Confessional Identity in the Era of the Reformation (1378– 1615) (Leiden, 2003), pp.358–64. 24 ‘Sed quod de hymnis, responsoriis seu antiphonis, per uisionem angelorum Ignatio indicatis, dicitur, fide caret: etiamsi id Socrates, historiae ecclesiasticae scriptor, narret. Nec enim uidetur tanti eam rem momenti eβe, ut propter eam neceβe fuerit e coelo angelos descendere, et praecinentes apparere: maxime cum psalmis et hymnis ecclesia iam noncaruerit.’ Centuriators of Magdeburg, Ecclesiastica historia, cent.II, chap.6, col.116. 25 Protestant confessions accommodated angels because of their clear scriptural foundation. See Peter Marshall and Alexandra Walsham, ‘Migrations of Angels in the Early Modern World’, Angels in the Early Modern World, ed. Peter Marshall and Alexandra Walsham (New York, 2006), pp.1–40. 26 Gregory B. Lyon, ‘Baudouin, Flacius, and the Plan for the Magdeburg Centuries’, Journal of the History of Ideas 64 (2003), 253–72; Backus, Historical Method, pp.358–64. 27 One oft-cited piece of evidence was the ‘hymn’ mentioned in Matthew 26:30 and Mark 14:26; MECL no.3, p.13.

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The Centuries quickly found Elizabethan audiences.28 Among its eager readers were a group of radical Protestants infuriated by ‘Popish abuses yet remaining in the English Church’, including what they memorably ridiculed as the ‘tossing’ of psalm verses ‘like tennis balls’.29 Publishing these criticisms in 1572 as part of a larger campaign against existing ecclesiastical structures sparked a debate with the establishment called the Admonition Controversy.30 When Thomas Cartwright, standard-bearer for the radical cause, joined the fray the following year, he denounced Socrates as an instrument of Satan himself. The devil, Cartwright alleges, had worked through the historian to secure authority for alternating psalmody by ‘deriving it from Ignatius’s time’ and by ‘making the world believe that this came from heaven/ and the angels were heard to sing after this sort/which as it is a mere fable/so it is confuted by historiographers.’31 Four years later, Cartwright revealed that this attack had been grounded in an attitude towards history mirroring that of his German predecessors.32 Yet he reacted far more zealously than they had. Like other radicals who attributed the follies of the Roman faith and their English remnants to the devil’s designs, Cartwright viewed this ‘mere fable’ as exemplary of nothing less than Satan’s eternal project to deceive humanity through the advancement of false religion. These challenges to Socrates’s credibility left a mark on advocates of Protestant church music because they exploited the historian’s lack of authority relative to scripture. This issue was addressed explicitly in 1597 by one of the most influential defenders of the established church, Richard Hooker, in a three-page discussion ‘Of singing or saying psalms and other parts of common prayer, wherein the people and minister answer one another by course’.33 This exhaustive survey of the origins and benefits of responsive worship was a much-belated reply to Cartwright’s 1573 critique of alternating psalmody. Hooker, however, expanded the debate to include all of the vocal exchanges between pastor and people found in the services of the Book of Common Prayer. This simple strategy re-conceptu 28

Felicity Heal, ‘Appropriating History: Catholic and Protestant Polemics and the National Past’, The Uses of History in Early Modern England, ed. Paulina Kewes (San Marino, 2006), pp.105–28 (111). 29 John Field and Thomas Wilcox, An Admonition to the Parliament ([Hemel Hempstead?], 1572), sig.B4v (STC 10848, the longer of the two published versions). This ‘tennis’ simile remained a favourite criticism of Elizabethan and Stuart services. 30 See Peter Lake, Anglicans and Puritans? Presbyterianism and English Conformist Thought from Whitgift to Hooker (London, 1988), pp.1–70. 31 Thomas Cartwright, A Reply to an Answer made of M. Doctor Whitegift ([Hemel Hempstead?], 1573), p.203. This pagination is from the longer (STC 4712) of the two published versions. 32 Thomas Cartwright, The Rest of the Second Reply ([Basel], 1577), p.214. Evidence from a more reliable witness, he argued, contradicted Socrates. The key difference, however, was the narrower terrain of the Elizabethan conversation. By invoking the Centuriators’ critique to counter establishment claims to the worthiness of alternating psalmody, Cartwright had also reined in their broad characterisation of Ignatius’s invention. His more reliable witness was thus not scripture but Theodoret, author of one of the other histories bundled in Historia Tripartita. 33 Richard Hooker, Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity (London, 1597), pp.76–9. Jamie Apgar, ‘ “Singing by Course” and the Politics of Worship in the Church of England, c.1560–1640,’ PhD Diss., University of California, Berkeley, 2018.



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alised alternatim practice as only one aspect of a larger category of ritual acts. Yet it also armed Hooker with a slew of stories that traditionally had been offered in support of choral alternation, including the two discussed here. To handle Cartwright’s offensive, Hooker abandons Socrates in favour of Isaiah. He retorts to the charge of ‘mere fable’ with a question: ‘Whether Ignatius did at any time hear the angels praising God after that sort or no, what matter is it?’34 This is no concession. ‘If Ignatius did not,’ Hooker continues, ‘yet one which must be with us of greater authority did.’ That ‘greater authority’ was Isaiah. The phrase ‘which must be with us’ is Hooker’s way of suggesting that Cartwright had at best ignored, at worst rejected, the ultimate authority of scripture by denying that alternating psalmody ‘came from heaven’. The quotation of Isaiah 6:3 even sets the phrase ‘one cried to another’ in Roman type to emphasise it against the complete verse, printed in italics. These four words are Hooker’s proof that angels are always ‘praising God after that sort’. The visions of Isaiah and Ignatius both claimed angelic precedent for worshipping in alternation, but only the former had been passed down in an irreproachable source.35 Some like-minded authors hedged even further towards the seraphim. Before becoming Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, John Boys published a series of defences of the prayer book and the lectionary in which he notes Socrates’s attribution of the first ‘interlocutory passages’ to Ignatius, but omits the vision of angels.36 More revealing, however, is that Boys still transitions to the angelic example: ‘If any shall expect greater antiquity and authority,’ he writes, ‘we can fetch this order even from the choir of heaven.’ His subsequent quotation of Isaiah 6:3 suggests that the association between earthly and heavenly ‘answering’ is demonstrated only in scripture. Despite this damage, the story of Ignatius’s vision of angels was still frequently mentioned, with varying degrees of credulousness and enthusiasm, in a range of Elizabethan and Stuart writings.37 These expose the impact of genre, audience and authorial ideology on whether and how the story was told. Most revealing in the first two regards is the contrast between The Praise of Music (1586) and John Case’s Apologia musices (1588). The similarities between these works still fuel suspicion 34

Ibid., p.78. Hooker’s stance on the authority of scripture was decidedly Reformed. See Michael Brydon’s summary of relevant scholarship in The Evolving Reputation of Richard Hooker: An Examination of Responses, 1600–1714 (New York, 2006), pp.4–7. 36 John Boys, An Exposition of all the Principal Scriptures used in our English Liturgy (London, 1609), p.51. 37 One important reason for its survival was its inclusion in an ecclesiastical history by the medieval, Byzantine author Nicephorus Callistus. This work became available to the West in a Latin translation published widely on the Continent from 1553. See Franco Mormando, ‘Pestilence, Apostasy, and Heresy in Seventeenth-Century Rome: Deciphering Michael Sweerts’s Plague in an Ancient City’, Piety and Plague: from Byzantium to the Baroque, ed. Franco Mormando and Thomas Worcester (Kirksville, MO, 2007), pp.237–312 (265–7). This work clearly circulated among English divines: in the metrical psalter prepared for Archbishop of Canterbury Matthew Parker, the story of Ignatius appeared in an English translation of Nicephorus’s version. The Whole Psalter Translated into English Metre (London, 1567), sig.G2r. The Byzantine historian came to be cited alongside Socrates, for instance in Donald Lupton, The Glory of their Times (London, 1640), p.18. 35

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that Case also wrote the earlier, unattributed text, but their handling of Ignatius’s vision could hardly have been more different.38 The author of The Praise of Music exercised circumspection, conceding that the story ‘may seem somewhat fabulous (as perhaps it is, and as the Magdeburgenses [i.e. the Centuriators] are of opinion, saying that this is not a matter of so great moment, that therefore Angels should come down from heaven and appear singing)’.39 In the Apologia musices, published only two years later, Case paid no mind to this conversation. His description of Ignatius’s vision reads as plainly as the original Latin version of the story from a full millennium earlier.40 Regardless of authorship, the key to this discrepancy likely lies in the ends and audiences to which these works were aimed. The Praise contributed directly to an ongoing debate over the use of music in the services of the national Church. Its use of the vernacular and extensive reliance on biblical, patristic and Reformed authorities indicate that it was meant to appeal to a domestic, Protestant readership.41 Deference to recent developments in Protestant critique kept with this orientation. By contrast, the Latin Apologia was accessible to an international milieu that perhaps demanded less sensitivity to the finer points of Protestant discourse.42 Several contemporaries even alleged that Case was, as Anthony Wood put it, ‘Popishly affected’.43 This might explain his unawareness or avoidance of the Centuries and the close resemblance of his treatment of the tale to that of medieval authors. The role played by religious and political affiliations in shaping the story’s reception became clearest in the work of Peter Heylyn, one of the most brazen advocates for the policies of ritual uniformity and elaboration being pushed by the ecclesiastical regime of Archbishop of Canterbury William Laud. In 1636, Heylyn observed that the earliest Christian singing was: little more then a melodious kind of pronunciation, such as is commonly now used in singing of the ordinary psalms and prayers in Cathedral Churches. And so it stood, till in the entrance of this age, Ignatius Bishop of Antiochia, one who was conversant with the apostles, brought in the use of singing alternatim, course 38

The historian Peter McCullough has recently renewed the argument for Case’s authorship in ‘Music Reconciled to Preaching: A Jacobean Moment?’, Worship and the Parish Church in Early Modern Britain, ed. Natalie Mears and Alec Ryrie (Farnham, 2013), pp.109–29. For a full discussion of the issue, including an extensive argument for an attribution to the composer John Bull, see Hyun-Ah Kim, ed., The Praise of Musicke, 1586: An Edition with Commentary, Music Theory in Britain 1500–1700 (London, 2018), pp.27–49.’ 39 The Praise of Music wherein besides the Antiquity, Dignity, Delectation, and Use thereof in Civil Matters, is also Declared the Sober and Lawful Use of the Same in the Congregation and Church of God (Oxford, 1586), p.96. 40 John Case, Apologia musices tam vocalis quam instrumentalis et mixtae (Oxford, 1588), pp.28–9. 41 McCullough, ‘Music Reconciled to Preaching’, p.119. 42 Case’s works were printed more often on the Continent than at home. Edward A. Malone, ‘Case, John  (1540/41?–1600)’,  Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004; online edn, 2008) www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/4853. Accessed 21/1/2016. 43 Ibid.



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by course, according as it still continues in our public choirs, where one side answers to another, some show whereof is left in parochial churches, in which the Minister and the people answer one another, in their several turns. To him doth Socrates refer it, and withal affirms that he first learnt it of the angels, whom in a vision he had heard to sing the praise of God after such a manner.44

Heylyn was hardly deterred by the critiques that had so noticeably affected his predecessors. This passage reads as if Ignatius’s vision and the intervention it inspired were the most important events in the history of church music.45 Yet the impassioned narrative has several distinct objectives. First, Heylyn uses Ignatius’s proximity to the apostles to reinforce the Church of England’s apostolic ancestry. Second, he links choral and congregational answering, explicating the ideology of performance that Hooker had implied through his expanded application of old origin stories for alternatim singing. Finally, he commends those acts by celebrating their angelic roots. As Tim Shephard and Patrick McMahon observe in their contribution to this collection, the way in which stories are told reveals the types of investments made in them.46 Indeed, these contentions express a bold position regarding the pedigree of the Church of England and the divine coherence of its religious practices. Heylyn’s commitment to the trappings of elaborate ritual, however, points to the equally strong reaction against Laudian policy that helped to catalyse the English Civil War. Choral music was among the ceremonial elements vehemently condemned by anti-establishment voices. This allows us to return at last to Isaiah’s vision, which had caused less discursive turmoil during the Elizabethan and early Stuart years. As Hooker had boasted, the authority of the biblical source had foreclosed any argument that Isaiah’s account ‘lacks credibility’, and Jacobean commentators had continued to adduce to the seraphim in reference to contemporary liturgical practice.47 Yet an account published in 1644 by the iconoclast Richard Culmer also allows us to witness the nature of the resistance to such appeals. Reflecting on the abolition of sung worship at Canterbury Cathedral, Culmer described some of the most grievous offences recently committed by local authorities. He alleges that on Trinity Sunday 1642, Isaac Bargrave – John Boys’s brotherin-law and successor as Dean – had preached on Isaiah 6:3, concluding, ‘hence is justified our Cathedral singing of psalms from one side of the choir to the other’.48 44

Peter Heylyn, The History of the Sabbath (London, 1636), p.40. Its division of Christian song into pre- and post-Ignatian eras also seems to make ‘singing alternatim’ the most fundamental characteristic of contemporary practice. 46 See chapter 5 in this collection. 47 For example, in 1622, Godfrey Goodman, soon-to-be Bishop of Gloucester, described ‘one side of the choir answering another’ as ‘a custom which hath anciently been brought into the Church, according to the pattern and precedent of the Seraphim’, The Creatures Praising God: or, The Religion of Dumb Creatures (London, 1622), p.25. 48 Richard Culmer, Cathedral News from Canterbury (London, 1644), p.18. See also Roger Bowers, ‘The Liturgy of the Cathedral and its Music, c.1075–1642’, A History of Canterbury Cathedral, ed. Patrick Collinson, Nigel Ramsay, and Margaret Sparks (Oxford, 1995), pp.408–50 (444–50). 45

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The Bible may have been bullet-proofed, but interpretations of it were not. To Culmer this episode epitomised how willingly conformists abused scripture to defend their Popish ways. He registers his relief at the simpler style of worship that had prevailed by quipping that the ‘Cathedral Seraphims … tossing their choir service’ had been silenced.49

Angelic Actions Such disagreements generally fell along predictable ideological fault lines and certainly expose the religious and political commitments that to some degree motivated these citations and critiques. The remainder of this essay, however, will offer a different view of why the visions of Isaiah and Ignatius were invoked, in some cases with exceptional enthusiasm, even against scepticism or charges of misinterpretation. By indicating that (particular forms of) human worship could be ‘angelic’, the stories engaged several basic beliefs regarding music, ritual and devotion. First, they provided practical strategies for improving piety. This pursuit was commonly conceptualised as imitating angels, but mainly in the metaphorical sense of aspiring to angelic virtues like chastity and tireless devotion to God.50 Yet angelic commitment to unceasing worship provided another kind of model for humanity. As John Calvin – one of the sixteenth-century reformers most prized in England – put it in his commentary on Isaiah 6:3 (in the 1609 translation): Now when we hear that the angels are continually busied in sounding forth God’s glory, let us know that their example is set before us for our imitation … in as much then as he herein makes us companions with his angels, it is to the end that whilst we wander here below, we should notwithstanding be conjoined and made like to the heavenly inhabitants.51

In calling for ‘imitation’ of ‘their example’, Calvin ostensibly encourages nothing more than being as ‘continually busied’ in glorifying God as the angels. Isaiah and Ignatius had simply revealed literal ways to attain that metaphorical goal. Mortal devotion, however, was not improved merely by going through angelic motions. Instead, vocal collaboration provided a framework for the mutual escalation of piety, a process that angels were thought to model.52 As Durandus asserted 49

Culmer, Cathedral News, p.20. These aspirations were particular hallmarks of monastic life. David Keck, Angels and Angelology in the Middle Ages (New York, 1998), pp.115–28. 51 John Calvin, A Commentary upon the Prophecy of Isaiah, trans. C.C. (London, 1609), p.65. The translator worked from the French version (1552, revised 1572) dedicated to Edward VI, but this passage also appears in the 1559 Latin edition, which David Steinmetz considers Calvin’s final word on Isaiah. David Steinmetz, Calvin in Context (New York, 2010), p.96. 52 In this respect, discourses of ritual collaboration offer a contrast with the subjectivity of echo described by Ljubica Ilic in chapter 9 of this collection. Far from self-reflexive, the sonic exchanges of worship were residues of constructive, communal engagement. 50



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immediately following his first reference to Ignatius: ‘The two choirs of singers represent the angels and the spirits of the just, as if to say in singing praises back and forth, they exhort each other to do good works.’53 Following the seraphim was particularly productive; their cries were reciprocal, but their zeal was also thought to be unmatched even by their angelic kin.54 For Heinrich Bullinger, a major foreign influence on the Elizabethan Church, they thus exemplified effective corporate devotion: ‘One [seraph] cries to the other, doubtless mutually encouraging themselves towards the acclamations or praises of God, just as elsewhere men are directed by the example of the angels to encourage themselves towards the praises of God.’55 English divines drew keenly on this rhetoric of teamwork, providing a crucial subtext for their interest in imitating angels.56 That subtext suggests why John Boys punctuated his 1609 discussion of ‘interlocutory passages’ – immediately following his quotation of Isaiah 6:3 – with the observation: ‘Blessed spirits in praising God answer one another interchangeably.’57 The implication here is that we, aspiring to their devotional intensity, should do the same. For some, Ignatius had already blazed this trail. In 1637, on the occasion of a visitation from Archbishop Laud, the clergyman Samuel Hoard preached: ‘Having heard some angels in a vision chanting out the praises of God with interchangeable notes, [Ignatius] thought it would be a good exercise for God’s earthly angels in their public assemblies, which are … a heaven on earth.’58 The phrase ‘earthly angels’ is figurative, while the word ‘exercise’ gestures to the role of the practice in producing piety. The example of the heavenly host thus taught ‘God’s earthly angels’ a kind of worship that stirred greater zeal. Hoard’s phrase ‘heaven on earth’ also hints at how the visions of Isaiah and Ignatius marshalled musical connections between earth and heaven with the possible outcome of strengthening not just religious commitment, but spiritual experience in worship. Ancient authorities, and later writers who relied on them, asserted that because music joined or was shared by corporeal and spiritual realms, 53

Translation from Thibodeau, ed., Rationale Divinorum Officiorum of William Durand of Mende, p.17. ‘Duo ergo chori psallentium designant angelos et spiritus iustorum quasi reciproca uoce laudantium et se ad bonam operationem inuicem exhortantium’ (CCCM 140, p.18). 54 Their religious ardour was signified by burning wings, which Isaiah describes, and their repetitions of ‘holy’ were taken as confirmation that they never ceased glorifying God. 55 ‘Clamat alius ad alium, nimirum mutuo sese adhortantes ad Dei praeconia uel laudes. Sicuti & homines alias angelorum exemplo, sese iubentur adhortari ad laudes Dei.’ Heinrich Bullinger, Isaias Excellentissimus Dei Propheta cuius testimoniis Christus ipse Dominus et eius apostoli creberrimè usi leguntur, expositus homilijs CXC (Zurich, 1567), fol.32v. 56 Richard Hooker wrote that the minister and people ‘[divide] between them the sentences wherewith they strive which shall most show his own, and stir up others zeal to the glory of that God whose name they magnify’. Of the Laws, p.77. 57 Boys, An Exposition, p.51. 58 Samuel Hoard is talking about the invention of ‘anthems’, the English translation of ‘antiphonas’. The Churches Authority Asserted in a Sermon Preached at Chelmsford at the Metropolitical Visitation of the Most Reverend Father in God, William, Lord Archbishop of Canterbury his Grace, &c. March 1. 1636 (London, 1637), p.30.

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it led the senses and affections from the former to the latter.59 Medieval churchmen, and Henrician conservatives after them, consistently distilled the ritual function of music by a similar logic, applying an interpretative technique called ‘anagogy’ (a cousin of allegory) that discovers invisible or celestial meanings.60 According to this approach, music provoked the faithful to contemplate the joys of heaven in which they would eventually partake. Throughout the early modern period, these joys were often described as the eternal singing of angelic choirs, in many cases led by the seraphim in an unceasing ‘holy, holy, holy’. The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries saw vigorous debate as to which music and which ritual contexts were appropriate for directing meditation in this way. Yet conformist and even Puritan rhetoric about the anagogical effects of the right kind of music, and about the choral parallel between heaven and earth, deviated surprisingly little from medieval orthodoxy.61 Such rhetoric also complemented the survival of the traditional belief that in worship mortals joined forces with angels to praise God.62 Lancelot Andrewes developed this idea in a series of court sermons during the 1610s; in 1619 he preached that angels and men ‘join in one consort’ during the Gloria, allowing men to sing ‘of very congruity’ with their spiritual counterparts and drawing them ‘something near to the angels’ estate’.63 We might speculate about the extension of this emphasis on ‘congruity’ and union with angels into a material dimension. Perhaps alternatim singing, as a corporeal shadow of angelic practice, reminded worshippers of their spiritual concelebrants in conjunction with the visual depictions of angels that adorned so many church interiors.64 59

As Boethius put it, ‘from earth to heaven … from the empty noise of mortals to the glorious chorus of celestial spirits’. (‘A terra ad caelum ... ab inani strepitu mortalium ad gloriosum chorum celestium spirituum.’) Quoted in John Case, Sphaera Civitatis (Oxford, 1588), p.712. 60 Dana Marsh, ‘Sacred Polyphony “Not Understandid”: Medieval Exegesis, Ritual Tradition and Henry VIII’s Reformation’, Early Music History 29 (2010), 33–77. Durandus gives an example of the difference: Jerusalem is understood allegorically as the church militant, but anagogically as the heavenly Jerusalem. 61 For instance, the most popular Protestant devotional text of the seventeenth century advised, ‘When thou hearest a sweet consort of music, meditate how happy thou shalt be, when (with the choir of heavenly angels and saints) thou shalt sing a part in that spiritual Alleluiah.’ Lewis Bayly, The Practise of Piety Directing a Christian How to Walk that he may Please God (London, 1613), p.198. The first edition (1612) is lost, but the work was reprinted in 1613, 1616, 1619, 1620 and 1626, and later translated into other languages. Ian Green, Print and Protestantism in Early Modern England (Oxford, 2000), pp.348–51. 62 Keck, Angels and Angelology, p.37. 63 Lancelot Andrewes, XCVI. Sermons by the Right Honourable and Reverend Father in God, Lancelot Andrewes, Late Lord Bishop of Winchester (London, 1629), p.128; McCullough, ‘Music Reconciled to Preaching’, pp.109–29. 64 Alexandra Walsham, ‘Angels and Idols in England’s Long Reformation,’ Angels in the Early Modern World, ed. Alexandra Walsham (New York, 2006), pp.134-67. Jessie Ann Owens makes a similar suggestion about other musical representations of angels in ‘“And the Angel Said ...”: Conversations with Angels in Early Modern Music’, Conversations with Angels: Essays Towards a History of Spiritual Communication, 1100–1700, ed. Joad Raymond (New York, 2011), pp.230–49 (244).



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The most intriguing evidence for this hypothesis is found in musical settings that may have been shaped by the association of alternatim singing with angels, a connection forged through the circulation of these stories. The simplest example is seen by comparing two sixteenth-century arrangements of the same Te Deum setting. The single-choir version, surviving in the ‘Wanley’ partbooks (Oxford, Bodleian Library: Mus.e.420–2), features no textual repetitions.65 The double-choir version, found in the ‘Lumley’ partbooks (London, British Library: Royal Appendix 74–6), features only one repetition, at ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth.’66 As the two choirs sing in strict alternation by verse throughout, these words are performed antiphonally – sung through by choir I and then repeated by choir II – unlike any other portions of the text. The Lumley scribes may have added this repetition because they were working with two choirs, which could thus represent the two seraphim ‘[crying] one to another’. This possibility also affords a new perspective on the elaborate handling of ‘Holy, holy, holy’ in later Te Deum settings by Byrd, Morley, Tomkins and others. Antiphonal activity is a basic feature of vernacular service music from the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods, but the moment in Te Deum settings at which it usually begins or increases is at ‘Holy, holy, holy’.67 In the absence of contemporary testimony to the significance of this pattern, we can still note its theological context. Traditionally, ‘angelic’ texts such as ‘holy, holy, holy’ – the eternal refrains of the heavenly host – were high points of liturgical contact between humans and angels.68 English Protestants did not abandon this view.69 While choral alternation in general was claimed to reflect a seraphic model, employing it to sing the seraphic hymn itself could have provided a way of staging Isaiah’s vision, thereby enhancing the moment’s spiritual force.

The Contexts for Truth and Falsehood The attraction of these stories, then, depended less on their historical accuracy than on the broader devotional discourses with which they resonated. Their literal claim of correspondence between angelic and mortal practice enabled their anagogical meaning, making the actions of worship point towards the spiritual realm. Through the visions of Isaiah and Ignatius, ecclesiastics from Durandus to Heylyn articulated a theological vision for the Church’s role in the musical imbrication 65

James Wrightson, ed., The Wanley Manuscripts, 3 vols (Madison, WI, 1995), vol.3, pp.43–53. 66 Judith Blezzard, ed., The Tudor Church Music of the Lumley Books (Madison, WI, 1985), pp.111–17. 67 This can of course be explained in other ways, for instance as an acknowledgement of the ‘holiness’ being declaimed. 68 Keck, Angels and Angelology, p.37. 69 As the Book of Common Prayer itself indicates, at communion ‘holy, holy, holy’ is sung ‘with angels, and archangels, and with all the company of heaven’. The Book of Common Prayer: The Texts of 1549, 1559, and 1662, ed. Brian Cummings (New York, 2011), p.136. For the Oxford preacher Thomas Bastard, the seraphic hymn as it appears in the Te Deum was a point of ‘spiritual rendezvous’ for angels and mortals: Twelve Sermons (London, 1615), p.78.

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of earth and heaven. In the wake of early modern objections, this occasionally required allowing for incredulous reactions. Such was the tactic of the preacher Humphrey Sydenham in a 1637 sermon devoted to the praise of church music: The over-carving and mincing of the air either by ostentation or curiosity of art, lulls too much the outward sense, and leaves the spiritual faculties untouched, whereas a sober mediocrity and grave mixture of tune with ditty, rocks the very soul, carries it into ecstasies, and for a time seems to cleave and sunder it from the body, elevating the heart inexpressibly, and resembling in some proportion those Hallelujahs above, the choir and unity which is in heaven. And this glances somewhat at that story of Ignatius by Socrates, who took a pattern of his Churchmelody from a chorus of angels; which (as the historian testifies) he beheld in a vision extolling the blessed Trinity with hymns interchangeably sung. Or if this perchance prove fabulous, that of Saint Augustine will pass for canonical, where he styles this voicing of psalms aloft, Exercituum coelestium Spiritale Thymiama, the music of angels themselves.70

Despite using Ignatius’s vision to reinforce this stirring meditation on music’s transcendent capabilities, Sydenham offers that it might ‘prove fabulous’ and supplies an alternative example. Even more forthrightly, John Cosin followed Hooker in writing that: this vision is derided by our new masters [presumably a reference to Puritans], and of what authority it is we cannot tell but by Socrates’ words; howsoever, whether the story be true or no, I am sure the thing itself is good, and if Ignatius did not hear the angels sing so, that which is better, the prophet Isaiah did.71

These examples are particularly significant given Sydenham’s and especially Cosin’s connections to Laudianism; comparing their accounts to Peter Heylyn’s shows that the regime’s ritual policies did not necessitate Heylyn’s arguably reckless disregard for critiques of this ‘fabulous’ tale. Yet, while Sydenham and Cosin admit that historical accuracy mattered, the fact that they still gravitated towards the story of Ignatius shows how well they felt it exhibited the musical ideals they sought to extol. These choices to invoke Ignatius in the first place, with what Sydenham called ‘canonical’ alternatives at the ready, displayed a commitment to the story’s ability to illustrate broader points. While some focused on this capacity to convey a kind of spiritual truth, critics concentrated on how these stories deceived. They objected not simply to the fictions peddled, but to the evil forces behind their peddling. When Thomas Cartwright dismissed the vision of Ignatius as ‘a mere fable … confuted by historiographers’, his urgency stemmed from more than the one-time use of a purportedly false story 70

Humphrey Sydenham, Sermons upon Solemn Occasions (London, 1637), p.23. Sydenham’s preference for ‘sober mediocrity’ over ‘curiosity’ reflects a conformist heritage stretching back to the Tudor years. 71 John Cosin, The Works of the Right Reverend Father in God, John Cosin, Lord Bishop of Durham, 5 vols (Oxford, 1843–55), vol.5, p.54.



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in support of a ‘Popish abuse’. It instead proceeded from the broader fear of deception and pretence – often traceable or comparable to the workings of the devil – that underwrote much Puritan invective during the Elizabethan and Stuart years. This anxiety, which manifested prominently in anti-theatrical tracts, also provided a powerful reason to reject wholesale the very notion of worshipping like angels that these stories were made to promote. To Puritan critics, performance was at best a lie that creates a gap between ‘inward’ and ‘outward’, and at worst a thorough transformation that ‘infuseth falsehood into every part of soul and body’.72 Both players and audiences were prone to this cancerous hypocrisy. Similarly, aiming for ‘angelic’ performance risked the inherent ‘falsehood’ of convincing a singer, speaker or listener of just such a transformation – contradicting the premise that mortals are not angels. Richard Culmer’s derision of Canterbury choristers as ‘Cathedral Seraphims’ seems to exert precisely this rhetorical thrust, as if singers might mislead themselves and others into believing too strongly that they have been, as Calvin put it, ‘made like to the heavenly inhabitants’. For Culmer, aspiring to sing like angels perhaps looked suspiciously like a performative denial of mortal reality. That discrepancy constituted a devilish lie masquerading as pious worship. This discussion illustrates that the historical, geographic, generic and ideological conditions under which stories are evaluated produce different attitudes towards their proper relationships to various types of truth.73 Like the philosophical works Katherine Butler explores elsewhere in this volume, these positive and negative citations sought to define the moral and spiritual status of church music and other practices of public worship.74 The reception history outlined here witnesses neither a triumph of critical objectivity nor a simple-minded adherence to ecclesiastical tradition and confessional ideology. Instead, it shows that stories exist in complex relationships to other sources of and approaches to knowledge and truth, a balance that constantly shifts in response to a rich network of contextual factors.

72

Ramie Targoff, ‘The Performance of Prayer: Sincerity and Theatricality in Early Modern England’, Representations 60 (1997), 49–69 (52). 73 Aurora Faye Martinez and Erica Levenson make similar observations in chapters 13 and 15 in this collection. 74 See chapter 7 in this collection.

9

In Pursuit of Echo: Sound, Space and the History of the Self Ljubica Ilic

W

hen Jephte’s daughter beautifully laments by relentlessly exploiting a chromatic inflection of the Neapolitan sixth chord in Giacomo Carissimi’s oratorio Jephte (c.1650), it becomes clear that this piece is actually about her and not about her father as the title suggests, for she is the one who sings the most memorable music. This nameless, obedient creature from the Old Testament is in Carissimi’s oratorio depicted in a rather different light: the musical representation of her acceptance of the destiny forced upon her is of a truly dramatic diva whose inner struggle moves from grieving to rage and despair, and from bitter memory to final acceptance. Carissimi even makes her cries resound in echo, thus giving her the power to reflect through music. ‘Lament, ye valleys, bewail, ye mountains and in the affliction of my heart be afflicted’: the first soprano repeats the daughter’s phrase, and the second soprano imitates it at the upper third, simulating the reverberations of the voice through the mountains. The combination of various rhetoric devices – the deflection to the Neapolitan harmonic sphere, the use of echo and its elevated repetition – create the powerful effect in this lamenting scene. Jephte displays many of the expressive potentials of seventeenth-century music, but the echoing voice brings them all together. The echoing voice is a rhetorical reinforcement of the personal outburst of sorrow and the musical representation of a reflective early modern self, which, although aware of personal potentials and limits, is still deeply conflicted about the same: what are the potentials, and where do the limits begin? Jephte’s daughter accepts her destiny, not with an easy acceptance, but with a questioning one. Around the time of the creation of Carissimi’s oratorio, Athanasius Kircher (c.1602–80) – ‘the last man who knew everything’ – writes about the phenomenon of echoing and its connection to the ancient classical myth of a runaway nymph, Echo:1 But as I pursue her, she runs away, while I run away, she pursues me, and she redoubles her voices by taking on additional voices like attendants, as she seductively tricks me and I cry out aloud, for she is incapable of yielding. At times, as though angry, she turns away and stealthily shuns any reply, at other times with a most ill-mannered talkativeness she pours out ten further words in reply to one word of mine.2 1

Here I am referring to the title of the collection of essays edited by Paula Findlen, Athanasius Kircher: The Last Man Who Knew Everything (New York, 2004). 2 Kircher’s poetic language inspired the title of this chapter. Spending most of his life at the Roman College, Kircher compiled a vast body of knowledge in about thirty



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‘Pursuing echo’ is, of course, an impossible task. Yet its pursuit – which I propose is a sonic metaphor for self-reflection – is something that we keep on persisting with in a manner similar to Kircher’s powerful description of his own research on the subject. The breadth of Kircher’s exploration, in which the empirical, poetic and mythical intersect, inspired my personal quest of ‘following the runaway nymph’ from classical mythology and poetry to early modern music and culture. In this chapter, I interpret several correspondences between the occurrences of this echo phenomenon, focusing on Italian music at the turn of the seventeenth century, while exploring the story of the early modern self as heard in sound. The laments of Jephte’s daughter that resound through the valleys and mountains, and Kircher’s metaphoric depiction of echoing testify to persistent relationships between the phenomena of echo, nature and lamentation in Western mythology and culture. These connections, already well established in classical sources, reappear in the early modern period. Yet even in the oldest classical texts in which the theme of echoing appears, it is impossible to make a difference between the personified Echo (the nymph whose voice resounds through mountains) and the phenomenal echo, or if and when an echo becomes Echo. As John Hollander correctly claims, any mythology of echoing is inseparable from the acoustic aspect of it. He points out that ‘we first hear echoes in Homer as reverberations and amplifications of battle noise or trees falling in forests. They can be fearful, as when the rocks roar around the shouting Polyphemus.’3 In the Homeric Hymn to Pan (sixth or fifth century bc), the distinction between the personified and the acoustic is already unclear, while the connection between nature, space, sound and the personification contained in the lines dedicated to Pan persists centuries afterwards: At that hour the clear-voiced nymphs are with him and move with nimble feet, singing by some spring of dark water, while Echo wails about the mountain-top, and the god on this side or on that of the choirs, or at times sidling into the midst, plies it nimbly with his feet [my italics].4

Robert Germany notices that the nymph in this Homeric hymn ‘is not an abstraction arbitrarily turned into a deity, but in the first instance a deity whose name is extended to denote the same natural phenomenon as the noun (ἠχή) from which

books, writing on such heterogeneous themes as the subterranean world, Egyptian hieroglyphs, plague and fossils. He also wrote an entire study on the phenomenon of echoing entitled ‘Phonosophia Anacamptica’ (‘The Knowledge of Reflected Sound’) and published it on two occasions: the first time as a part of his monumental study on music, Musurgia Universalis (1650), and the second time in a more elaborate version in his work entitled Phonurgia Nova (1673). My source is ‘Phonosophia Anacamptica’, Phonurgia Nova (Kempten, 1673), Book I, p.2. The translation is mine. 3 Hollander is here referring to Homer’s Odyssey. See John Hollander, The Figure of Echo: A Mode of Allusion in Milton and After (Berkeley, 1981), p.6. 4 Homeric Hymn 19 to Pan in Hugh G. Evelyn-White, ed. and trans., Hesiod, Homeric Hymns, Epic Cycle, Homerica, Loeb Classical Library 57 (Cambridge, MA, 1914), pp.443–5.

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her name was formed’.5 In other words, the myth and the physical phenomenon are inseparable, as evidenced by the poetic language. These two threads of meaning – the mythical and phenomenal – can be followed in almost all classical and early modern sources in which the theme of echoing appears. In the fifth century bc in Euripides’s Andromeda, Echo answers the lament of the heroine, while Aristophanes masterfully mocks the same idea in the supposed dialogue between Euripides and Mnesilochus in his Thesmophoriazusae. Frederic Sternfeld claims that, technically and topically, Euripides and Aristophanes establish the tradition: ‘Technically, the end of a line receives polish and emphasis by repetition. Topically, the repeated words are terms of woe (such as bewail, alas, death).’6 The seventeenth-century laments of Jephte’s daughter demonstrate how this manner of lamentation through echo found its way into early modern poetics. The reference to the nymph by the Greek poet Moschus (second century bc) brings into the tradition of mythological storytelling the motive of unrequited love, and introduces Pan’s yearning for Echo as one of the most relevant storylines related to the mountain nymph.7 The other one is based on Echo’s unrequited love for Narcissus. These two narrative strands established in classical texts dominate the early modern imagination, yet they are quite different. As Hollander puts it, ‘if Pan’s echo is lyric, Narcissus’s is satiric’. The satirical strand originates from Ovid’s Metamorphoses (first century ad), the most influential classical text to tell the tragic story of Echo and Narcissus. The personified (nymph) and acoustical (resonance) echoes in the Metamorphoses transform and shape the poetic structure (via repetition), thus becoming a powerful rhetorical device that would become omnipresent in early modern poetry. The echoing word game in Ovid’s work is simultaneously amusing and tragic: One day, by chance, the boy now separated from his faithful friends cried out: ‘Is anyone nearby?’ ‘Nearby’, was Echo’s answering cry. And stupefied, he looks around and shouts: ‘Come! Come!’ and she calls out, ‘Come! Come!’ to him who’d called. Then he turns round and, seeing no one, calls again: ‘Why do you flee from me?’ And the reply repeats the final sounds of his outcry. That answer snares him; he persists, calls out: ‘Let’s meet.’ And with the happiest reply that 5

Robert Germany, ‘The Figure of Echo in the Homeric Hymn to Pan’, The American Journal of Philology 126 (2005), 187–208 (188). He is here referring to the Greek word sound (ἠχή, ēkhē). 6 Frederic W. Sternfeld, ‘Repetition and Echo in Renaissance Poetry and Music’, English Renaissance Studies, Presented to Dame Helen Gardner in Honor of Her Seventieth Birthday, ed. John Carey (Oxford, 1980), pp.33–43 (36). 7 Moschus shares a very important lesson about the love that is not returned: ‘Pan loved his neighbour Echo; Echo loved a frisking Satyr; and Satyr, he was head over ears for Lydè. As Echo was Pan’s flame, so was Satyr Echo’s, and Lydè master Satyr’s. ’Twas Love reciprocal; for by just course, even as each of those hearts did scorn its lover, so was it also scorned being such a lover itself. To all such as be heart-whole be this lesson read: If you would be loved where you be loving, then love them that love you.’ John Maxwell Edmonds, ed. and trans., Greek Bucolic Poets, Loeb Classical Library 28 (Cambridge, MA, 1912), pp.459–61.



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ever was to leave her lips, she cries: ‘Let’s meet’; then, seconding her words, she rushed out of the woods, that she might fling her arms around the neck she longed to clasp. But he retreats and, fleeing, shouts: ‘Do not touch me! Don’t cling to me! I’d sooner die than say I’m yours!’; and Echo answered him: ‘I’m yours.’8

The connection of Echo with Pan and Narcissus persists in the transmissions of the myth throughout the Middle Ages, whether in Macrobius’s take on the relationship between Echo and Pan (fifth century) or in the popularity of the ‘Ovide Moralisé’ at the beginning of the fourteenth century.9 The early modern revival of classical antiquity brought about a renewed interest in echo rhymes in poetry. Sternfeld, who traces the history of the trope of echoing from Euripides to T.S. Eliot, refers to two important influences on the development of echo poetry in this period: the first is Angelo Poliziano’s work Miscellanea (1489) and the second – crucial for the history of sixteenth-century music and especially the madrigal – is Giovanni Battista Guarini’s Il Pastor Fido (1590). Poliziano, probably familiar with Ovid’s use of repetition and echo rhyme, reintroduces it to early modern vernacular literature. Yet Sternfeld points out that Poliziano actually names Gauradas as his poetic role model.10 This mysterious Greek poet is the author of an undated epigram dedicated to Echo: Dear Echo, grant me some what. – What? I love a girl, but do not think she loves. – She loves. But to do it Time gives me not good chance. – Good chance. Do thou then tell her I love her, if so be thy will. – I will. And here is a pledge in the shape of cash I beg thee to hand over. – Hand over. Echo, what remains but to succeed? – Succeed.11

This satirical take on love refers to echoing on both structural (repetition) and poetic levels (conversation with the nymph). Its similarity with Ovid’s use of poetic repetition is evident. Poliziano, in his ‘Eco e Pan’ from Miscellanea (1489), imitates Gauradas; Echo provides the answer to the question asked and reiterates only the sound of words, while the meaning becomes entirely different:

8

Ovid, Metamorphoses of Ovid: A New Verse Translation, trans. Allen Mandelbaum (New York, 1993), pp.94–5. 9 In his Saturnalia, Macrobius makes connections between Pan’s love for Narcissus and the harmony of the spheres: ‘It is not Echo itself which is the harmony of the spheres but the syrinx – Pan makes it out of the reeds into which his beloved Echo had changed – and the seven reeds of Pan’s pipe are indeed the seven planets, the shortest representing the moon, the longest Saturn.’ Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend, Hamlet’s Myth: An Essay on Myth and the Frame of Time (Boston, 1977), p.286. 10 Sternfeld, ‘Repetition and Echo’, p.36. 11 W.R. Paton, ed. and trans., The Greek Anthology, Loeb Classical Library 86, 5 vols (Cambridge, MA, 1993), vol.5, books 13–16, pp.248–51.

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Where while I seek you, Echo, do you lie, Love? (I love!) Yes, and you love me say, none other – none? (One!) You, you alone I love, for you there’s no one else? (One else!) Can you not say, ‘I love you. Pan, none other?’ (Another!) By this you tell me all my joy is sped? (Dead!) Say his cursed name, that stole my love that throve! (Love!) What shall he do that loved, that loved as I? (Die!)12

The simplicity of the repetitive technique recalls Gauradas rather than Ovid, but the overall tone is much more sombre, depicting the tragic story of the nymph and Pan’s unrequited love for her. Guarini’s pastoral tragicomedy Il Pastor Fido, on the other hand, reintroduces the echoing effect in the context of the pastoral fashion of the late sixteenth century and the symbolic retreat to the mythical Arcadia. The motive of unrequited love, so important for the classical myth of the ‘runaway nymph’, here gets relived, especially in the sylvan dialogue between one of the main protagonists Silvio and Cupid in Act IV Scene 8, where the love god himself is unseen, but heard as an echo. The dramatic power of this conversation lies in the rhetorical opposition between Silvio’s questioning disdain for love and Cupid’s adamant replies. ‘Who are Thy subjects?’ Silvio asks, ‘sure thou rul’st alone the follies of the world?’ And Cupid echoes his words: ‘The world’. ‘What wilt thou make of me who have a heart of adamant all over?’ And Cupid simply repeats: ‘A lover’.13 Indeed, Silvio, at first disinterested and carefree, by the end of the play falls in love with his destined one, Dorinda, as the echoing answers of Cupid have predicted. After Guarini, the fashion of the effect by which the prophetic echo answers back the questions asked becomes one of the favourite narrative and musical techniques of the time, significantly impacting the experiments of musical drama.

Imago vocis For Kircher, Echo is the ‘image of a voice’, Narcissus’s twin.14 This analogy is related to mythology as much as to physical phenomena: both Echo and Narcissus are punished by gods, and as a consequence are suffering unrequited love. The nymph, cursed by Juno to mirror others’ voices, loses the ability to speak her mind and to express herself and her love for Narcissus. The vain boy falls in love with his 12

English translation by E. Geoffrey Dunlop www.hyperion-records.co.uk/ notes/55050-B.pdf. Accessed 2/10/2015. 13 English translation by William Clapperton, Il Pastor Fido: Or, The Faithful Shepherd: A Pastoral Tragi-Comedy, Attempted in English Blank Verse, from the Italian of Signor Cavalier Giovanni Battista Guarini (Edinburgh, 1809), p.136. 14 He opens his study of ‘Phonosophia Anacamptica’ (‘The Knowledge of Reflected Sound’) with the following: ‘The echo, that jest of Nature when she is in a playful mood, is called the “image of a voice” by the poets, in accordance with that well-known line of Virgil’s: The rocks resound and the image of the voice that has struck them bounces back. It is called a reflected, rebounding and alternating voice by scientists and “the daughter of the voice” by the Israelites.’ Athanasius Kircher, ‘Phonosophia Anacamptica’, Phonurgia Nova (Kempten, 1673), Book I, p.1. The translation is mine. The italics are the author’s.



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own image, not knowing that he is in love with himself. The relationship between the two is metaphorically reciprocal to Narcissus’s inability to be infatuated with anyone but himself. As Narcissus’s Other, Echo is merely his aural reflection; she is an aural metaphor for his visual self-infatuation. The unbreakable barriers in understanding themselves and communicating with others turn them into tragic loners. This motive of loneliness, sadness and seclusion becomes intriguing to the early modern mind. There is no better metaphor for an early modern ‘discovery of man’ than the Narcissus myth of ‘knowing oneself ’, and this is exactly how Narcissus was cursed – if he got to know himself, he would die. In the words of Julia Kristeva: ‘The object of Narcissus is psychic space; it is representation itself, fantasy. But he does not know it, and he dies. If he knew it he would be an intellectual, a creator of speculative fictions, an artist, writer, psychologist, psychoanalyst. He would be Plotinus or Freud.’15 Indeed, only the humanist turn can explain the persistent popularity of this myth from early modernity to the artistic avant-garde.16 Mauro Calcagno notices that in early modern plays on Narcissus, the focus is mainly on his relationship with Echo and the medium of voice. He concludes, however, that Echo is less represented as a mythical figure, and more as pure imago vocis:17 ‘She is represented as an oracle, responding offstage to questions posed by characters who find themselves in identity crises, confronting life-changing decisions.’18 Indeed, the manner that Calcagno describes can be found in almost all examples of early modern secular or sacred musical drama as well as in the previously discussed example by Guarini. Although the personified, acoustical and poetical forms of echo are closely intertwined since classical antiquity, the theatricality of the early modern period prefers the acoustic aspect of echoing for stage effects and the use of repetition for dramatic purposes. In early modern music, however, the use of echo appears in both vocal and instrumental genres, with much more complex signifying potential than in purely narrative dramatic forms. An array of meanings can be traced in numerous echo pieces written in nearly all musical genres of the time: ludic mannerisms in vocal works of Luca Marenzio (c.1553–99), Orlando di Lasso (1530/2–94) or Claude Le Jeune (1528/30–1600); spiritual dialogues in the dramatised sacred music of Emilio de’ Cavalieri (c.1550–1602) and Claudio Monteverdi (1567–1643); representations of rhetoric potency, self-questioning and doubt in operatic experiments of Jacopo Peri (1561–1633), Claudio Monteverdi, Marco da Gagliano (1582–1643) or Stefano Landi (1587–1639); as well as experimental explorations of performing space in instrumental works by Adriano Banchieri (1568–1634) or Biagio Marini (1594–1663). The fashion for echo effects is particularly prominent 15

Julia Kristeva, ‘Narcissus: The New Insanity’, Tales of Love, trans. Leon S. Roudiez (New York, 1987), pp.103–21 (116). 16 In 1892, André Gide exclaims: ‘Ah! To be unable to see oneself! a mirror! a mirror! a mirror! a mirror.’ ‘Narcissus: A Treatise on the Theory of Symbolism’, The Return of the Prodigal: Preceded by Five Other Treatises with Saul, A Drama in Five Acts, trans. Dorothy Bussy (London, 1953), pp.1–15 (3). 17 John Hollander points out that in Latin the term ‘imago’ or ‘imago vocis’ actually refers to ‘echo’. This use of the term thus precedes our common understanding of ‘image’ in an exclusively visual context. Hollander, The Figure of Echo, p.11. 18 Mauro Calcagno, From Madrigal to Opera: Monteverdi’s Staging of the Self (Berkeley, 2012), p.12.

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from the mid-­sixteenth to the mid-seventeenth centuries, when Carissimi writes the famous lament of Jephte’s daughter, reiterating the poetics of echoing already established in classical antiquity. Furthermore, in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century echo pieces, the mythological, acoustical and poetic intersect with the newly discovered potentials of musical rhetoric, thus creating complex auditory metaphors, and more fundamentally, posing important questions related to issues of early modern selfhood and identity.19 Early modern echoes are not merely decorative, but explore issues such as: how to reconcile the body with the soul? What is the power of music? Where are the limits of human perception? How can music be merely playful in its self-referentiality? In order to understand these connections, however, musical representations of echoing, and especially their link to the pastoral mode, need not be seen as a mere entertainment, sentimental nostalgia for classical antiquity or a mere game of musical rhetoric. Giuseppe Gerbino rightly notices that musicology in general ‘has paid little attention to the pastoral tradition’ because, as in literary criticism, ‘pastoral was condemned as an aberration of taste, as a naïve game of a bored society’. He refers to Alfred Einstein’s characterisation of the pastoral trend in lateCinquecento music as ‘the disease that had attacked the taste of the time’.20 With the long-lasting heritage of valuing the ineffable, non-representational qualities of music in Western culture, however, the pastoral realm’s inclusion of simulations of echoing and musical imitations of singing birds and lightning thunders may appear as banal, not ludic but merely playful. Yet if that common disdain for the representational power of music is set aside, there is much more to be discovered about these musical phenomena. In the case of echoing, letting the sound out and receiving its feedback means that the subject is aware of the space it inhabits, or at least that the boundaries of the surrounding space are being explored, in the same manner that the painting subject is exploring its own position in the world. This basic understanding of the sound reflection also translates into the metaphorical one: echo often signifies a connection between the human and divine, or it is the voice of conscience. The phenomenological level of echoing is crucial for this discussion, however, because here the imaginary and real spaces intersect in the moment of musical performance. For what is an echo? It is sound that bounces back; the sound that delineates the borders and confines of what it can or cannot reach. It is a psychophysical manifestation of the distance between the human being and its surroundings, an empirical exploration of spatial existence performed in sound. In this context, I would like to address only one of many questions raised here, and that is the use of imago vocis for the exploration of self-expression via rhetorical prowess. 19

There is another, purely musical, meaning of the word echo that I will not consider at this point, but it is important to mention it. Charles Burney comments on Stamitz’s use of ‘the piano, which was before chiefly used as an echo, with which was generally synonymous’ in The Present State of Music in Germany, the Netherlands and Upper Provinces (London, 1773), p.94. 20 Giuseppe Gerbino, Music and the Myth of Arcadia in Renaissance Italy (Cambridge, 2009), p.3. He also explains the Renaissance pastoral as a subversive genre – a narrative strategy that uses the imaginary universe of Arcadia to explain the real universe of the Renaissance court.



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‘Let Tityrus be Orpheus, Orpheus in the Woods, Arion among the Dolphins’ The interrogation of space and sound in space is what inspired Kircher’s interest in echoing. Yet Kircher’s quest is always poetically voiced and rooted in classical mythology and poetry. On the cover of his Musurgia universalis (1650), which contains representations of various themes covered in the study, he refers to his research on echoing by representing the scene from the first of Virgil’s Eclogues. The first eclogue is a dialogue between the two herdsmen: Meliboeus, who is in exile and dispossessed of his farm, and Tityrus, who managed to save his possessions by going to Rome and asking for amnesty. In Rome, the authorities told Tityrus to put his cows out to pasture, as he did before (‘Pascite, ut ante, boves’). Since Virgil’s time, this short motto has signified a possibility of freedom not affected by war, or social and political upheaval. The detail on the cover of Kircher’s study shows the two shepherds and the famous line echoed against the hillside. This notion of freedom and peace in Virgil, however, is closely tied to his descriptions of the relationship between nature and sound: at the very beginning of the same Eclogue, Meliboeus complains: You, Tityrus, under the spreading sheltering beech, Tune woodland musings on a delicate reed We flee our country’s borders, our sweet fields, Abandon home; you lazing in the shade, Make woods resound with lovely Amaryllis.21

Indeed, Tityrus does not hide the pleasure over his blissful state: O Melibee, a god grants us this peaceever a god to me, upon whose altar a young lamb from our fold will often bleed. He has allowed, you see, my herds to wander And me to play as I will on a rustic pipe.22

The connection between freedom, space and singing in these lines does not merely stand for an idyllic peaceful environment. The connection implies the possibility that human beings can peacefully exist and coexist: resounding woods and the carefree playing of Tityrus’s pipe represent having the space and time for expression, while Virgil’s herdsmen represent poets who have the luxury (or not) of uninterrupted creativity.23 This relationship between space and song personified in Virgil’s resounding woods becomes crucial in early modern representations of echoing. Of course, 21

Translation by Paul J. Alpers in What is Pastoral? (Chicago, 1997), p.23. Ibid. 23 This ethical perspective – in contrast to our tradition of understanding pastoral as an escapist mode – has been extensively explored in two studies by Paul Alpers: What is Pastoral? and The Singer of the Eclogues: A Study of Virgilian Pastoral with a New Translation of the Eclogues (Berkeley, 1979). 22

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Virgil’s references to Roman reality now become impregnated with the reality of the humanist age: what is the space that the poet inhabits (or that the subject inhabits), and what are his creative powers? A connection between Tityrus, Orpheus and Arion made by Virgil (‘Let Tityrus be Orpheus, Orpheus in the Woods, Arion among the Dolphins’) appears again on the early modern stage with mythical musicians whose songs freely and powerfully resound in space.24 In his most famous aria performed in the intermedi between the acts of the play La Pellegrina at the spectacular 1589 Florentine wedding of Ferdinando de’ Medici and Christine de Lorraine, Jacopo Peri endowed the mythical singer Arion with powerful vocal skills emphasised by elaborate echo effects. As the story goes, Arion’s singing, like that of Orpheus, moved not only humans, but enabled him to summon a dolphin to rescue him from the ship’s crew, who planned to rob and kill him on his way back home from Sicily to Corinth. In the fifth intermedio, the mythical singer laments his ordeal while the vast space of the seashore echoes his voice back: Thus over troubled waters I shall exhale my final sighs. Gentle Echo, with your tender accents, redouble my torments. O tears, O pains! O death, too bitter and too hard! Oh, who on the Earth or in the Sky would accuse me of a wrongful complaint? And if I grieve with reason, have pity on me in my grief.25

The spectacular ‘ecco con due risposte’ performed at the Uffizi Theatre connects the Medici politics of using space in the promotion of political power and Peri’s desire to demonstrate his own vocal talent and musical creativity (the composer performed the piece himself). From the perspective of compositional technique, Peri focuses on ‘redoubling’ words related to grief and its onomatopoeic expression (‘tormenti’, ‘ahi’, etc.), which are conventionally emphasised in lamentation. This emphasis is even stronger because of the elaborate melismas strategically placed on the echoing words. Yet besides echo rhymes and lamentation, Arion’s song also displays new musical developments: the emergence of monody and a display of vocal virtuosity. These specifically musical characteristics, however, can be easily read in the context of classical revival: Virgil’s poet is not only free to sing now, but he is also a very skilful singer. He mirrors himself with the image of his voice in the grandiosity of the Uffizi Theatre. This trend of relating early modern artistic prowess and virtuousic performing skills to those of mythological musicians continues in Claudio Monteverdi’s ‘favola in musica’ L’Orfeo (1607). Like Peri’s Arion, Monteverdi’s Orpheus also possesses supernatural powers represented by excellent musicianship. In the central aria ‘Possente spirto’, Monteverdi magnifies Orpheus’s ability to persuade the gods to return his beloved Eurydice from the dead: while Orpheus sings powerful melismas, the instruments exuberantly echo his voice. Even if ‘Possente spirto’ cannot be heard by gods, but only by Charon – for the real song able to persuade the gods 24

This is yet another reference to Virgil’s Eclogues, no.VIII, lines 55–6. The text was probably written by Ottavio Rinuccini. English translation by Cecile Stratta in La Pellegrina: Music for the Wedding of Ferdinando De Medici and Christine de Lorraine, Princess of France, Florence 1589, Huelgas Ensemble conducted by Paul van Nevel, Columbia Records/Sony, 1998, CD.

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will always remain absent and unattainable to mortals, as Daniel Chua and Carolyn Abbate suggest – there is no doubt that the purpose of the aria is to celebrate exquisite individual music creativity and connect mythical music- making with the skills of early modern composers and performers.26 Yet Monteverdi goes a step further and presents an entirely different role for the echoing device at the end of the opera, when Orpheus, like a true modern subject, starts to question his own power. Monteverdi uses ‘rimes en écho’ as a dramatic vehicle to display not only prowess, as Peri does in Arion’s song, but also the weakness of the musician who previously tried so powerfully to appeal to the gods. In comparison to the length of Orpheus’s soliloquy ‘Questi i campi di Tracia’, the echo rhymes are scarce (‘ahi pianto – hai pianto’; ‘basti – basti’; ‘tanti guai – ahi’) and interwoven into the dramatic structure, revealing a rhetorical lack and pointing towards Orpheus’s final frustration. Annoyed by hearing only his last words thrown back at him, Orpheus asks: ‘but while I thus lament me why dost thou answer me alone with the last of my plainings? Answer me back in full my lamentation.’27 In other words, the librettist Alessandro Striggio and Monteverdi masterfully manipulate poetic convention in order to depict the development of a character.28 In this moment of Orpheus’s critical introspection, Peter Szendy sees Echo as a replica of Musica from the very beginning of the opera, her mortal copy, a reversion or fragmentary version.29 That may well be the case, but this lack of rhetorical prowess is also what makes Orpheus a modern subject, once powerful and now weak, aware of his limitations. Peri and Monteverdi’s musical rhetoric of echoing testifies to the revival of classical mythological modes and topoi with an early modern twist: the focus is on the acoustic (echo) and the poetic (repetition), while the presence of the personified (nymph) is traditionally embedded in public imagination. The topos of lament, the pastoral mode, the motive of unrequited love and the technique of poetic repetition – all established in classical texts – reappear in the early modern context, and via Poliziano and Guarini enter early modern dramatic music experiments. From this perspective, Arion and Orpheus represent early modern subjects, inspired by classical mythological topoi, but revealing modern dilemmas of self-empow 26

I am, first of all, interested in the phenomenological aspect of echoing sound and its role in the performance act. On the echoing as the noumenal, however, see Daniel K.L. Chua, ‘Untimely Reflections on Operatic Echoes – How Sound Travels in Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo and Beethoven’s Fidelio with a Short Instrumental Interlude’, Opera Quarterly 21 (2005), 573–96 (575–6). 27 English translation by R.L. Stuart www.hoasm.org/VB/LOrfeoLibretto.pdf . Accessed 2/10/2015. 28 Mauro Calcagno sees Guarini’s influence in Striggio’s use of echo effect, but there is a striking similarity, I believe, between Striggio’s lines and Seneca’s depiction of echoing in his Trojan Women and the lament of the fall of Troy: ‘now, now, O Grief, put forth thy strength. Let the Rhoetean shores resound with our mourning, and let Echo, who dwells in the caves of the mountains, not, after her wont, curtly repeat our final words alone, but give back our full mourning for Troy.’ Seneca’s Tragedies, trans. Frank Justus Miller (Cambridge, MA, 1938), p.133; Calcagno, From Madrigal to Opera, p.13. 29 Peter Szendy, ‘Echoing the “Mortal Ear”: Orfeo’s Indiscipline’, In(ter)discipline: New Languages for Criticism, ed. Gillian Beer, Malcolm Bowie and Beate Perrey (London, 2007), pp.63–6 (65).

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erment and doubt.30 They both miraculously get saved from their woes and in the act of performance their power translates into the sense of wonder created by their echoing voices.31 In exploring the boundaries of physical and theatrical space, these pursuits of echo reflect the complexity of the selfhood that mirrors itself not only against its own image, but also against the divine.32 The display of early modern subjectivity (especially that of a musician or artist) through an exploration of rhetorical empowerment results in the re-reading of classical mythological texts in the context of the birth of European modernity, with early modern musical drama being one of its most relevant testaments. By the end of the seicento, however, with the rise of the stage-oriented performance, in which music is ‘framed’ as some kind of sonic ‘prospettiva’ entirely separate from the world that surrounds it, echoing effects lose their rhetoric and dramatic effectiveness. Due to their ability to sabotage the fantasy of a staged world, they become a kind of meta-performing procedure that reveals the illusion of the stage-centred performance. Christoph Willibald Gluck’s (1714–87) use of echo effect in the first act of his Orfeo ed Euridice (1762), for example, includes the instrumental offstage echoing of a choir as a simple and yet emotional reiteration of lamentation. Incorporated into musical structure, it reflects a mood or inner state rather than a spatial relationship – it is a musical abstraction of a psychophysical phenomenon. By Gluck’s time, every inclusion of offstage space in musical performance only reiterates and deepens this separation between the world of stage illusion and the space that surrounds it.33 At the beginning of the seicento, however, this separation is not yet complete, and echo effects play a powerful role in the experimenting with sound in space. Moreover, they are the sonic testimonies to the moment in music history when the interest in classical mythology and representations of the early modern self intersect, creating a series of exciting experiments. In this chapter, I touched upon just a few of these experiments, leaving many more to be explored in this metaphorical pursuit of Echo. 30

As Jephte’s daughter’s echoing display of sorrow from the mid-seventeenth century demonstrates, lamenting after Arion and Orpheus becomes mostly a signifier of female emotionality. For a discussion of Orpheus’s effeminate lamentation see Susan McClary, ‘Constructions of Gender in Monteverdi’s Dramatic Music’, Feminine Endings: Music, Gender, and Sexuality (Minneapolis, 1991), pp.35–52. 31 Calcagno believes that echoing in the fifth act of Monteverdi’s opera actually has a very specific dramatic role. Since Striggio does not follow the classical storyline from Virgil and Ovid, and decides to leave out Orpheus’s tragic ending, the echo serves to suspend the action. Calcagno believes that Striggio follows the advice of theatre theorist Angelo Ingegneri, who recommends the use of echo for facilitating the resolution of the plot. Calcagno, From Madrigal to Opera, p.13. Indeed, in another Mantuan opera, La Dafne (1608) by Marco da Gagliano (1582–1643), the echoing scene helps in resolving the conflict with the terrible dragon Python: Apollo is first heard as an echoing voice and then miraculously appears and kills the monster. 32 For more on this interpretation of echoing, see my ‘Mirrors and Echoes: Beyond the Confines of Theatrical Space’, Music and the Modern Condition: Investigating the Boundaries (Farnham, 2010), pp.19–52. Some new interpretations can be found in Julian Johnson, Out of Time: Music and the Making of Modernity (Oxford, 2015), espec. pp.174–6. 33 Here I am influenced by William Egginton, How the World Became a Stage: Presence, Theatricality and the Question of Modernity (Albany, 2003), espec. pp.67–85.

v narratives of performance

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Ophelia’s Mad Songs and Performing Story in Early Modern England Samantha Bassler

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he twinned ideas of music and disability – particularly madness and melancholy – shaped pre-Enlightenment views of gender, disability and conceptions of normativity, through both performances on the stage, and also performances during literary characterisation and narrative. The dramatic works of Shakespeare and other playwrights performed stories of disability and music, illuminating early modern cultural tropes of gender and disability through music. This chapter begins with consideration of Ophelia as an archetype of madness and femininity, and then expands to other examples of performing stories of femininity, madness and disability in early modern English culture. The first section describes the connections of madness and melancholy to disability, explaining how theoretical perspectives from disability studies can enhance our understanding of music, myth and story in early modern English culture. The second section illuminates the relationship between music, story, disability and gender in the character of Ophelia, while the third section examines female madness and melancholia in Desdemona, followed by male madness and melancholia in Richard II and Duke Orsino, and ends with a consideration of the ambiguously gendered Viola. The chapter closes by deconstructing the seventeenth-century understanding of melancholy and relating it to concepts of disability in early modern English culture.

Madness, Melancholy and Disability in Early Modern English Culture This chapter relies upon the framework of disability studies. This is a relatively new methodology of history, literature, cultural studies and musicology, which constructs a historical narrative that recognises the relationship between music, impairment, gender and (dis)ability in late Renaissance culture. The field of disability studies is significant for providing a language and a framework for understanding non-normative ways of being, and for relating closely to Neoplatonist theories of music and the body.1 Music and being also have similarities to the soul. According to the philosopher Plotinus, the founder of Neoplatonism, both ‘imperceptible’ and ‘perceptible’ harmonies affect the soul’s ability to comprehend beauty: 1

See Samantha Bassler, ‘Music, Madness and Disease: Disability Studies in Early Musicological Research’, postmedieval 3 (2012), 182–94; and ‘Madness and Music as (Dis) ability in Early Modern England’, Oxford Handbook of Music and Disability Studies, ed. Blake Howe, Stephanie Jensen-Moulton, Neil Lerner and Joseph Straus (Oxford, 2015), pp.529–38.

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The harmonies in sounds, too, the imperceptible ones which make the perceptible ones, make the soul conscious of beauty in the same way, showing the same thing in another medium. It is proper to sensible harmonies to be measured by numbers, not according to any and every sort of proportion but one which serves for the production of form so that it may dominate.2

Harmony not only manifests as musical concord, but is present in the unity of the universe and pervasive in the Neoplatonic hierarchy of reality.3 In his commentary on Plato’s Timeaus, Proclus, the influential Neoplatonist philosopher, argues that ‘just as bodies can be divided in an infinite number of parts since they are divisible, when souls are divided it is into a limited plurality’.4 Such multi-faceted and hierarchical aspects of soul and body, and proportion and form, filter into the early modern conception of music and its cultural attitudes about gender and other forms of difference, including disability and impairment. In written stories, like plays, concepts of the body, music and the soul aid the reader’s understanding of myths, cultural attitudes and values in early modern England. Before the work of disability studies, the history of disabled people was absent from the historiography of culture, literature and music. Despite an absence of consideration about disability, several impaired conditions featured prominently throughout the arts during the early modern period. Madness was a persistent trope of disability in early modern England, often tied to women and expressions of femininity. Lindsey Row-Heyveld argues that madness in early modern England usually indicates ‘a more volatile and often temporary loss of reason’, which ‘roughly correspond[s] with what we today think of as mental illness’.5 ‘Foolishness’, on the other hand, ‘signalled a wide spectrum of longer-term mental incapacities, roughly corresponding with what we today think of as developmental or intellectual disability.’6 Due to the imprecision of medical terminology in the early modern period, 2

Plotinus, The Enneads, trans. A.H. Armstrong (Cambridge, MA, 1969), sixth tractate from the First Ennead, ‘On Beauty’, section 3, line 28. Another translation of this passage refers to ‘non-sensible harmonies’ and ‘sensible harmonies’: Plotinus, The Enneads, ed. Lloyd P. Gerson, trans. George Boys-Stones, John M. Dillon, Lloyd P. Gerson, et al. (Cambridge, 2017). This is particularly interesting in light of disability studies, since the language refers to a binary opposition of harmonies in music, similar to the binary opposition of ability and disability in the body. Even with this translation of ‘imperceptible’ versus ‘perceptible’ harmonies, there are two separate and extreme types of harmonies. Both sets of words by Plotinus about intelligible music could refer to a condition of the body that prevents perception of the harmonies. 3 Sebastian Francisco Moro Tornese, ‘Philosophy of Music in the Neoplatonic Tradition: Theories of Music and Harmony in Proclus’ Commentaries on Plato’s Timaeus and Republic’, PhD Diss., Royal Holloway, University of London, 2010. 4 Proclus, In Platonis Timaeum Commentaria, ed. E. Diehl, 3 vols (Leipzig, 1903–6, repr. Amsterdam, 1965), Book II, Section 138, lines 17–26. 5 Lindsey Row-Heyveld, ‘Dissembling Disability: Performances of the Non-Standard Body in Early Modern England’, PhD Diss., University of Iowa, 2011, p.32. 6 See Angela Heetderks, ‘“Better a Witty Fool Than a Foolish Wit”: Song, Fooling, and Intellectual Disability in Shakespearean Drama’, Gender and Song in Early Modern England, ed. Katherine R. Larson and Leslie C. Dunn (Aldershot, 2014), pp.63–76.



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however, the terms ‘madness’ and ‘foolishness’ were often used interchangeably.7 Melancholy, on the other hand, is intertwined with concepts of the connection between soul, mind and body: as much an art as it is a science, occupying poets, physicians, artists and philosophers alike. As Linda Phyllis Austern puts it, ‘like other affective disorders of the era, melancholy, including its diagnosis and its treatment, occupied the vast and extremely diverse middle ground between body and soul’.8 Significant writers on melancholy in the period, such as Timothy Bright and Robert Burton, compiled massive tomes on its characteristics and manifestations. Furthermore, literary works, such as the Shakespeare plays in this chapter, include discussions of the condition of melancholy, and mirror the society’s cultural values of difference.9 Most applicable to this collection is the role of disability in mediating stories within culture, functioning as a ‘narrative prosthesis’ of normativity within culture.10 The narratives of disability in many cultures, including early modern England, utilise the device of the narrative prosthesis to posit that disabled characters, throughout history, frequently appear as a device of characterisation in literature, and in later cultures these stories are also present in film. Unlike other marginalised groups and identities, disabled people are often represented as a foil to able-bodied characters, in order to define normality and normalised bodies. Disabled characters exemplify disorder and non-normative bodies to better establish notions of the idealised body, such as in the case of Old Testament Saul, lame Oedipus and Shakespeare’s King Richard III.11 In early modern England, harmful music, or discord of harmony or metre, is a foil for the healthful, curative properties of accepted and normalised musical styles, and facilitates the understanding of good versus bad music. It is easier to comprehend what not to do when there is an example to avoid. Generally, the narrative prosthetic is used for two main goals: to generate tension through expressive contrast, and to provide a story with a solvable problem. Within literary narratives, such as those of Shakespeare, characters like the lovesick Duke Orsino, the melancholic Dane and the mad Ophelia are complements to the more reasonable and able-bodied characters. Boethius’s work on music was also influential to Shakespeare and his contemporaries, particularly by influencing their alignment of musical discord/concord with physical or spiritual discord/concord of the body, mind or soul, and in upholding music as capable of balancing the mind–body connection.12

7

Ibid. Linda Phyllis Austern, ‘“No Pill’s Gonna Cure My Ill”: Gender, Erotic Melancholy and Traditions of Musical Healing in the Modern West’, Musical Healing in Cultural Contexts, ed. Penelope Gouk (New York, 2017), pp.113–36 (116–17). 9 See Timothy Bright, Treatise on Melancholy (London, 1586), and Robert Burton, The Essential Anatomy of Melancholy (New York, 2002). 10 See David T. Mitchell and Sharon L. Snyder, Narrative Prosthesis: Disability and the Dependencies of Discourse (Ann Arbor, 2000). 11 Ibid. 12 See Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius, Fundamentals of Music, trans. Calvin M. Bower, ed. Claude V. Palisca (New Haven, 1989); see also chapters 1, 3 and 4 in this 8

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I have argued elsewhere for the legitimacy of examining disability in pre-­ modern eras, despite the anachronism resulting from the absence of the term before the nineteenth century.13 Before the nineteenth century, which is prior to when ideas of ‘normal’/’abnormal’ and ‘disability’/’ability’ were commonplace cultural concepts, the standard of ability versus disability (what one can or cannot do) was often imagined as an idealised body that since the Fall of humankind is now morally compromised.14 The non-standard body, or the body that is lacking the ideal, is often conflated with music that deviates from ideal music and requires better tuning or consonant harmonies to reach an idealised state.15 Early modern literary and philosophical sources on music reveal conflicting accounts of music as capable of both curing and inflicting illness.16 An examination of Shakespeare’s Hamlet demonstrates that the songs of mad characters, and the genre of mad songs, construct a narrative of madness and femininity vis-à-vis the performance of disability, and thereby solidify the narrative and character development of the plays. The music is necessary for performing the stories and myths inherent in conceptions of madness, melancholy and other early modern ailments. Music and madness are consistently linked together, and mad characters, such as Ophelia, are pivotal in the plot of Shakespeare’s play. Furthermore, Ophelia’s character and the mad songs she utters constitute a performance of how madness and femininity – and ultimately disability – were understood in early modern English culture. Ophelia, as the mad feminine character, volume, which discuss the influence of Boethius on medieval and early modern conceptions of music. 13 See Bassler, ‘Music, Madness and Disease’, pp.182–94, and Bassler, ‘Madness and Music as (Dis)ability’, pp.529–38. 14 Lindsey Row-Heyveld discusses the complications of disability since the Reformation in ‘“The Lying’st Knave in Christendom”: The Development of Disability in the False Miracle of St Alban’s’, Disability Studies Quarterly 29 (2009) http://dsq-sds.org/article/view/994/1178. Accessed 20/12/2016. 15 See Bassler, ‘Madness and Music as (Dis)ability’; see also Blake Howe, ‘Music and Disability Studies: An Introduction’, Musicology Now, American Musicological Society, 9 February 2014 http://musicologynow.ams-net.org/2014/02/music-disability-studies-introduction.html. Accessed 10/2/2014. 16 There have been numerous studies written on the complexities of music and illness in early modern England. See especially Amanda Eubanks Winkler, O Let Us Howle Some Heavy Note: Music for Witches, the Melancholic, and the Mad on the Seventeenth-­ Century English Stage (Bloomington, 2006); Sarah F. Williams, Damnable Practises: Witches, Dangerous Women, and Music in Seventeenth-Century English Broadside Ballads (London, 2015); Laurinda S. Dixon, Perilous Chastity: Women and Illness in Pre-­ Enlightenment Art and Medicine (Ithaca, 1995); Linda Phyllis Austern, Music in English Children’s Drama of the Later Renaissance (London, 1992), pp.167–202; Katherine ­Hodgkin, Madness in Seventeenth-Century Autobiography (Basingstoke, 2007); Stephanie Shirilan, Robert Burton and the Transformative Powers of Melancholy (Aldershot, 2015); Peregrine Horden, ed., Music as Medicine: The History of Music Therapy Since Antiquity (Aldershot, 2000); Christine Goettler and Wolfgang Neuber, eds, Spirits Unseen: The Representation of Subtle Bodies in Early Modern European Culture (Boston, 2008); Katrine K. Wong, Music and Gender in English Renaissance Drama (New York, 2013), espec. pp.1–19 and 103–65; and Hyun-Ah Kim, The Renaissance Ethics of Music: Singing, Contemplation and Musica Humana (London, 2015), espec. pp.23–34; among others.



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serves as a narrative prosthesis to Hamlet’s more sane and masculine character. Ophelia reads as mad, whereas Hamlet’s melancholy attributes give him an allure, almost as a trope of genius or mystery. Furthermore, the stories of disability are a departure point for a more nuanced understanding of early modern culture in England, particularly with regards to Neoplatonism, the histories of madness, melancholy and disability, and music. While not understood as analogous to our modern conception of ‘abnormal’, disability was nevertheless an operational and fascinating category in early English musical culture. Music could be both a blessing and a curse for the body, mind and soul; depending on the type of music, it could either rehabilitate or provoke disorder. There were mystical properties to music, and when performed by a skilled practitioner, music could perform miracles and cure illnesses by altering the humours. Most early modern English thinkers espoused humoral theory, which posited that four fluids, or humours, circulated within the body, each corresponding with a temperament: blood (sanguine), phlegm (phlegmatic), yellow bile (choleric) and black bile (melancholic). If an individual possessed an excess of a single humour, or an overheating humour was rendered black (adust), the result was mental and physical illness. The cure for such imbalance was the balanced harmony of music, which had the power to return the body to its balanced state.17 Concordant-sounding music, like the perfect proportions of the heavens, was pleasing to the ear and could cure maladies of the body. In 1603, the lutenist Thomas Robinson wrote that music ‘cureth melancholy’ and ‘prevaileth against madness; if a man be in pains of the gout, of any wound, or of the head, it much mitigateth the fury thereof: and it is said, that music hath a salve for every sore.’18 Timothy Bright, in his Treatise on Melancholy (1586), wrote that ‘solemn music’ balances the symptoms of madness: a disordered mind can be reordered through musical organisation, affecting behaviour by calming the spirit. Similarly, Bright claims that ‘cheerful music’ balances melancholic temperaments, notably in triple metre. According to Ficino, music also possesses the ability to rebalance humours through its power over the spirit.19 In The Anatomy of Melancholy, Robert Burton further accentuates the varying effects of music on the early modern constitution, underscoring that music’s role in health is anything but simplistic and straightforward: Many men are melancholy by hearing music, but it is a pleasing melancholy that it causeth, and therefore to such as are discontent, in woe, fear, sorrow, or dejected, it is a most present remedy, it expels cares, alters their grieved minds, and easeth in an instant. Otherwise, sayeth Plutarch, music makes some men mad as a tiger; like Astolpho’s horn in Ariosto: or Mercury’s golden wand in Homer, that made

17

Eubanks Winkler, O Let Us Howle, p.6. Thomas Robinson, The School of Music (London, 1603), sig.B1r. 19 Bright, Treatise on Melancholy, pp.40–1; see also Marsilio Ficino, Three Books on Life, ed. Carol V. Kaske and John R. Clark (Tempe, 2002), pp.113–14, 355–63. 18

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some wake, others sleep; it hath diverse effects: and Theophrastus right well prophesied, that disease were either procured by music, or mitigated.20

Curative music, with its harmonious, melodious, consonant and well-tuned qualities, symbolised balance and order, which could affect the body positively. Early modern tropes of what we now recognise as disability were at the root of discussions of music, spirit, voice, and also gendered narratives of voice, in Shakespeare and his contemporaries. The plays of Shakespeare offer many examples of the influence of Boethius and Neoplatonist theories of music, which uphold music as a medium for enacting the balance of mind, body and soul. The disability of the feminine voice is underscored in Shakespeare, as generally singing is only done by women, or men overcome with some sort of ailment (and are thereby feminised and disabled). Four common early modern ailments are illnesses of the mind: feeblemindedness, madness, melancholy and lovesickness.

Shakespeare’s Ophelia: Music, Disability and Femininity In Shakespeare studies, Ophelia is the most-often cited example of the connections between music, madness and femininity. Amanda Eubanks Winkler invokes Ophelia and the relationship between gender and madness, arguing that Shakespeare created the prototype for alluring female madness in Ophelia. Ophelia’s songs provide the sonic background and accompaniment to her madness, underscoring her precarious mental state through early modern tropes of music and its power to affect the body.21 Similarly, Leslie Dunn argues that the musical discourse and dramaturgy surrounding Ophelia’s mad scenes in Hamlet demonstrate her mental state to the audience. The mad songs are constructed as disruptive and invasive, in opposition to social conventions. Ophelia is herself a figure of song: Ophelia’s madness is a vehicle for connecting her gender and psychological difference with the ‘discursive “difference” of music’.22 In other words, the depiction of Ophelia’s madness, communicated through song, tells a story of how social and cultural difference and the mind–body connection is understood in early modern England. In Act IV, Scene 5 of Hamlet, Ophelia enters after going mad, and begins with a song, possibly accompanied by herself on a lute.23 Ophelia continues singing 20

Burton, The Essential Anatomy of Melancholy, pp.150–1; discussed in Mary Ann Lund, Melancholy, Medicine and Religion in Early Modern England: Reading ‘The Anatomy of Melancholy’ (Cambridge, 2010), pp.5–6. 21 Eubanks Winkler, O Let Us Howle, p.86. 22 Leslie C. Dunn, ‘Ophelia’s Songs in Hamlet: Music, Madness, and the Feminine’, Embodied Voices: Representing Female Vocality in Western Culture, ed. Leslie C. Dunn and Nancy A. Jones (Cambridge, 1994), pp.50–64 (52). 23 The text to the Willow Song appears with a lute accompaniment in London, British Library: Additional MS 15117, and there is debate over whether or not Desdemona did actually accompany herself, but the song nonetheless is associated with the broadside ballad tradition and lute song. See David Lindley, Shakespeare and Music (New York;

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throughout the scene, disrupting the other action, and switching between songs on love and lamenting the death of her father, Polonius. Leslie Dunn draws attention to the invasive and socially isolating aspects of Ophelia’s songs, such as their seeming disruptiveness to the action of the play, the antisocial aspects of a woman singing in early modern England, and the bawdy nature of the texts.24 Ophelia’s performance of a mad woman thereby enacts a story of disability and gender throughout the play, such as in the following excerpt from Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5: Ophelia:

[Sings] By Gis and by Saint Charity, Alack, and fie for shame! Young men will do’t if they come to’t By Cock, they are to blame. Quoth she, ‘Before you tumbled me, You promis’d me to wed.’ He answers: ‘So would I “a” done, by yonder sun, An thou hadst not come to my bed.’ … He is dead and gone, lady, He is dead and gone; At his head a grass-green turf, At his heels a stone. O, ho!25

Dunn argues for the privileged status of music in Shakespeare’s ‘dramatic construction of Ophelia as madwoman’ in Hamlet.26 Dunn argues that ‘Ophelia’s songs dominate her mad scene, not only in their profusion, but in their disruptive and invasive power’.27 In Act IV, Scene 5, Ophelia’s singing interrupts her dialogue with Queen Gertrude, underscoring her scattered mental state. It appears as if Ophelia’s madness is so extreme that she suffers from excessive song. In the following quotation, Ophelia ignores Queen Gertrude’s engagement with her in conversation, consistently interrupting her with nonsensical song: Ophelia: [Sings] How should I your true-love know From another one? By his cockle hat and staff And his sandal shoon. Gertrude: Alas, sweet lady, what imports this song?

London, 2005), pp.162–4; Eubanks Winkler, O Let Us Howle, pp.74–5; see also Frederick W. Sternfeld, Music in Shakespearean Tragedy (London, 1963), p.32. 24 Dunn, ‘Ophelia’s Songs in Hamlet’, pp.50–2. 25 Texts from Ophelia’s song, William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, ed. Barbara Mowat, Paul Werstine, Michael Poston and Rebecca Niles www.folgerdigitaltexts.org. Accessed 18/2/2018, Act IV, Scene 5. 26 Dunn, ‘Ophelia’s Songs in Hamlet’, p. 50. 27 Ibid.

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Ophelia:

Say you? Nay, pray you mark. [Sings] He is dead and gone, lady, He is dead and gone; At his head a grass-green turf, At his heels a stone. O, ho!

Gertrude: Nay, but Ophelia – Ophelia:

Pray you mark. [Sings] White his shroud as the mountain snow –

Enter King. Gertrude: Alas, look here, my lord! Ophelia: [Sings] Larded all with sweet flowers; Which bewept to the grave did not go With true-love showers.28

Defying convention, Ophelia barely even acknowledges Queen Gertrude, nor does she acknowledge the King’s entrance: she is consumed with grief and with her song. Also in Act IV, Ophelia receives criticism from two male characters: an unnamed gentleman, and Horatio. When commenting upon Ophelia’s disposition, the gentleman uses musical language to describe Ophelia’s state. The discussion precedes Ophelia’s entrance into the scene, wherein the characters are discussing Ophelia’s mental state. Interestingly, the gentleman character emphasises that Ophelia’s ‘speech is nothing’, underscoring that it is not speech, but song. Later in the scene, Horatio warns that Ophelia is treacherous for possibly encouraging ‘dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds’: [Enter Horatio, Queen and a Gentleman.] Gertrude: I will not speak with [Ophelia]. Gentleman: She is importunate, indeed distract. Her mood will needs be pitied. Gertrude: What would she have? Gentleman: She speaks much of her father; says she hears There’s tricks i’ th’ world, and hems, and beats her heart; Spurns enviously at straws; speaks things in doubt, 28

Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Hamlet, ed. Mowat et al., Act IV, Scene 5, lines 33–45.

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That carry but half sense. Her speech is nothing, Yet the unshaped use of it doth move The hearers to collection; they aim at it, And botch the words up fit to their own thoughts; Which, as her winks and nods and gestures yield them, Indeed would make one think there might be thought, Though nothing sure, yet much unhappily. Horatio:

‘Twere good she were spoken with; for she may strew Dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds.

Gertrude: Let her come in. [Exit Gentleman.] [Aside] To my sick soul (as sin’s true nature is) Each toy seems Prologue to some great amiss. So full of artless jealousy is guilt It spills itself in fearing to be spilt. Enter Ophelia distracted.29

This scene is a demonstration of Ophelia’s mental state and madness, and also presents her as the narrative prosthesis and foil for the play. As the scenes illustrate, Ophelia is the mad character, who expresses her madness through music, which the characters, such as Queen Gertrude, notice and comment upon throughout her action in the play. The stage directions also draw attention to Ophelia’s disordered and unconventional state, as in calling for Ophelia to enter distracted, as above. Music continues to surround Ophelia, even to the grave, when the clown sings as he works in the graveyard. Hamlet comments upon the clown’s song, highlighting the disconnect between grave-digging and song: ‘Has this fellow no feeling of his business, that he sings at grave-making?’30 Hamlet’s comment underscores how music is used to communicate the clown’s disconnect from what Hamlet perceives as social convention surrounding death. In this way, music and disability bring together the underlying cultural themes of the story. The disabilities of madness and melancholy in the story of Ophelia and Hamlet are a window into early modern attitudes towards music. Reflexively, music also illuminates early modern cultural conceptions of disability, the body and gender. As Lindsey Row-Heyveld argues, disability and femininity are inseparable in early modern England. Both disability and femininity were defined by their lack of able-bodiedness and idealised standard, a circular notion that makes it impossible to define disability without ability. She writes, ‘women were stigma 29

Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Hamlet, ed. Mowat et al., Act IV, Scene 5, lines 1–25. Ibid., Act V, Scene 1, lines 67–8.

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tised because they were like people with disabilities, and people with disabilities were stigmatised because they were like women’.31 Ophelia as a character is the embodiment of early modern madness characterised as particularly feminine and musical.

Cultural Tropes of Music, Disability and Gender in Shakespeare While Ophelia and her singing are most often cited as the emblem of feminine madness, another significant Shakespearean example of feminine gender and disability within song is Desdemona in Othello. While Desdemona is not strictly a mad character, she exhibits traits of lovesickness, and serves as a foil to the masculine mad characters of Othello and Iago. Desdemona’s relationship with her husband, Othello, is altered from its harmonious state by Iago, who claims, ‘O you are well-tun’d now!/But I’ll set down the pegs that make this music’.32 As a woman, Desdemona exists outside of the acceptable norms of early modern society and social music-making. Othello claims that she is ‘fair, feeds well, loves company,/Is free of speech, sings, plays, and dances well’,33 but her famous Willow song – sung to her maiden, in secret and away from the public – is the only point when she sings during the play. In the song, Desdemona demonstrates lovesickness, a kind of melancholy. In Act IV, Scene 3, Desdemona recalls a story to her maid, Emilia, about the maid Barbary, who ‘was in love, and he she loved proved mad/And did forsake her’. Barbary died singing ‘a song of willow’, a song that resonates with Desdemona so much that she sings it at the end of Act IV, alongside a conversation with Emilia about her own duties and expectations as a wife.34 Desdemona’s lovesickness is a particular kind of melancholy – erotic melancholy – caused by her husband’s poor treatment and neglect.35 Early modern medical texts describe lovesickness as intense, unfulfilled erotic desire, which is regarded as a real disease, and a species of melancholy with physical manifestations and cures.36 While lovesickness is generally a male affliction, Desdemona demonstrates traits of lovesickness when she interrupts her singing of the song to interject her own bawdy texts. The line interjected into the song by Desdemona – ‘If I court more women, you’ll couch with more men’37 – refers to Desdemona’s own plight as a scorned woman. The word ‘couch’ (to lay down) has lascivious con-

31

Row-Heyveld, ‘Dissembling Disability’, p.13. William Shakespeare, Othello, ed. Barbara Mowat, Paul Werstine, Michael Poston and Rebecca Niles www.folgerdigitaltexts.org. Accessed 18/2/2018, Act II, Scene 1, lines 185–7. 33 Ibid., Act III, Scene 3, lines 215–16. 34 Ibid., Act III, Scene 3. 35 Eubanks Winkler, O Let Us Howle, pp.74–6. 36 Lesel Dawson, Lovesickness and Gender in Early Modern English Literature (Oxford, 2008). 37 Shakespeare, Othello, ed. Mowat et al., Act IV, Scene 3, lines 60–2. 32



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notations, and sufferers of lovesickness often invoked bawdy talk.38 Desdemona’s feminine voice takes on male qualities, and traverses the gender duality, to draw attention to her plight as a scorned woman. Her song, also scattered with conversation, much like Ophelia’s, emphasises further her precarious social situation, foreshadowing her dire future. David Houston Wood has located similar themes of early modern narrative prosthesis in Othello, examining how difference, ability and abnormality are constructed through the inward humoral self and evidenced in representations of drunkenness as a representation of melancholy.39 Similarly, Kirsten Gibson’s work on melancholy and masculinity in the early modern era exposes a fundamental contradiction between sixteenth- and seventeenth-century comprehension of the humoral and anatomical theory, which centred around discourses of ‘sameness’, and socio-political theories asserting inherent hierarchical differences on the basis of gender. There was an appearance of contradiction between, firstly, medical claims that men’s and women’s bodies’ psyches consisted of the same materials, and secondly, intrinsic beliefs that women were socially inferior:40 Nicolas Ling’s description of women from 1598 states that ‘Women, being of one and the self same substance with man, are what man is, only so much more imperfect as they are created the weaker vessels.’41 Ling gleans his conclusions about the female body from ancient and biblical precedent, which are mapped onto the body, and encrypted in anatomical writings and in the materials of humoral theory. Early modern English views of how various bodily disorders affect and exhibit in men and women are understood through a gender hierarchy of bodily discourses of sameness, which specify how the disorder of melancholy was gendered, and its power for effeminising male sufferers. Aristotelian theory also shaped Renaissance anatomical understandings: both men’s and women’s sexual organs were the same, and result in one biological sex, as women’s organs were present within the body because of their colder temperament and physiological weakness.42 Another Shakespeare play that is unquestionably musical, and also engages with early modern ideas about melancholy, is Twelfth Night. The play performs an overall healthful music, but which is peppered with demonstrations of lovesickness, melancholy, madness, foolery and other examples of disability and impairment, and underscores the different gendered aspects of madness and melancholy. The play’s famous opening speech by Duke Orsino calls attention to his lovesick state with evocative musical terminology:

38

Eubanks Winkler, O Let Us Howle, p.76. David Houston Wood, ‘“Fluster’d with Flowing Cups: Alcoholism, Humoralism, and the Prosthetic Narrative in Othello’, Disability Studies Quarterly 29 (2009) http://dsqsds.org/article/view/998/1182. 40 Kirsten Gibson, ‘Music, Melancholy and Masculinity in Early Modern England’, Masculinity and Western Musical Practice, ed. Ian Biddle and Kirsten Gibson (Farnham, 2009), pp.41–66 (46–8). 41 Nicolas Ling, Politeuphuia Wits Common Wealth (London, 1598), fol.24v; cited in Gibson, ‘Music, Melancholy and Masculinity’, p.46. 42 Gibson, ‘Music, Melancholy and Masculinity’, pp.47–8. 39

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If music be the food of love, play on; Give me excess of it, that, surfeiting, The appetite may sicken, and so die. That strain again! it had a dying fall: O, it came o’er my ear like the sweet sound, That breathes upon a bank of violets, Stealing and giving odour! Enough; no more: ‘Tis not so sweet now as it was before. O spirit of love! how quick and fresh art thou, That, notwithstanding thy capacity Receiveth as the sea, nought enters there, Of what validity and pitch soe’er, But falls into abatement and low price, Even in a minute: so full of shapes is fancy That it alone is high fantastical.43

Orsino’s opening speech is significant for demonstrating symptoms of lovesickness.44 As Carol Thomas Neely argues, love fills Orsino’s ‘liver, brain, and heart’ (Act I, Scene 1, line 38); his ‘fancy’ is ‘full of shapes’; his ‘desires’ ‘pursue’ him (Act I, Scene 1, lines 14, 23–4), and music – which should remediate his symptoms – only worsens them. The ‘dying fall’ referenced recalls the opening of composer John Dowland’s ‘Flow My Tears’, which features what some music scholars term a ‘falling tear motive’, set to the text ‘Flow my tears, fall from your springs’ in Dowland’s song.45 This musical gesture, here a depiction of melancholy, is linked to earlier gestures in Lasso and Marenzio, and also the seventeenth-century cult of melancholia, often associated with Dowland, especially in his repertoire of lute songs and consort music with melancholic poetry and titles (for example, ‘Semper Dowland, Semper Dolens’ [‘Always Dowland, Always doleful’], ‘Flow my Tears’ and ‘In Darkness, Let Me Dwell’).46 In Act II, Scene 4, Orsino again conflates music and melancholy with love: Come hither, boy: if ever thou shalt love, In the sweet pangs of it remember me; For such as I am all true lovers are, Unstaid and skittish in all motions else, Save in the constant image of the creature That is beloved. How dost thou like this tune?’ 43

William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, ed. Barbara Mowat, Paul Werstine, Michael Poston and Rebecca Niles www.folgerdigitaltexts.org. Accessed 18/2/2018, Act I, Scene 1, lines 1–15. 44 Carol Thomas Neely, Distracted Subjects: Madness and Gender in Shakespeare and Early Modern Culture (Ithaca, 2004), pp.99–100. 45 Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, ed. Mowat et al., Act I, Scene 1, lines 17–22. For a discussion of Dowland and the ‘falling tear’ motive, see Peter Holman, Dowland: Lachrimae (1604) (Cambridge, 1999). 46 Holman, Dowland: Lachrimae, pp.40–4.



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Here, the ‘sweet pangs [of love]’ are alongside music and characteristics of lovesickness, an altered consciousness of ‘unstaid and skittish’ motions, soothed only by the ‘constant image of the creature’. Men could also be feminised through an ailment and depict madness, often communicated through musical metaphor. Similarly, women with an ailment might display a combination of feminine and masculine traits, using music as a catalyst. This gender duality and disability appears in men and women who are unbalanced in their bodily humours, and yet demonstrate sensitivity to the mind–body connection, and of course, to music. In women, however, disability is considered more common and natural than in men. Men’s minds and bodies need to be even more unbalanced to first take on femininity before being disabled, and symbolised a more severe departure from the normalised ideal in early modern culture. The range of music’s ability includes the possibility of harmful music.47 This reading recognises disability and impairment as operational categories in the early modern era, and how this affected early modern views on gender and music.48 Throughout the play, music is central to the dramatic action, often due to Duke Orsino’s great affinity for music, and music – perhaps harmful music – affirms and characterises his (dis)ability. As Angela Heetderks has shown, Feste’s performances of fooling in Twelfth Night demonstrate the treatment of embodied ability on the Shakespearean stage, stressing the marginalisation of both female characters and male characters who do not confirm to criteria of idealised masculinity.49 Feste’s songs, and songs sung by other characters in Twelfth Night, identify characters as having intellectual disability or feeblemindedness, separating them from able-bodied or able-minded characters.50 By contrast, generally the socially and economically privileged white male, who is the mature male protagonist or male romantic lead, does not sing. Heetderks calls this phenomenon the ‘unmarked position of power’ within Shakespearean drama.51 Examples of male leads who do not sing include Antony, Henry IV, Henry VIII, Romeo, Troilus, Prospero, Theseus, Demetrius, Lysander, Orsino, Claudio, Orlando and Bassanio. Even Othello and Shylock, who are socially marginalised by ethnicity and religion while occupying powerful positions, do not sing. When Shakespeare’s privileged adult male protagonists do sing, it usually signifies that they are slipping into marginalised positions. Music is then the first example of their imbalance, accompanying their feminisation and disability. 47

James Kennaway argues that before the nineteenth century music was portrayed as a medium that restored health, citing new medical theories that connected overstimulation to sickness: Bad Vibrations: The History of the Idea of Music as a Cause of Disease (London, 2016), pp.29–31. 48 See Bassler, ‘Music, Madness and Disease’; Bassler, ‘Madness and Music as (Dis) ability’; Row-Heyveld, ‘Dissembling Disability’; Irina Metzler, Disability in Medieval Europe: Thinking about Physical Impairment in the High Middle Ages, c.1100–c.1400 (London, 2006); Sari Katajala-Peltomaa  and  Susanna Niiranen, eds, Mental (Dis) Order in Later Medieval Europe (Boston; Leiden, 2014). 49 Heetderks, ‘Better a Witty Fool Than a Foolish Wit’, pp.63–76. 50 Ibid., p.64. 51 Ibid., p.66.

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This duality – music’s masculine potential to promote reason and strong-mindedness and its feminine potential to provoke distress and feeblemindedness, its healing and harmful qualities – fits Mitchell and Snyder’s observation that the disabled are often constructed as a foil to able-bodiedness, providing a conflict that literary narratives seek to resolve.52 In addition to its feminine qualities, harmful music could also be discordant, as evidenced by this speech in Richard II: Music do I hear? [Music] Ha, ha, keep time! How sour sweet music is When time is broke, and no proportion kept! So is it in the music of men’s lives. And here have I the daintiness of ear To check time broke in a disordered string; But for the concord of my state and time Had not an ear to hear my true time broke. I wasted time, and now doth time waste me; For now hath time made me his numb’ring clock.53

As the soliloquy begins, Richard blatantly comments upon the gender duality with less musical (but still rhythmic) language, and referring to his melancholy: My brain I’ll prove the female to my soul, My soul the father; and these two beget A generation of still-breeding thoughts, And these same thoughts people this little world, In humours like the people of this world, For no thought is contented.54

Richard II constructs a gendered mind–body duality, naming his brain as the female and his soul as the father. The benighted king grapples with melancholy and what might be considered a crisis of identity. Yet music interrupts his brooding and fills him with dread: Now sir, the sound that tells what hour it is Are clamorous groans, which strike upon my heart, Which is the bell: so sighs and tears and groans Show minutes, times, and hours: but my time Runs posting on in Bolingbroke’s proud joy, While I stand fooling here, his Jack o’ the clock. 52

Mitchell and Snyder, Narrative Prosthesis, pp.47–9. William Shakespeare, Richard II, ed. Barbara Mowat, Paul Werstine, Michael Poston and Rebecca Niles www.folgerdigitaltexts.org. Accessed 1/3/2018, Act V, Scene 5, lines 43–51. 54 Ibid., lines 6–11. 53



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This music mads me; let it sound no more; For though it have holp madmen to their wits, In me it seems it will make wise men mad. Yet blessing on his heart that gives it me! For ‘tis a sign of love; and love to Richard Is a strange brooch in this all-hating world.55

Returning to Twelfth Night, music is not only fascinating in relation to its performance of male (dis)ability, but also in the context of the play’s constant performance of gender ambiguity, bringing into the foreground the tension of gendered duality of masculine and feminine voice. In Act I, Scene 2, Viola calls upon the Captain’s aid to create her disguise, using music and song as an indication of her probable success: Thou shall present me as an eunuch to him: It may be worth thy pains; for I can sing And speak to him in many sorts of music That will allow me very worth his service.56

Thus, Viola’s ability to sing and pass as a eunuch will make her disguise possible. In assuming the ambiguous gender of a eunuch, Viola will also execute ‘many sorts of music’, and these musics have the ability to be persuasive and worthy of service. This alludes to the healing properties of music, and also the power of music to make Viola a worthy servant.

Conclusion Consonant, harmonious, well-tuned music promotes healthful order. Conversely, dissonant, discordant and out-of-tune music promotes distress. The principles underlying these views derive from Boethius’s De institutione musica. Developing a mind–body connection, apropos of Aristotle, Boethius writes: Music of the universe is especially to be studied in the combining of the elements and the variety of the seasons which are observed in the heavens … What human music is, anyone may understand by examining his own nature … What else joins together the parts of the soul itself, which in the opinion of Aristotle is a union of the rational and the irrational? What causes the blending of the body’s elements?57

With reference to the Sirens, Richard Mulcaster (1532–1611) constructed a similarly complex model for the emotional power of music on the soul and the corruption 55

Ibid., lines 56–67. Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, ed. Mowat et al., Act I, Scene 2, lines 59–64. 57 Boethius, Fundamentals of Music, translated and reprinted in W. Oliver Strunk and Leo Treitler, eds, Source Readings in Music History (New York, 1998), pp.140–1; see also footnote 10. 56

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of the mind. Boethius influenced Mulcaster’s ideas, but Mulcaster took it one step further, and added a gendered element to the discussion of music: [Through the] delight of the ears … the weak soul may be stirred up into a feeling of godliness … to some [music] seems offensive, because it carrieth away the ear, with the sweetness of melody, and bewitcheth the mind with a Siren’s sound, pulling it from that delight, wherein of duty it ought to dwell, unto harmonical fantasies, and withdrawing it, from the best meditations, and most virtuous thoughts to foreign conceits and wandering devices.58

The Siren, gendered female with the power of bewitching the listener, is held up as an example of music’s ability to affect the listening with ‘foreign conceits and wandering devises’, which distract the listening from ‘the best meditations, and most virtuous thoughts’. Indeed, beyond Shakespeare, there is further literature from early modern England on melancholy and its relation to music. The lute appears in the early modern imagination in conjunction with music and love in the poetry collection entitled The Passionate Pilgrim (1599). In the eighth poem, John Dowland appears named as a lutenist with a heavenly touch that can ‘ravish human sense’ through his lute, Phoebus’s lute creating the queen of music, and Edmund Spenser through his poetry: If music and sweet poetry agree, As they must needs, the sister and the brother, Then must the love be great ‘twixt thee and me, Because thou lovest the one, and I the other. Dowland to thee is dear, whose heavenly touch Upon the lute doth ravish human sense; Spenser to me, whose deep conceit is such As, passing all conceit, needs no defence. Thou lovest to hear the sweet melodious sound That Phoebus’s lute, the queen of music, makes; And I in deep delight am chiefly drown’d When as himself to singing he betakes.59

In this poem, music is equated with poetry and love, which can affect one’s mental or physical state. Other writers discuss the powers of music over the body. In the 1583 The Anatomy of Abuses, Philip Stubbes discussed dangerous music, arguing that certain music could emasculate man, overtaking his reason and diminishing him to an 58

Richard Mulcaster, Positions Wherein those Primitive Circumstances be Examined which are Necessary for the Training up of Children, either for Skill in their Book or Health in their Body (London, 1581), p.38. 59 William Shakespeare, The Passionate Pilgrim (1599), ed. Hardy M. Cook, Internet Shakespeare Editions (Victoria, 2016) http://internetshakespeare.uvic.ca/Library/ Texts/PP/. Accessed 5/6/2014.



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overexcited, womanish state.60 This depiction of music as ravishing a man’s mind to a womanish state, and possibly over-exciting his feelings for a woman, seems along similar lines to the story of madness and melancholy constructed by Shakespeare, and speaks to how music can affect the body’s abilities. One explanation for this contradiction of music, as capable of both healing and harming, might be the persistent belief of the mind–body connection in early modern England. With regards to medieval and early modern medicine, intellectual historian Elena Carrera demonstrates that before the widespread Cartesian separation between rationality and emotion, the predominant conventional wisdom taught that ‘grief, obsessive worry, excessive anger, and so forth would damage hearts, give ulcers, destroy complexions, and make one more prone to infections’.61 English, French and Italian sources from medieval and early modern medicine emphasise the mind–body connection, presenting ‘anger, joy, fear, or sadness as being caused by evaluative perceptions, [and] as physiologically base processes, manifesting as movements and alterations of the spirits in the brain’.62 While the feminine excess of music could be destructive, the masculine rationality of music as ordered could edify the mind and body. Since music possessed a dual nature as both harmful or healing, it worked well as a metaphor to mediate between ideas of ability and disability, with melancholic music or mad songs, such as those performed by Ophelia, Desdemona and in the opening of Twelfth Night functioning as a performance of melancholy and cultural ideas about disability. Disability, then, is a state of both bodily disorder (the unbalanced humours that cause melancholy) and mental disorder (the mind-oriented pensive and doleful character of melancholia and lovesickness). Like Shakespeare, Robert Burton conflates melancholy with the lute and lovesickness. Burton’s book, The Anatomy of Melancholy, includes ‘The Argument of the Frontspiece’, which explains the volume’s illustrations, naming one figure as ‘Inamorato’, referring to the title character of Matteo Maria Boiardo’s Orlando innamorato (1482). Burton’s text describes the heroic knight Orlando as a vain character, pictured with a hanging head, surrounded by his lute and books. Such language is similar to the melancholy depicted in Dowland’s music, including songs such as ‘Flow My Tears’, ‘Sorrow, Sorrow, Stay’, ‘Go Crystal Tears’ and ‘In Darkness Let Me Dwell’, with their sighs, tears and references to unrequited love. In this definitive text on melancholy, Burton goes on to discuss different facets of melancholy, not only in relation to the individual, and to early modern English beliefs on the causes, dangers and cures for melancholy, but also situating melancholy as a European epidemic. Melancholy was not only an imbalance of the humours, but there were also societal and political forces at work, and the background of religious turmoil,

60

Philip Stubbes, The Anatomy of Abuses Containing a Discovery, or Brief Summary of Such Notable Vices and Imperfections, as now Reign in Many Christian Countries of the World (London, 1583), sigs.[O4]v–[O5]r. 61 Elena Carrera, ‘Anger and the Mind–Body Connection in Medieval and Early Modern Medicine’, Emotions and Health, 1200–1700, ed. Elena Carrera (Leiden, 2013), pp.95–146 (96). 62 Ibid., p.96.

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political upheaval and war affected Burton’s writings.63 Interacting within this complicated framework of politics, religion and society was also a cultural expectation of gender roles, which often were considered around descriptions of ability and what was acceptable and allowed behaviour for the genders. Despite the confusion of the conflict surrounding the cultural landscape, music exercised power. The following passage from Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy speaks to the power of music, equating it with divine excellence: But to leave all declamatory speeches in praise of divine music, I will confine myself to my proper subject: besides that excellent power it hath to expel many other diseases, it is a sovereign remedy against despair and melancholy, and will drive away the devil himself. Camus, a Rhodian fiddler, in Philostratus, when Apollonius was inquisitive to know what he could do with his pipe, told him … that he would make a melancholy man merry, and him that was merry much merrier than before, a lover more enamoured, a religious man more devout.64

This passage is illuminating not only for its appeal to music as divine, but also for its reference to music as having the power to cure melancholy and other diseases, and to enhance other conditions, such as the amorousness of love and religious devotion. Illuminating the relationship between music, impairment, gender and (dis) ability in early modern culture, narrative prosthesis provides a social model for melancholy, abnormality and disability in early modern England, with its conflation of melancholy with madness and the socio-cultural expectations of gender. It suits the complex relationship between understandings of music as both ordered and disordered. Exploring the connections of madness and melancholy with other early modern maladies, as well as the role of Shakespearean characters such as Ophelia and Desdemona as narrative prostheses to able-bodied characters, reveals how elements of music and disability were understood in early modern England.

63

Lund, Melancholy, Medicine and Religion, pp.1–24. Burton, The Essential Anatomy of Melancholy, pp.150–1.

64

Plate i  Andrea di Bonaiuto da Firenze, Triumph of Saint Thomas Aquinas (post restoration 2003–4), detail of the Seven Liberal Arts on the right

Plate ii  Sandro Botticelli, Philosophy Presenting Lorenzo Tornabuoni(?) to the Seven Liberal Arts

Plate iii  Berlin, Staatsbibliothek Museen de Stiftung Preussischer Kulturbesitz: Kupferstichkabinett, MS 78.C.28

Plate iv  Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale: Banco Rari 229, fol.IV verso

Plate v  Dosso Dossi, Allegory of Music

Plate vi  Cima da Conegliano, Judgement of Midas, oil on panel, 43 × 73 cm, 1513–17

Plate vii  Lorenzo Lotto, Allegory of Virtue and Vice, oil on panel, 57 × 42 cm, 1505

Plate viii  Agnolo Bronzino, Apollo and Marsyas, oil on panel transferred to canvas, 48 × 119 cm, c.1530–2

Plate ix  Marco Jadra, Polygonal Virginals, cypress, maple, ebony and ivory, 17.1 × 146.3 (front) × 42.6 cm, 1568

Plate x  Sir Anthony van Dyck (Flemish 1599–1641), Rinaldo and Armida (1629), oil on canvas, 93 × 90 in. (253.3 × 228.7 cm)

11

Dangerous Beauty: Stories of Singing Women in Early Modern Italy Sigrid Harris

O

ne of the most brutal tales in Greek mythology tells of the dangers of women’s voices. This is the story of the nightingale.1 As related in Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the virgin Philomela is violated by Tereus, husband of her sister Procne. Maddened and shamed, Philomela threatens to reveal her ‘unspeakable bedding’ to the world, upon which Tereus excises her tongue to prevent exposure.2 Despite being mute, however, Philomela regains her voice by weaving a message in a tapestry sent to Procne, who frees her. The two sisters then enact a bloodthirsty revenge on Tereus – tricking him into cannibalising his own son – before all three characters are transformed into birds. Procne turns into a swallow, while Philomela becomes the nightingale, whose powerful voice could not be silenced through the removal of her tongue. In her avian form, she sings laments and songs to welcome the spring.3 During the early modern period, responses to the myth of Philomela often connected the bird’s beautiful song and violence.4 As an icon of music this myth-­ encrusted bird revealed male suspicions regarding sonic beauty and femininity, closely related phenomena in the Renaissance epistemology.5 For example, the links between music, women and malevolence are made explicit in Cesare Ripa’s 1

The nightingale or philomela, as it is also known, has been an important symbol for poets and singers in European literature throughout the ages. See for example, Albert R. Chandler, ‘The Nightingale in Greek and Latin Poetry’, The Classical Journal 30 (2010), 78–84; Elizabeth Eva Leach, Sung Birds: Music, Nature, and Poetry in the Later Middle Ages (Ithaca, 2007), pp.92–107; Simona Cohen, Animals as Disguised Symbols in Renaissance Art (Leiden, 2008), pp.48–9. 2 Ovid, Metamorphoses, trans. Stanley Lombardo (Indianapolis, 2010), p.165, Book VI, line 626. 3 On the different classical representations of the nightingale singing, see Chandler, ‘The Nightingale’, pp.78–80. 4 On the links between violence and the song of Philomela in the medieval and early modern periods, see Lisa S. Starks-Estes, Violence, Trauma, and Virtus in Shakespeare’s Roman Poems and Plays (London, 2014), pp.160–1. 5 ‘Myth-encrusted bird’ is a paraphrase of Jorge Luis Borges, ‘To the Nightingale’, which views the bird as ‘encrusted with mythology’. Borges, Selected Poems, ed. Alexander Coleman (London, 2000), p.355. On the connections between sonic beauty and femininity throughout history, see Elizabeth Eva Leach, ‘The Sound of Beauty’, Beauty, ed. Lauren Arrington, Zoe Leinhardt and Philip Dawid (Cambridge, 2013), pp.72–98 (96).

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Iconologia (1593), which was reprinted throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. In this popular book of emblems, the nightingale is an attribute of two iconographic females: Music, who is described as ‘a beautiful young woman’,6 and the ugly old hag who represents Cruelty.7 Meanwhile, in Italian poetic re-­ appropriations of the myth of Philomela, male writers emphasised feminine culpability while doing with their pens the same thing that Tereus achieved with his knife: even if only within the stories they told, they muted female self-expression. In much pastoral poetry, the songs of the newly created birds either recede into the background by becoming common springtime sounds, or are silenced altogether. For example, in Petrarch’s ‘Zephiro torna’ (from the Canzoniere), the musical plaints of the nightingale and swallow are among the many poetic devices used to evoke the pastoral landscape: Zephiro torna, e ’l bel tempo rimena, e i fiori et l’erbe, sua dolce famiglia, e garrir Progne et pianger Philomena, et primavera candida et vermiglia.8 [The zephyr returns and brings back good weather, and the flowers and the grasses, his sweet family, and the complaints of Procne and the weeping of Philomela, and spring, pure white and crimson.9]

Rather than being centre stage, the female voices serve as an accompaniment to the male lover’s sad lament; they are simply part of a peaceful soundscape serving to emphasise, through contrast, the desolate inner world that he inhabits. Sannazaro goes still further than Petrarch; in his eleventh eclogue, the women’s cries prove their guilt,10 and are eventually replaced by the male voice, who orders them to be silent:

6

See Iain Fenlon and Tim Carter, Con Che Soavità: Studies in Italian Opera, Song, and Dance, 1580-1740 (Oxford, 1995), p.9. 7 The bird sits on the head of the woman personifying Cruelty. Cesare Ripa, Iconologia overo descrittione dell’ imagini universali cavate dall’antichita et da altri luoghi (Rome, 1613 reprint), p.55. 8 Francesco Petrarca, Canzoniere, ed. Ugo Dotti (Milan, 1992), no.310, p.384. 9 Translation quoted in Ann Rosalind Jones, ‘New Songs for the Swallow: Ovid’s Philomela in Tullia d’Aragona and Gaspara Stampa’, Refiguring Woman: Perspectives on Gender and the Italian Renaissance, ed. Marilyn Migiel and Juliana Schiesari (Ithaca; London, 1991), pp.263–79 (270). 10 Jones observes that this re-telling of the myth typifies the pattern by which a crime against a woman is blamed on the woman herself, making her a perpetrator rather than the victim she truly is. Jones, ‘New Songs’, pp.270–1. See also Barbara Spackman, ‘Inter musam et ursam moritur: Folengo and the Gaping “Other” Mouth’, Refiguring Woman: Perspectives on Gender and the Italian Renaissance, ed. Marilyn Migiel and Juliana Schiesari (Ithaca; London, 1991), pp.19–34.



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Lasciate, prego, i vostri gridi intensi, e fin che io nel mio dir diventi roco, nessuna del s uo mal ragioni o pensi. [Leave off, I pray, your wild cries, and until I myself become hoarse from speaking, let neither of you females tell or think of her misfortune.11]

Ann Rosalind Jones has pointed out that in this version of Arcadia, ‘the bird sisters’ are ‘poetic rivals who threaten to drown out his [Sannazaro’s] own performance’; it would appear that there is ‘air space for only one singer at a time’.12 The male narrator feels threatened by the women’s music: he may be concerned that the singing women will eclipse him not only in volume but in talent, as he mentions Philomela’s ‘soavi accenti’. Yet it can be argued that, as in other male-authored retellings of the myth, the reasons for the censorship of female singing voices are more profound. Here as elsewhere, women’s music may be feared because it brings with it the potential threats of seduction, emasculation, bestialisation and even death, simultaneously giving the women who perform it power. While the nightingale is perhaps the most significant symbol of music in literature, a preoccupation with female singing and its implicit dangers lies at the heart of the tradition of poetry about music; in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the Sirens, sorceresses and nymphs that inhabited the mythical landscape inspired countless verses in which women were often blamed for the beauty of their songs. Yet despite the burgeoning number of studies of Renaissance female musical culture, and despite the fact that fictional representations of female music-making at once echoed and influenced contemporary attitudes to women and their music, early modern poetic depictions of feminine musical performance remain largely unexplored in the musicological scholarship.13 This chapter investigates accounts of women’s music in Renaissance Italy, from stories of female singing found in two widely influential epics written for the court at Ferrara, Torquato Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata (1575) and Matteo Boiardo’s Orlando innamorato (1494), to the poems of the courtesans. Broadly speaking, the picture of women’s singing that emerges from early modern Italian literary representations of female music is a sinister one. Although singing ladies (and courtesans) were also celebrated – ensembles such as the Ferrarese concerto delle donne flourished in the late 1500s – their performances clearly generated

11

Jacopo Sannazaro, ‘Eclogue XI’, Eclogae piscatoriae (1526), quoted with translation in Jones, ‘New Songs’, p.271. 12 Jones, ‘New Songs’, p.271. 13 Probably the most in-depth studies of early modern literary representations of women’s musical performances are Elena Laura Calogero, ‘“Sweet Aluring Harmony”: Heavenly and Earthly Sirens in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century Literary and Visual Culture’, Music of the Sirens, ed. Linda Phyllis Austern and Inna Naroditskaya (Bloomington, 2006), pp.140–75; and Stephen M. Buhler, ‘The Sirens, the Epicurean Boat, and the Poetry of Praise’, Music of the Sirens, pp.176–93.

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much unease.14 Like their fictional counterparts, real-life female singers were often censured or feared because of their ability to gain control over men.15 Thus, stories of singing women in early modern Italy can be seen to reveal deeply entrenched male anxieties about femininity and about (feminine) music.

Seduction Sixteenth-century male poets’ suppression of female voices on the page reflected a real-world distrust of women’s singing. As debates surrounding feminine propriety escalated in the 1500s, women’s voices were increasingly seen as immoral, and singing was closely interlinked with licentiousness.16 Within both the Church and the laity, long-held associations between women and sin were intensified as the traditional connections between female voices and temptation or seduction became increasingly pervasive.17 As Paolo Cortese observed in his De cardinalatu (1510): many, estranged from the natural disposition of the normal sense, not only reject it [music] because of some sad perversion of their nature, but even think it to be hurtful for the reason that it is somehow an invitation to idle pleasure, and above all, that its merriment usually arouses the evil of lust.18

Music – particularly women’s music – came to be equated with sexuality. In 1537, Pietro Aretino commented that ‘the sounds, songs, and letters that women know are the keys that open the door to their modesty’.19 Women’s speech was itself seen as a threat; writing in his 1555 treatise on good wives, Francesco Barbaro voiced the common view that ‘the speech of a noble woman can be no less dangerous than the nakedness of her limbs’.20 As is clear from Castiglione’s Il Cortegiano (1528) and 14

This chapter does not attempt to delve into the positive aspects of female musical performance in early modern Italy, which are already well known. 15 As Tim Shephard has pointed out, ‘commentators on Italian song c.1500 often identified women not as performers of music, but as its ideal listeners’. Shephard, ‘Noblewomen and Music in Italy, c.1430–1520: Looking Past Isabella’, Gender, Age and Musical Creativity, ed. Catherine Haworth and Lisa Colton (Farnham, 2015), pp.27–40 (27). 16 Martha Feldman, ‘The Courtesan’s Voice: Petrarchan Lovers, Pop Philosophy, and Oral Traditions’, The Courtesan’s Arts: Cross-Cultural Perspectives, ed. Martha Feldman and Bonnie Gordon (Oxford, 2006), pp.105–23 (105). 17 For a discussion of the restrictions placed on women’s voices in the Church, see Ian Maclean, The Renaissance Notion of Woman: A Study in the Fortunes of Scholasticism and Medical Science in European Intellectual Life (Cambridge, 1980), p.15, also p.18. 18 Paolo Cortese, De cardinalatu libri tres (San Gimignano, 1510), translated in Nina Pirrotta, ‘Music and Cultural Tendencies in 15th-Century Italy’, Journal of the American Musicological Society 19 (1966), 127–61 (152). A facsimile of the original Latin appears on p.148. 19 From a letter published in 1537, quoted in Tim Shephard, ‘Voice, Decorum, and Seduction in Florigerio’s Music Lesson’, Early Music 38 (2010), 361–8 (362). 20 Quoted in Bonnie Gordon, ‘The Courtesan’s Singing Body as Cultural Capital in Seventeenth-Century Italy’, The Courtesan’s Arts: Cross-Cultural Perspectives, ed. Martha Feldman and Bonnie Gordon (Oxford, 2006), pp.182–98 (189).



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other conduct books of the time, female chastity and female silence were virtually inextricable.21 Female singing could therefore be seen as an extreme violation of feminine virtue. In a poem written for Adrian Willaert, the Venetian Girolamo Fenaruolo claimed that the corrupting influence of music was inescapable: Ne si trovano donna cosi strana Ne tanta casta, che s’egli cantava Tosto non divenisse una puttana. [Never do we find a woman so rare Nor so chaste, that if she sings She does not at once become a whore.22]

The fact that music was so deeply entwined with sexuality was problematic. Lust was thought to ‘unman’ men, even sometimes making them less than human.23 Alberti, for example, tells us that a man consumed by lust becomes ‘thoroughly contemptible, lower than any weak and insignificant beast, vile and despicable’; such a man ‘does not care for fame, for honour, or for any tie, however sacred, if he may but fulfil his vile appetite.’24 According to the Venetian courtesan Tullia d’Aragona (c.1510–56), sexual desire was capable of ‘subordinating reason, which ought to be the queen of the body, to the senses, and thus very quickly turn[ing men] from being rational … into being brute animals’.25 Music, which aroused lust, could therefore potentially emasculate and even bestialise its audiences. This was equally true of the singing by ladies whose modesty was ensured by their employers and of performances by women whose songs were part of their sexual merchandise. Both at the court of Ferrara and elsewhere in Italy, poets made clear the dangers of all singing women, just as did treatises on music and conduct books from across Europe. Mary Midgley, in her seminal work on myth, contends that ‘myths are not lies’ but instead ‘imaginative patterns, networks of powerful symbols that suggest par 21

On the virtue of feminine silence in conduct books of the Italian Renaissance, see Meredith K. Ray, Writing Gender in Women’s Letter Collections of the Italian Renaissance (Toronto, 2009), pp. 8–9. As Stefano Guazzo put it in his Civil conversazione (1574), ‘most highly prized in a woman is that silence which so suits her and augments her reputation for prudence’. Translation quoted in Ray, Writing Gender, p.8. Meanwhile, Castiglione tellingly gives the women of Il Cortegiano no meaningful role. On the implications of feminine silence in Castiglione, see Valeria Finucci, The Lady Vanishes: Subjectivity and Representation in Castiglione and Ariosto (Stanford, 1992), pp. 27–73; Giuseppa Saccaro Battisti, ‘La donna, le donne nel Cortegiano’, La corte e il Cortegiano, ed. Carlo Ossola, 2 vols (Rome, 1980), vol.1, pp.219–50 (221). 22 Quoted with translation in Shephard, ‘Voice, Decorum, and Seduction’, p.366. 23 See for instance, H. Peter Klein, The Graphic Worlds of Peter Bruegel the Elder (New York, 2014), pp.60–2. 24 Leon Battista Alberti, Opere volgari, ed. Cecil Grayson, 3 vols (Bari, 1960), vol.1, p.94. Translation quoted in Paola Tinagli, Women in Italian Renaissance Art: Gender, Representation, Identity (Manchester, 1997), p.25. 25 Tullia d’Aragona, Dialogue on the Infinity of Love, trans. Rinaldina Russell and Bruce Merry (Chicago, 1997), p.94.

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ticular ways of interpreting the world. They shape its meaning.’26 If myth and story serve to construct worldviews, it is telling that all the most representative female characters who sang in the epic poetry of the long sixteenth century were ‘mad, bad, and dangerous to know.’ Perhaps the most influential of these characters was the sorceress Armida. Throughout Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberata, the temptress uses singing to entrap men; music, along with coquetry, deceitful words and her physical beauty, becomes a tool for persuading men to do her bidding. She thus effectively subverts masculine power using feminine ploys; her voice is a weapon of seduction, and even, sometimes, of mass destruction. At first glance, one of the key scenes in the epic that features her music leaves her with no real agency of her own, as she is instead the agent of masculine evil. In Canto IV of Gerusalemme liberata, the Devil himself influences Armida’s uncle Idraote to send her to seduce the Christian army.27 The parallels with the story of the Fall are unmistakable. Like Eve, Armida is a beautiful woman swayed by the Devil to tempt man away from God and into sin, so it may seem as if the real fault here is with the male Satan.28 Yet the connections between Armida’s musical performance and sin arguably run deeper. Upon closer inspection, neither Armida nor Eve is merely an instrument of evil, but instead deeply connected with the author of it, who was, in fact, ambisexual in Renaissance iconography. The Devil could be either male or female; his gender fluidity draws him closer to his female ‘victims’ who are, in fact, his helpers. In early modern depictions of the Fall, the snake often has the face of a woman, one that is typically very similar in its features to that of Eve.29 On the one hand, the Devil takes female form in order to be more sympathetic to Eve, but his femininity here, as in other instances, is more profound.30 The gender-fluid figure of Satan is certainly more proximate to women than most men – after all, sex, death and the body were traditionally associated with the female. Women were thus not only damned for being devilish, but the Devil was 26

Mary Midgley, The Myths We Live By (London, 2011), p.1. Torquato Tasso, Gerusalemme liberata, ed. Lanfranco Caretti (Milan, 1957), Canto IV, stanzas 24–6, pp.99–100. In translation, Torquato Tasso, The Liberation of Jerusalem, trans. Max Wickert, (Oxford, 2009), pp.62–3. For a discussion of Satan’s role in the process, see Naomi Yavneh, ‘The Ambiguity of Beauty: Tasso and Petrarch’, Sexuality and Gender in Early Modern Europe: Institutions, Texts, Images, ed. James Grantham Turner (Cambridge, 1993), pp.133–57 (135). 28 Indeed, following Tertullian, many believed that all women were culpable for Original Sin. For a discussion of the debates surrounding women and sin and the impact of these debates on Renaissance thought, see Maclean, The Renaissance Notion of Woman, espec. pp.15–17. 29 See for example, Kathleen M. Crowther, Adam and Eve in the Protestant Reformation (Cambridge, 2010), p.28. The tradition of linking Eve with the serpent and the Devil dates at least to the twelfth century. Petrus Comestor, in his influential Historia scholastica (c.1173), claimed that Satan took on a female form to lure Eve to sin because ‘like prefers like’ (‘Elegit etiam quoddam genus serpentis, ut ait Beda, virgineum vultum habens, quia similia similibus applaudant’). Quoted in Nona Cecilia Flores, ‘“Virgineum vultum habens”: The Woman-Headed Serpent in Art and Literature from 1300 to 1700’, PhD Diss., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1981, p.5. 30 Flores, ‘Virgineum vultum habens’, espec. pp.31–40. 27



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evil because he was, in significant ways, a woman.31 Thus Armida, performing her seduction for the Devil, is carrying out a plot that is itself feminine in its deceitfulness, and authored by one who is more womanly than manly.32 Armida therefore exemplifies the links between sin and music, as her story has resonances with Genesis 3, perhaps the most powerful biblical narrative to enter the cultural consciousness of early modern Europe. Just as Eve was believed to have ‘flattered Adam with soft words’33 in order to persuade him to eat the forbidden fruit, Armida sows discontent in the Christian army through sweet music, words, looks and gestures that are all calculated to incite lust. She uses her feminine wiles to create chaos, leading men astray from the Crusade and making them generally unfit for battle. Her music – a key component of her seduction – is therefore responsible for the potential spiritual death of Christendom at the hands of the pagans: prima che ‘l suo pensier le sia preciso, dispon di trarre al fin opra sí rea, e far con gli atti dolci e col bel viso piú che con l’arti lor Circe o Medea, e in voce di sirena a i suoi concenti addormentar le più svegliate menti.34 [before her plot can weaken, to complete her criminal design upon their hearts, to gain by her fair looks and gestures sweet more than Medea or Circe by their arts. Out of her siren throat such music creeps that the most watchful mind is lulled and sleeps.35]

The devastating effects of Armida’s physical and vocal beauty here serve to illustrate the Church’s fears that music and femininity could lead Christians away from morality. Furthermore, Armida’s character embodies the broader anxieties concerning women and music that were current in the Renaissance. Her art, like her female personality, is stereotypically dishonest and manipulative. Unlike the sorceresses of Ariosto and Trissino, Armida is not later exposed as an ugly hag, but like them she demonstrates the fact that the beauty of poetry and music can be deceptive, hiding darker truths.36 Hers is a cautionary tale about why women needed to remain silent. 31

Karl Guthke, The Gender of Death: A Cultural History in Art and Literature (Cambridge, 1999), p.127. 32 See for example, Maclean, The Renaissance Notion of Woman, pp.15–18. 33 From the well-known anonymous text Speculum Humanae Salvationis (c.fourteenth century); quoted in Crowther, Adam and Eve, p.29. 34 Tasso, Gerusalemme liberata, stanza 86, p.120. 35 Tasso, The Liberation of Jerusalem, Canto IV, stanza 86, p.75. 36 Melinda Gough, ‘Tasso’s Enchantress, Tasso’s Captive Woman’, Renaissance Quarterly 54 (2001), 523–52 (524–5).

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Death and Transfiguration The corrupting power of Armida’s music – and, given Armida’s status as an icon of singing women, of women’s music more broadly – is further made clear by the parallels Tasso draws between the sorceress and her mythical forebears.37 Armida is closely associated with Circe and the Sirens, singing women whose attractiveness masks their malevolence and who use music to gain power over men, ultimately bestialising or even killing them.38 During the Renaissance, the myth of Circe was the prototype tale of animal hybrids and human transformations, used to exemplify monstrosity in a time fascinated with (un)natural curiosities.39 Sixteenth-century connections between lust, animality and the enchantress-singer Circe are crystallised in Giovanni della Porta’s Della fisionomia dell’uomo (On the Physiognomy of Man, 1610). Valerie Finucci points out that ‘Della Porta underscores the extent to which such identification [of the men] with the animal is to be understood as the decadent consequence of their seduction by Circe, whom he depicts herself as beastlike.’40 In other words, Tasso’s reference to Circe draws parallels between the two musical seductresses and the animality to which those in the grip of carnal passions inevitably succumb. Feminine music is dangerous because it has the potential to strip man of his human soul. According to early modern scientists, there were three types of soul: anima vegetativa, which allowed plants to grow; anima sensitiva, the animal soul, which added to the plant soul new layers of feeling and perceiving; and anima rationalis, the soul of the human, which incorporated elements of the other two souls but also included the ability to think and reason.41 The transformation of Odysseus’s companions into swine makes concrete the idea that through inciting lust, Circe and her music diminish men’s reason and, therefore, their humanity. Although the men at the Christian camp of Canto IV of Gerusalemme liberata remain men in the usual sense, Armida’s connections with Circe make clear that at a deeper level, the targets of her mass seduction have been dehumanised. As Francisco Arias warned in a 1602 treatise on spirituality: ‘For as Saint Augustine says, it is much more tolerable to hear a basilisk hiss than a woman sing, because the view of a basilisk kills the body, while the singing of a woman … kills the

37

Tasso, The Liberation of Jerusalem, Canto IV, stanza 86, p.75. As Judith Yarnall puts it, Alcina and Armida were both the ‘mythological descendants’ of Circe: Transformations of Circe: The History of an Enchantress (Urbana, 1994), p.146. 39 For instance, the English used the tale of Circe to denounce ‘Englished’ Italian works; as Joshua Reid points out, these ‘enchantments of Circe’ were thought to have ‘the power to transform the English into moral and aesthetic swine’. Joshua Reid, ‘The Enchantments of Circe: Translation Studies and the English Renaissance’, Spenser Review 44 (2014) www.english.cam.ac.uk/spenseronline/review/volume-44/441/ translation-studies/translation-studies-and-the-english-renaissance. Accessed 16/9/2015. 40 Juliana Schiesari, Beasts and Beauties: Gender and Domestication in the Italian Renaissance (Toronto, 2010), p.68. 41 Susanne Hehenberger, ‘Dehumanised Sinners and their Instruments of Sin: Men and Animals in Early Modern Bestiality Cases, Austria 1500–1800’, Early Modern Zoology: The Construction of Animals in Science, Literature and the Visual Arts, ed. Karel A.E. Enenkel and Paulus Johannes Smith, 2 vols (Leiden, 2007), vol.2, pp.381–418 (381). 38



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soul.’42 Armida’s many conquests, then, have lost their masculine power, authority, virtù, reason – and also their souls.43 In addition to linking his sorceress to Circe, Tasso also calls her a Siren, further exacerbating the associations between female music and danger.44 As Tasso would have known, the Sirens of classical antiquity do more than seduce – they also kill. Men, first made beast-like by the removal of their faculties of reason, may then die from the excess of sweet song. In early modern Italy this was thought to be literally true: lust and love became lovesickness, a deadly illness that caused the body to burn up, shrivel and die. Pierre Boiastuau summarised the popular view of lovesickness in his Theatrum Mundi (1566): I have seen anatomy made of some of those that have died of this malady, that had their bowels shrunk, their poor heart all burned, their liver and lights all vaded and consumed, their brains endomaged, and I think that their poor soul was burned by the vehement and excessive heat that they did endure, when that the rage of love had overcome them.45

Just as the mythical Sirens killed their victims, so too does Armida inflame them with lovesickness-unto-death. Her performance arouses love in the breasts of those who hear her, an emotion (or ‘passion’) that Tasso explains as deadly: Ahi crudo Amor, ch’egualmente n’ancide l’assenzio e ’l mel che tu fra noi dispensi, e d’ogni tempo egualmente mortali vengon da te le medicine e i mali!46 [Cruel Love! You bear our death in murderous vials filled now with gall, now with your honeyed treasure – equally fatal all that you ensure, whether it be the sickness or the cure.47]

In order to understand Tasso’s ‘Siren’, it is instructive to look back to another influential epic from the court of Ferrara that was composed at the turn of the sixteenth century, Matteo Boiardo’s Orlando innamorato (1494), which influenced the genesis of Gerusalemme liberata. The scene that depicts Orlando’s battle with the Siren is rich with allegorical meaning; most importantly, it carries the message 42

Francisco Arias, Profitto spirituale tr. dal commendatore fra G. Zanchini, 2 vols (1602), vol.2, p.396. 43 She envelops the men in a ‘double pleasure, / as if she tore their souls out’, making the men amenable to her desires and, as we have seen, reducing them to animal status. Tasso, The Liberation of Jerusalem, Canto IV, stanza 92, p.76. 44 Tasso, The Liberation of Jerusalem, Canto IV, stanza 86, p.75. 45 Pierre Boaistuau, Theatrum mundi, the Theatre or Rule of the World Wherein may be Seen the Running Race and Course of Every Man’s Life, as Touching Misery and Felicity, trans. John Alday (London, 1566), p.194. 46 Tasso, Gerusalemme liberata, Canto IV, stanza 92, p.122. 47 Tasso, The Liberation of Jerusalem, Canto IV, stanza 92, p.76.

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that beauty may be deceiving. Unlike the many bird-woman Sirens of classical antiquity, Boiardo’s creature is essentially mermaid-like, perhaps fortifying the connections between water and sin that were endemic in early modern thought:48 Non gionse il conte in su la ripa apena, Che cominciò quell’acqua a gorgoliare; Cantando venne a sommo la Sirena. Una donzella è quel che sopra appare, Ma quel che sotto l’acqua se dimena Tutto è di pesce e non si può mirare, Ché sta nel lago da la furca in gioso; E mostra il vago, e il brutto tiene ascoso.49 [The Count had hardly reached the bank when that pool gurgled. As she sang, a siren surfaced. What arose above the surface was a maiden, but what beneath the surface stayed was fish – invisible because her loins remained within the lake. She showed her form, yet hid her waist. She sang a song so pleasantly that birds and wild beasts flocked to hear, but when they reached her, instantly, that sweetness made them fall asleep.50]

Just as the Siren is dual, so too is her singing: the sweet music she uses to entrap Orlando is a thing of beauty, which conceals the metaphorical fishtail of its dangerousness. The sweetness (dolcezza) here is deadly.51 If she is true to her classical predecessors, this Siren wants more than to prey on Orlando sexually; she presumably wants him for lunch. The idea of the seductress eating her killings is a potent metaphor for female empowerment, as feeding has always been a means of inflating oneself – eating and killing are both a means of absorbing the life force of the other.52 48

The first fishtailed Sirens date from the eighth century ad. In Renaissance Italy, bathhouses were condemned by religious men as the watery equivalent of brothels; furthermore, water was seen as a corrupting influence, potentially leading to death. Sara F. Matthews Grieco, ‘The Body, Appearance and Sexuality’, A History of Women in the West: Renaissance and Enlightenment Paradoxes, ed. Natalie Zemon Davis and Arlette Farge (Cambridge, MA, 1993), pp.46–84 (48). 49 Matteo Boiardo, Orlando innamorato, ed. Aldo Scaglione (Turin, 1974), stanzas 36–7, pp.734–5. 50 Matteo Boiardo, Orlando in Love, trans. Charles Stanley Ross (Indiana, 2004), Book II, Canto IV, stanzas 36–7, p.281. 51 For a discussion of the negative connotations of dolcezza, see Richard Wistreich, Warrior, Courtier, Singer: Giulio Cesare Brancaccio and the Performance of Identity in the Late Renaissance (Aldershot, 2007), pp.267–8. 52 Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death (New York, 1973), p.98; James Calderwood, Shakespeare and the Denial of Death (Amherst, 1987), pp.17, 29–30.



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In the Western literary canon, women are not often portrayed in the act of eating precisely because the consumption of food is linked with authority.53 For the Siren, devouring any food would already assert her dominance, but the fact that she is a literal man-eater is even more deeply significant. As Freud would later point out, cannibalism is a form of possession, in which the gastronome assumes the properties of the victim, including social status.54 To eat Orlando, therefore, is to become Orlando. In singing to a man, then, the female here threatens to supplant him. The only way to defeat the Siren is to become literally deaf to her singing – Orlando fills his helmet with rose petals to stop any sound from reaching his ears, so that he can kill rather than be killed. Tasso would have used this Siren as a model for Armida and for ‘real’ Sirens of his own. Elsewhere in Gerusalemme liberata (Canto XV, stanza 57), Rinaldo’s friends encounter Sirens whose deceitful singing invites them to partake in the pleasures of the flesh: ‘Ecco il fonte del riso, ed ecco il rio che mortali perigli in sè contiene. Or qui tener a fren nostro desio ed esser cauti molto a noi conviene: chiudiam l’orecchie al dolce canto e rio di queste del piacer false sirene, così n’andrem fin dove il fiume vago si spande in maggior letto e forma un lago.’55 [‘Behold the Laughing Spring,’ they cried, ‘behold the stream where peril spreads a deadly gin. Now must we keep wills bridled and controlled, and be most watchful how we venture in. Let us shut up our ears, nor be cajoled by these false Sirens’ songs of joy and sin. So shall we come where the stream’s windings make a wider bed and spread to form a lake.56]

Like Boiardo’s Orlando and Odysseus himself, Tasso’s knights must stop their ears to the sound of the women’s singing if they are to survive. It can be argued that the Sirens, who would symbolically castrate men through decapitation, embody a real 53

For a discussion of the symbolic meanings of eating, and of the lack of literary representations of women eating in Western literature, see Emma Parker, ‘You Are What You Eat: The Politics of Eating in the Novels of Margaret Atwood’, Twentieth Century Literature 41 (1995), 349–69 (349). 54 Sigmund Freud, Totem and Taboo: Resemblances Between the Psychic Lives of Savages and Neurotics, trans. A.A. Brill (New York, 2012), p.107. In the psychology of death denial in the tradition of Ernst Becker, ‘to kill your enemy is to consume him. The object of such consumption is not … to fill your belly with food but to enlarge your soul with mana, to recharge your spiritual batteries with your enemy’s vital principle.’ Calderwood, Shakespeare and the Denial of Death, p.18. 55 Tasso, Gerusalemme liberata, Canto XV, stanza 57, pp.463–4. 56 Tasso, The Liberation of Jerusalem, Canto XV, stanza 57, p.283.

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castration anxiety that was provoked by early modern singing women; but the fear of emasculation was not the deepest anxiety. It is no coincidence that Tasso’s Sirens, Armida and Boiardo’s fish-woman hybrid in the Innamorato are three prominent examples among the many instances of Renaissance poetic depictions of singing women who wished to bring death on their male targets (and sometimes succeeded). That stories of singing women repeatedly warn of dangers suggests that these same women were censured because on a deeper level their voices provoked anxiety about death: as the psychologist Ernest Becker put it, ‘sex is of the body, and the body is of death’.57 Their connection with sex meant that singing women became reminders of mortality; women’s embodied voices produced physical effects in the world around them, acting on the minds and bodies of their listeners in ways that invoked animal instincts and thus the fear of death. Although it has been convincingly argued that the denial of death was strong in early modern Europe, singing women like Armida and her real-life counterparts brought with them the unwanted realisation of the basic existential fact that man is ‘out of nature and hopelessly in it … dual, up in the stars and yet housed in a heart-pumping, breath-gasping body’.58 One day, the body that listened and was aroused would be, to borrow Shakespeare’s phrase, ‘dead and turn’d to clay/Might stop a hole to keep the wind away.’59 The sixteenth century was a time of increased preoccupation with death, so it makes sense that the anxieties surrounding women’s music should likewise escalate.60

Dangers at Court In 1580, Tasso was in the midst of revising and publishing the section of Gerusalemme liberata in which the Sirens appear; at around the same time, he penned a poem addressed and dedicated to a courtier and singer named Giulio Cesare Brancaccio, who on occasion joined the ladies of the concerto delle donne in performance.61 As Richard Wistreich has pointed out, this poem exactly mirrors Canto XVI of Gerusalemme liberata; at times even the choice of wording is uncannily similar.62 The poem, ‘A Giulio Cesare Brancaccio per il concerto de le dame da la corte di Ferrara’ (Le rime, vol.3, no.717), is significant in that it portrays the real-life singers of the concerto using mythical tropes. Tasso’s reconstitution of his own earlier text to portray real women in the process of real singing, demonstrates the extent to which myth-infused poetry could reveal ideas about the real world and construct its perception. In ‘A Giulio Cesare’, Tasso warned his friend against the ‘mad pleasures and feminine wiles’63 which threatened to ensnare him as he – like many other courtiers – listened to the sweet voices of the donne: 57

Becker, The Denial of Death, p.162. Ibid., p.26. 59 William Shakespeare, Hamlet, ed. T.J.B. Spencer (London, 2005), Act V, Scene 1, lines 213–14, p.127. 60 See Guthke, The Gender of Death, pp.44–5. 61 Brancaccio was a famous bass, though he preferred to be recognised first and foremost as a warrior, not a musician, for reasons of masculine honour. 62 See Wistriech, Warrior, Courtier, Singer, p.271. 63 Translation quoted in Wistriech, Warrior, Courtier, Singer, p.269. 58



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Signore, Amor t’ha colto tra novelle sirene, quai non so s’udir mai le nostre arene, gli orecchi al suon, deh, chiudi ed apri gli occhi al sonno.64 [Sir, Love has surprised you among sirens hitherto unknown, such as I do not know our sands have ever heard; close, I say, close your ears to the sound and open your eyes to the [danger of lethal] sleep.65]

This passage is indeed astoundingly evocative of the Gerusalemme liberata text; however ‘virtuous’ they may be, the women of the concerto delle donne are still overtly identified with the deadliest, most vicious, singing creatures in mythology. Further, they collectively sing the part of Eros himself. The poem is primarily a re-imagining of the myth of Phoebus (Apollo), Amor and Daphne;66 in the myth, Apollo taunts Cupid, saying he is too young to handle ‘a man’s weapons’,67 causing Cupid to retaliate by piercing Apollo with one of his arrows, thereby making him fall in love with the nymph Daphne. ‘A Giulio Cesare’ is therefore a kind of meta-fiction, telling the story of Brancaccio and the lady singers as they themselves re-tell the myth with all its nested references. While Brancaccio sings the part of Apollo, the ladies – the chaste Anna Guarini and Laura Peverara – together sing as Amor. Tasso uses the poem to urge Brancaccio, the second Apollo, not to lose the conflict with Eros, and suggests that the only way he can ensure his victory is by winning the singing contest, effectively overpowering the women’s voices using his own singing to make himself deaf to them: i sensi vaghi, il cor circonda de la dolcezza del tuo proprio canto: ch’a dolcezza esterna ti farà quasi sordo al suo diletto, novo Narciso al suon, non a l’aspetto. [compass round your errant senses, surround your heart with the sweetness of your singing; for this to that sweetness that comes from without will make you as if deaf to its delight, a new Narcissus at the sound, not at the sight.68] 64

Torquato Tasso, Le rime di Torquato Tasso: Rime d’occasione o d’encomio, ed. Angelo Solerti, 3 vols (Romagnoli dall’Acqua, 1900), vol.3, p.272. 65 Translation quoted in Wistriech, Warrior, Courtier, Singer, p.269. 66 Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book I, lines 470–601, pp.18–22. 67 Ibid., Book I, line 475, p.18. 68 Tasso, Le rime, ed. Solerti, vol.3, pp.270–2. Quoted with translation in Wistriech, Warrior, Courtier, Singer, p.268.

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Here, as in the pastoral text by Sannazaro examined earlier, women’s voices are annihilated; however, unlike Sannazaro, Tasso unambiguously states the reason: the male listener may listen only at his peril. Tasso’s reinvention of Ovid makes explicit the connections between Apollo, masculinity and rationality on the one hand, and Amor, femininity and irrationality on the other. The singing competition is effectively therefore reason versus lust, and if Brancaccio/Apollo wins it, he will remain an upright soldier. If he loses, he will become weak and feminine; he will have succumbed to the lure of the Sirens without stopping his ears, and the ultimate price he may have to pay is death.

Empowerment Yet what of the real women who sang? There may have been dangers, but ladies who sang during the Renaissance were ultimately able to acquire wealth, social standing and at least some degree of control over the men around them. Through music, women were able to seduce, thus gaining power even within the confines of a strict, patriarchal society. As Tomaso Garzoni put it in his La piazza universale di tutte le professioni del mondo (1589), ‘Where do you think such songs, dances, jokes, parties, and so on come from, but from the desire to seduce with angelic soprano voice and attract with divine sounds of harpsichord and lute.’69 In 1588, Pope Sixtus V issued a ban forbidding women from performing in Rome. In the Italian Cinquecento, to be female and sing meant to be empowered. Returning to the myth of the nightingale, we can see some of the ways in which women used music to liberate themselves. Three notable female poet-singers of the Italian Renaissance used the story of Philomela as part of their self-expression, blending their own voices with that of the nightingale in verses that described their emotions or even singing, and categorically denying the male plea that women should be seen and not heard. Perhaps the most striking treatment of the myth comes from the pen of the Venetian courtesan Tullia d’Aragona (c.1510–56), who compares her newfound freedom from the bonds of love to the liberty of the songbird. D’Aragona uses the nightingale as an emblem of her freedom from male domination. Philomela has fled Tereus, who would put a stop to her music, and d’Aragona has run from her lover and master. Neither woman is now subjected to the will of a male other; instead they are both autonomous, free to give voice to anything they choose. Qual vaga Philomena, che fuggita E da la odiata gabbia, et in superba Vista sen’va tra gli arboscelli, et l’herba Tornata in libertate, e in lieta vita; Er’io da gli amorosi lacci uscita Schernendo ogni martire, et pena acerba De l’incredibil duol, ch’in se riserba Qual ha per troppo amar l’alma smarrita.70 69

Tomaso Garzoni da Banacavallo, La piazza universale di tutte le professioni del mondo (Venice, 1589), p.605. Translation quoted in Gordon, ‘The Courtesan’s Singing Body’, p.185. 70 Jones, ‘New Songs’, p.273.



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[The lovely Philomela, escaped From the hated cage, looks splendid As she darts among the trees and greenery, Returned to liberty and a happy life. I, too, from amorous ties Was freed, scoffing at the torment and bitter pain Of the unbelievable grief that is reserved for one Who has, for loving too much, lost her soul.71]

Like many courtesans, d’Aragona used singing to entrap male desire and, therefore, clients. By identifying herself with the nightingale she is referring to her own particular fame as a singer; she kept a library of music books and was especially well known for her sight-singing prowess.72 Just as the transformed Philomela’s singing voice finally told the world of her story, empowering her once and for all, so too was d’Aragona’s singing voice crucial to her sovereignty; like Philomela, she was a self-directed subject defined by her music-making. In a portrait of d’Aragona by Moretto da Brescia, the courtesan-poet is identified by the Latin inscription as Salome, ‘Quae Sacro Ioannis/Caput Saltando/Obtinit’ (She who dancing obtained the head of St John).73 D’Aragona would have been familiar with the Renaissance retellings of the biblical narrative, where Salome dances her way to complete control over her stepfather the king, eventually gaining half a kingdom and being granted her wish to be given St John the Baptist’s head on a platter. If d’Aragona had any choice in her portrayal, which seems likely, she consciously aligned herself to a woman who used the performing arts to overthrow male power. By contrast, the treatment accorded to the myth of Philomela by Gaspara Stampa (1523–54) is an empathetic response to the sorrow felt by the nightingale and her sister, in which the poet self-identifies as a member of the group of women harmed by men. Whereas Tereus raped and silenced Philomela, Stampa’s beloved Count has caused her similar pain in abandoning her: Cantate meco, Progne e Filomena, anzi piangete il mio grave martìre; or che la Primavera e’l suo fiorire, i miei lamenti, e voi tornando mena. A voi rinova la memoria, e pena de l’onta di Tereo, e le giust’ire, e me l’acerbo, et crudo dipartire del mio Signore morte empia rimena.74 71

Translation quoted in Irma B. Jaffe, Shining Eyes, Cruel Fortune: The Lives and Loves of Italian Renaissance Women Poets (New York, 2002), p.87. 72 Virginia Cox, Lyric Poetry by Women of the Italian Renaissance (Baltimore, 2013), p.88; Courtney Quaintance, Textual Masculinity and the Exchange of Women in Renaissance Venice (Toronto, 2015), p.143. 73 Moretto da Brescia, Portrait of Tullia d’Aragona as Salome, c.1537, Pinacoteca Tosio Martinengo, Brescia. Jaffe, Shining Eyes, Cruel Fortune, p.82. 74 Gaspara Stampa, Rime, ed. C.R. Ceriello (Milan, 1976), no.173, lines 1–8, p.178.

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[Procne and Philomena, sing with me, or better, weep: weep for my suffering now that spring returns in its flourishing to usher in my laments, and you, for whom the season renews the memory and pain of your just wrath and Tereus’s shame; for me, the cruel and bitter parting of my lord brings with it only evil death.75]

In direct contrast to Sannazaro’s silencing of the women’s complaints, then, Stampa begs the bird-women to sing along with her. What emerges is effectively a women’s chorus of suffering, in which the female voices support each other in deploring masculine behaviour. Veronica Franco (1546–91), another Venetian courtesan, similarly used the imagery of the female nightingale and swallow to lament the cruelty of a male beloved; here, the birds harmonise Franco’s ‘sad melody’, singing along, presumably in counterpoint, in order to express their mutual anguish. In each case, the female chorus emphasises the experience of pain within the women’s communal, subjective, emotional world, and implicitly or explicitly cites male wrongdoing as the cause of their shared suffering: da le loro spelunche uscite fuora, piansero fin le tigri del mio pianto e del martir che m’ancide e m’accora; e Progne e Filomena il tristo canto accompagnaron de le mie parole, facendomi tenor dí e notte intanto.76 [Coming out of their secret lairs, even tigers wept at my weeping and the mortal pain that stabs my heart. And Procne and Philomela joined in with my sad melody and words, singing in harmony both day and night.77]

Even with all her associations of violence, lust and death, the (female) symbol of music that is the nightingale thus also becomes the symbol of women’s liberation in the poetry of the singing women. Whether, like Philomela, they escaped the cage of patriarchal confinement, or they used the bird in a conscious gesture of feminine self-expression, these female poets demonstrated that music was empowering to them; it was, after all, a tool that allowed them to gain control over men. 75

Gaspara Stampa, The Complete Poems: The 1554 Edition of the “Rime,” a Bilingual Edition, ed. Troy Tower and Jane Tylus, trans. Jane Tylus (Chicago, 2010), p.213. 76 Veronica Franco, Poems and Selected Letters, ed. Ann Rosalind Jones and Margaret F. Rosenthal (Chicago, 1998), p.72. 77 Ibid., p.73.



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Their representations of women’s singing were in direct contrast to the treatment afforded the subject by their male contemporaries. Just as music gave women new power, so too it disempowered men. Viewed in the context of tales from epic poetry, female musical performance in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries appears in a disquieting light. In reality as in fiction, women and their music were a hazard both to men as individuals and to the male-dominated structure of society – as in Armida’s conquest of the Christian army through song and seduction. No matter how innocent, ladies’ songs had the power to overcome reason and thus to undermine masculine authority and identity. In addition, stories about female singing reflected widespread anxiety over the power of music to transform its audiences, whether for better or for worse. Music may have triggered a fear of emasculation in its male audiences, but also – like Armida and the Sirens – real-life singing women threatened not only bestialisation and symbolic castration, but death. Just as the singing nightingale-woman Philomela was a figure of terror for overthrowing her abuser and conspiring to murder his son, so too were singing women of the Renaissance feared for their ability to upset the masculine balance of power, and so too was the music they sang – in all its feminine sweetness – deadly.

vi myth and music as forms of knowledge

12

‘Fantastic Spirits’: Myth and Satire in the Ayres of Thomas Weelkes Katie Bank

I

n 1640, the bishop and writer Edward Reynolds wrote that God gave us ‘musical, poetical, and mythological persuasions’ to arouse our imaginations, with an end to teach and moralise. He saw music, poetry and myth as means to make lofty spiritual matters tangible to mortals, as these three fictions ‘best affect the imagination’. He justified this in biblical terms, explaining: we find some room in the Holy Scriptures for mythologies; as that of the vine, the fig-tree, and the bramble, for riddles, for parables, similitudes … whereby heavenly doctrines are shadowed forth, and do condescend unto human frailties.1

He described how these arts functioned in subtle ways by ‘secretly instilling [morality] into the will, that it might at last find itself reformed, and yet [we] hardly perceive how it came to be so’.2 Reynolds explained that imagination worked to ‘open and unbind the thoughts’, as imagination is freer than the ‘rigor and strictness’ of reason or the ‘severity of truth’.3 Like many of his contemporaries, Reynolds upheld an essentially Aristotelian approach to the arts, maintaining that as long as music, poetry and myth worked to teach us virtue, these imitative, metaphoric arts were worthy pursuits.4 Whether a force for gaining knowledge or for deception, myth, music and poetry were thought to be the key modes for accessing and stimulating imagination, the internal sense responsible for feigning reality. This chapter considers three case studies from Thomas Weelkes’s Ayres or Fantastic Spirits (1608), in which established tropes of music, poetry and mythology are manipulated to satirical ends, as both satire and mythologies were contemporarily understood as discursive processes related to truth. Myth, for example, was a highly metaphorical form, and therefore allowed authors to use its tropes as a ‘palette’ to veil and colour a variety of themes, often topical, political, erotic or of 1

Edward Reynolds, A Treatise of the Passions and Faculties of the Soul of Man (London, 1640), sig.D3r. 2 Ibid. 3 Ibid., sig.D4v. 4 William Webbe used pastoral justifications to support the arts by stating: ‘If that the shepherds’ god did merit praise’, then ‘Why should the fear of base detraction / Bury thy art in black oblivion?’: Thomas Greaves, Songs of Sundry Kinds (1604), sig.A3v.

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religious and moral allegory.5 Eero Tarasti reports, ‘there is no doubt that the main cultural function of mythology is the establishment of precedent, the vindication of the truth of magic, of the binding forces of morality and law, and the real value of religious ritual by referring to events which have occurred in a dim past, in the Golden Age’.6 One might argue that mythologies and pastorals, by rooting present behaviour in an ahistorical past, urge people to question the nature of knowledge through self-examination. Giuseppe Gerbino suggests that in the fantasy experienced through pastoral, ‘the real issue is not self-deception, but self-representation. Pastoral did not offer an easy way out from oneself; but a symbolic space within which to play oneself.’7 Satire, too, forces the hearer to contemplate the relationship between reality and fiction, and moreover satire also serves a common function with myth, as both are fictions that create spaces of ambiguity in which subjects could engage in significant and challenging discourses. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the half-goat, half-man Arcadian Satyr made a common appearance in madrigalian texts, and was sometimes confused with ‘satire’, as they were often spelled interchangeably.8 The examples under consideration in this chapter reveal how music, myth and satire could work together to probe early modern awareness of the self, a process that not only reflected, but also contributed to contemporary conceptions of truth.

Approaches to Satire and Myth Contemporary writers believed that satire worked to reveal knowledge, or, in Everard Gulpin’s words from 1598, to ‘speak the truth’.9 As satire is often entertaining, it is also ‘veiled’, speaking truth, but not too directly. Moreover, it was noted that satire was often reliant on the performer’s delivery. Henry Peacham pointed out in 1577 that appropriate performance was crucial to satirical uptake. He explained that ‘ironia’ is: when a sentence is understood by the contrary, or thus, when our meaning is contrary to our saying, not so well perceived by the words, as either by the pro 5

Many of the English domestic music books published in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries are of an explicitly pastoral nature, rife with figures from classical myth, skipping nymphs, kissing shepherds, fields of daisies – the pleasures of ‘the simple life’ that is ‘remembered’ in a perceived past that exists not in history, but in the mind. Joseph Kerman, The Elizabethan Madrigal: A Comparative Study ([s.l.], 1962), p.200; Laurence Lerner, The Uses of Nostalgia: Studies in Pastoral Poetry (London, 1972), p.41. 6 Eero Tarasti, Myth and Music: A Semiotic Approach to the Aesthetics of Myth in Music, Especially that of Wagner, Sibelius and Stravinsky (The Hague, 1979), p.17. 7 Giuseppe Gerbino, Music and the Myth of Arcadia in Renaissance Italy (Cambridge, 2009), pp.4–5. 8 It is for this reason that in Greek drama Satyrs are often the characters attributed with giving satirical speeches. Oxford English Dictionary, ‘satyr, n.’, OED Online www.oed. com/view/Entry/171301. Accessed 24/6/2014. 9 ‘Satyre Preludium’, line 76 in Everard Gulpin, Skialetheia or A Shadow of Truth, in Certain Epigrams and Satires, ed. D. Allen Carroll (Chapel Hill, 1974), p.61.



Myth and Satire in the Ayres of Thomas Weelkes 209

nunciation, by the behaviour of the person, or by the nature of the thing … By this figure we do forbid by a mocking grant, and command by a frumping forbidding, and also commend that, that is worthy of dispraise, and dispraise that, that is worthy of high commendation.10

Particularly in sarcastic or ‘deadpan’ performance, the true meaning of words is unclear until the ‘behaviour of a person’ imbues the text with satirical meaning, ready for uptake by the savvy hearer. One can imagine how mythologies made a particularly apt vehicle for satirical discourse, as both worked to reveal ‘hidden’ truths. George Puttenham wrote in The Art of English Poesy (1589) that pastoral verse was devised by men who saw its powerful function as a means to change behaviour: ‘but under the veil of homely persons … these Eclogues came after to contain and inform moral discipline, for the amendment of man’s behaviour, as be those of Mantuan and other modern poets’.11 Puttenham believed that when the passions were moved by myth, they could motivate tangible change within a person. Moreover, mythologies held a central place in the theories on knowledge of natural philosophers like Francis Bacon. Bacon liberally employed myth and fable in his philosophical writings, thereby demonstrating his belief that fictions reflected truths of nature.12 Furthermore, it is Diana Altegoer’s belief that ‘this intellectualising of myth proved to be Bacon’s greatest influence on subsequent philosophers’,13 and although he shows some inconsistency in his approach to myth, by De sapientia veterum (1609) he is ‘firmly convinced that the veil or dense mist of fable facilitates the modern advancement of learning’.14 Eero Tarasti explains that mythologies ‘signify a sacred, traditional knowledge, a primitive belief, which naturally prompts one to ask the nature of this knowledge and belief ’.15 It makes sense, then, that mythological tropes provide a suitable mode of dialogue for furthering the nature of knowledge. Gerbino knows that ‘music played a fundamental role in the construction and preservation of this collective illusion’ known as Arcadia.16 But as I argue in this chapter, it appears possible that 10

Henry Peacham, The Garden of Eloquence (London, 1577), sig. D2r. George Puttenham, The Art of English Poesy Contrived into Three Books (London, 1589), sig.F4v. Though the pastoral mode is a literary, scholarly and artistic force wholly its own, for this chapter, the use of the pastoral is in terms of the mythological figures it commonly employed, like Cupid, Diana, nymphs, etc. Therefore, I will be using theory from myth and the pastoral interchangeably, though I acknowledge there are nuances that differentiate their histories. Richard Andrews suggests that characters from classical mythology infiltrated pastoral drama by 1500, a period which saw an increase in texts that mingled the two traditions. Richard Andrews, ‘Theatre’, The Cambridge History of Italian Literature, ed. Peter Brand and Lino Pertile (Cambridge, 1996), pp.277–98 (292). Eclogues are the mythological, pastoral works by the poet Virgil. Puttenham, The Art of English Poesy, sig.F4r. 12 Diana Altegoer, Reckoning Words: Baconian Science and the Construction of Truth in English Renaissance Culture (Madison, NJ, 2000), p.14. 13 Ibid., p.23. 14 Ibid., p.80. 15 Tarasti, Myth and Music, p.18. 16 Gerbino, Music and the Myth of Arcadia, p.1.

11

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music, too, might have been altered by this significant affiliation with the mythical. Tarasti argues that ‘myth and music constitute two forms of discourse which are closely related’.17 He suspects that ‘there are compositions wherein only the code of myth is reconstructed’ as ‘the influence of myth upon music is … ascertainable in the stylistic features of musical discourse’.18 One challenge for Tarasti, who is looking primarily at the music of Strauss and Wagner, is that ‘in order to see how musical thematics are involved in the mythical, one must find several musical realizations of the same myth or sufficiently similar myths’.19 This is not much of a challenge in English domestic genres. A simple ballett-like ‘fa-la’ or a word-painted ‘aye me’ acts as a signifier that might as well invoke Diana and her train of dancing nymphs.20 Tarasti hypothesises that because music ‘possesses a formal world, history and rules of its own … in the hands of myth it acquires a new function and its original properties are put in “brackets” because its only task now is to support the mythical meaning and content’.21 To this end, he concludes that ‘music in some cases could entirely replace a mythical text’,22 suggesting that because music is like language without semantic meaning, the notes could indeed detach themselves from their verbal foundation, while retaining myth’s cultural function.23 In the following case studies, I examine how the domestic genres’ dynamic partnership with the mythological influenced textual and musical meaning through compositional tropes, particularly as texts evolved away from strictly pastoral topics. Edmund Fellowes believed that Weelkes’s 1608 collection contained specific pieces of ‘political or topical meaning, the explanation of which has been lost’, which were then ‘aptly styled by the composer [as a song form called] Fantastic Spirits’.24 If Fellowes is right, then there is no structural difference between ‘ayres’ and ‘spirits’ in musical terms, the distinction is in the poetic content (if there even is a conscious distinction at all). It seems curious, however, that Weelkes would name his topical pieces, those with real-world inspirations, ‘fantastic spirits’, as the reverse seems more logical.25 It is clear, however, that the deeply embedded 17

Tarasti, Myth and Music, p.11. Ibid., pp.15–16. 19 Ibid., p.16. 20 For more on signifiers, see: Tarasti, Myth and Music, p.75. Though Tarasti’s theories rely primarily on, in Nicholas Cook’s words, ‘terms which maintain the underlying values of formalism’, I still find his analysis useful even though I embrace diverse phenomena of musical meaning. Nicholas Cook, ‘Theorizing Musical Meaning,’ Music Theory Spectrum 23 (2001), 170–95 (174). 21 Tarasti, Myth and Music, p.27. 22 Ibid., p.30. 23 Tarasti argues that such ‘transfer of structures from the area of one to that of the other is based on the fact that myth and music as discourses have similar functions, as a result of which they can, in certain cases, substitute for each other’. Ibid., p.33. 24 Thomas Weelkes, Airs, or, Fantastic Spirits (1608), ed. Edmund Fellowes and Thurston Dart, English Madrigalists 13 (London, 1965), p.iii. 25 This is the only instance of a musical ‘spirit’ according to the Oxford English Dictionary. See definition IV. 15. (d.) in Oxford English Dictionary, ‘spirit, n.’, OED Online www.oed. com/view/Entry/186867. Accessed 18/4/2016. 18



Myth and Satire in the Ayres of Thomas Weelkes 211

connection between music and myth in this genre allowed for meaningful conversation to occur through both the presentation and absence of formal and poetic tropes.

‘Ha Ha! This World doth Pass’ In the three case studies addressed here, Thomas Weelkes and his anonymous text authors do not completely do away with textual inference to traditional mythology, but in each instance the classical pastoral is in some way perverted, indicating that appearances may prove more complex than they are immediately presented. In Weelkes’s ‘Ha Ha! This World doth Pass’, the composer set a seemingly whimsical text to a seemingly whimsical tune: Ha ha, ha ha, this world doth pass, most merrily I be sworn, for many an honest Indian ass goes for a unicorn, farra diddle diddle dino, this is idle fino. Tee hee, tee hee, O sweet delight, he tickles this age that can, call Tully’s ape a marmasite. And Leda’s goose a swan, Fara diddle deyno, this is idle fino. So, so, so, so, fine English days, for false play is no reproach, for he that doth the coachman praise, may safely use the coach, fara diddle deyno, this is idle fino.26

On first examination, the poem appears to be a silly, strophic ditty without much interpretative potential. Indeed, multiple modern readers have called this text ‘nonsense’.27 The poem juxtaposes objects from the New World with classical mythology: Leda and Tullia are both characters stemming from Greek myth and they appear in company with marmosets, Indian asses, as well as the ever-­

26

Thomas Weelkes, ‘Ha Ha! This World doth Pass’, Ayres or Fantastic Spirits (London, 1608), sig.D2r. 27 Though outside the scope of this study, it is worth considering that just because the syllables are ‘nonsense’ does not mean they do not have meaning. See Christopher Wilson, ‘Reviewed Work: English Renaissance Song by Edward Doughtie’, Music and Letters 68 (1987), 266–8 (267).

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ambiguous unicorn, all figures with equivocally mythical and real origin.28 Yet the irony of Weelkes’s capricious setting is substantial. When read literally, the text may come across as nonsensical, though perhaps amusing in its social commentary, and the musical setting appears to support this.29 Though the music is strophic (with the repeated refrain of ‘Faradiddle’), the music’s word-painting works well on all three strophes of text, a rare occurrence in this repertoire. In spite of the strophic form, however, ‘Ha Ha’ manages to accommodate both overt word-painting and multiple verses. To do this, the poet has opened all three verses with laughing pseudo non-lexical vocables (ha ha, ha ha/tee hee, tee hee/so, so, so, so), the effect of which is exaggerated by the musical setting which repeats them even more, to almost ridiculous effect (see Example 12.1). The music begins with slow rhythms including hocket-like staggered entries, doubling the frequency of each iteration within the first three bars, and culminating in successive crotchets. After this opening sequence, the song falls into a dance-like sense of three, which continues for most of the piece in relative homophony, making the text clearly audible. The ‘faradiddle’ refrain may be an indication that whoever wrote the text intended it for musical setting, and perhaps it was with that in mind that they wrote a text that worked well for a strophic, yet still word-painted, setting. The close connection between truth and deception lies at the heart of the ‘Ha Ha’ poem, and the self-conscious musical setting amplifies this haziness yet further. The overall musical effect of the madrigalised laughter, skipping rhythms, major mode and transparent homophonic writing may initially give the impression of a more stereotypical pastoral English work. Yet in conjunction with the pointed words, these self-conscious musical features lack sincerity. Though the music laughs along with the text, the message of the poem is darkly cynical. When interpreted as a piece of irony, a different impression emerges, which highlights the sceptical environment in which ‘false play is no reproach’, a place where there are neither consequences for deception, nor rewards for honesty. The text notes the role of the gullible as well as that of the scammer, as it takes two to sell a donkey for a unicorn. As the onlooker watches life, and all its falsities, he cannot help but chuckle to himself. Objects from the New World are somehow portrayed as more ‘real’ than the ones from myth – but also more mundane than the vivid English imagination might desire. 28

When Marco Polo first beheld a rhinoceros in the late thirteenth century, he lacked the relevant terminology to describe the animals to people back in Europe who had not seen one themselves. Naturally, he turned to analogy and likened the animal to buffalo, elephant and boar, and called it a Unicorn. Of course, what we know a rhinoceros to look like now is not exactly the beautiful horse-like stallion with a goat’s beard, pearlwhite mane, and a single spiralled horn as depicted in Dominico Zampieri’s 1604 fresco Virgin and Unicorn. The Unicorn can be viewed as a symbol of the ambiguity between myth and ‘reality’ witnessed by travellers. Jonathan Sell, Rhetoric and Wonder in English Travel Writing, 1560–1613 (Aldershot, 2006), p.3. 29 Fellowes believed this was ‘undoubtedly’ a political text, and I would agree that certain figures, particularly ‘the Coachman’, could possibly reference a specific political or social figure. There is possible sexual innuendo with this figure as well, as the Coachman is the one who ‘drives’ and ‘whips’ the horses. Gordon Williams, A Dictionary of Sexual Language and Imagery in Shakespearean and Stuart Literature, 3 vols (London, 1994), pp.416 and 1519; Weelkes, Airs or, Fantastic Spirits, ed. Fellowes and Dart, p.xvi.

Myth and Satire in the Ayres of Thomas Weelkes 213



Ex. 12.1  Thomas Weelkes, ‘Ha Ha’, Ayres and Fantastic Spirits (London, 1608), bars 1–5, transcribed by Francis Bevan Cantus

      



      











Ha

Tenor

Bassus

        

      3

ha ha ha

   

ha

 ha



this world





this world





this world

  



      

 

ha ha ha ha ha ha

ha

ha ha

Ha



  

ha ha





Ha

  

      

  

         ha ha ha ha

ha ha ha

ha ha

ha ha ha ha ha

ha ha ha

ha ha

      



      



pass most mer - ri - ly, most mer - ri - ly

I'll

be

 I'll





pass most mer - ri - ly, most mer - ri - ly

doth

pass most mer - ri - ly, most mer - ri - ly

 doth

 doth

  

  

      

be

   I

will be

Moreover, the text is ironically self-aware, as the first way the poet justifies his truth claims is with ‘I’ll be sworn’, the very sort of self-testament of truth that he is criticising. Kingsley Amis, editor of The New Oxford Book of English Light Verse (1978), thought that the fourth line of the second stanza implies one ‘call Audrey’s goose Leda’s swan’, and this was just a poorly worded poem.30 Edward Doughtie is correct in criticising Amis for this assumption, asserting that ‘the poet is merely citing another example of flattery, and that what we call Leda’s swan was always a goose’.31 Yet Doughtie is still underestimating the poem in assuming that the text is simply a ‘satire on flattery’, as it has a much heftier subject of ironic criticism, manipulation and false representation.32 Taking this a step further, one might suggest that the poet was not only correct in ordering the phrase ‘Leda’s goose a swan’, establishing that the object has always been just a goose, but also that this stanza questions a more general reliance on mythological truths. The text’s scepticism works like a pin, popping the bubble of the Golden Age, thereby revealing an uglier truth (a goose), a motion that suggests doubt in myth’s authority as the ideal past. The criticism of this text is both self-conscious and divided, in that it is denouncing misrepresentation through myth and via the ayre, a musical form often allied with mythology. The setting recognises myth’s capacity as a medium of delusion and fantasy, as well as music’s role in supporting that delusion. 30

Kingsley Amis, ed., The New Oxford Book of Light Verse (Oxford, 1978), p.x. Edward Doughtie, English Renaissance Song (Boston, 1986), p.107. 32 Ibid. 31

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The musical form adds to textual meaning as the ironic criticism relies on the ayre’s established relationship with mythology. To this effect, Weelkes’s chirpy setting adds a further layer of false impression to poetic meaning, one that thrives on the ironic use of expected musical tropes, rather than sincere representation. Julian Johnson defines musical irony as the process through which ‘the expected sense of the music’ is then ‘inverted by presenting familiar conventions of a genre (waltz, march) but conspicuously deformed’.33 Consequently, ‘the powerful expressive effect arises from cognitive dissonance of normative meaning in a non-normative context’.34 The cheerful and sprightly musical setting of this ayre enhances a contrast already hinted at in the poem alone, one that juxtaposes the ostensibly carefree musical presentation of the text with the actual message of the poem, one wary of manipulation and deception in modern life. Through a word-painted yet strophic setting, Weelkes’s composition drives home the eeriness in the poem, a feeling of redundancy in a world of human nature that does not change. The repetitive, strophic setting emphasises the incongruity between the poem’s meaning and its outward appearance, as the music remains unmoved with each verse in spite of textual alterations. Johnson concludes: The authorial interruption of the music’s formal and grammatical logic inscribes the presence of a divided self-consciousness, one that both creates the work and, at the same time, underlines its own awareness of the fictive and constructive nature of that creation.35

Moreover, he supposes that ‘the significance of this far exceeds questions of musical style or familiar accounts of idiosyncratic composers “playing” with musical conventions’.36 Though this work is from Ayres or Fantastic Spirits, the fantasy lies not in the realistic representation of a fantastic mythological text, as one might expect from a typical example from the genre, but rather through the satirical exposure of an uncertain reality in a dubious world. Perhaps the ‘ha ha’ laughs are a version of what Gilbert Highet calls ‘the happy perception of incongruity’ between appearances and meaning, as ‘the satirist, though he laughs, tells the truth’.37

‘Since Robin Hood’ Though ostensibly a short ditty about a folktale, ‘Since Robin Hood’ is not a piece about Robin Hood at all, but a more general rejection of idealised heroes and fondly remembered traditions in favour of commercial gain. Perhaps local folklore somehow appears more rooted in reality than Greek mythology, but the pastoral affiliations were similar.38 Topically, it is perhaps no coincidence that Weelkes’s 33

Julian Johnson, ‘Irony’, Aesthetics of Music: Musicological Perspectives, ed. Stephen Downes (Abingdon, 2014), pp.239–58 (239). 34 Ibid. 35 Ibid., p.257. 36 Ibid. 37 One of the author’s explanations of ‘parody’. Gilbert Highet, An Anatomy of Satire (London; Princeton, 1962), pp.67 and 234. 38 Figures and tropes like shepherds, Diana and Cupid are common to both modes.



Myth and Satire in the Ayres of Thomas Weelkes 215

‘Since Robin Hood’ follows ‘Ha Ha’ in Weelkes’s 1608 collection, as the cynicism about ‘modern’ life continues in this setting. Though there are plenty of secular songs that question or show wariness of contemporary life (particularly by Byrd, Carlton and even Weelkes), usually these are paired with minor modes and longer rhythms that are, in Byrd’s words, ‘framed to the life of the words’.39 In ‘Since Robin Hood’, however, Weelkes’s setting uses musical contrast to highlight textual irony:40 Since Robin Hood, Maid Marian, and Little John are gone-a, the hobby horse was quite forgot, when Kemp did dance alone-a, he did labour after the tabor for to dance then into France, he took pains to skip in hope of gains, he will trip it on the toe diddle doe.41

Robin Hood was a common hero in ballad lore, and a character, along with compatriots Little John and Maid Marian, common in May Day celebrations involving Morris dancing. Though a short text, the poem is brimming with references to contemporary popular culture. The first stanza ‘sets the scene’: nostalgic figures of folklore are deemed no longer relevant, and the hobbyhorse, a symbol of a more innocent past, is also forgotten. Mary Ellen Lamb argues that the forgotten hobbyhorse, widespread in plays and literature of the period, was a symbol of nostalgia for the old ways.42 By the late sixteenth century, the hobbyhorse, a formerly ‘much loved’ figure of legitimate entertainment, became sexualised, a process related to the commercialisation of popular culture.43 As late Elizabethans remember both a more innocent, delightful hobbyhorse and also its vulgar evolution, the phrase ‘the hobby horse was quite forgot’ indicates nostalgia for a recent past, one that problematises culture-for-profit. The last line of the first stanza mentions William Kemp, one of Shakespeare’s original comedians, who made headlines in 1600 by Morris dancing over 100 miles from London to Norwich. As an actor, Kemp played clown roles, like Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and is thought to have played, and been the inspiration for, Falstaff. As Lamb points out, however, Kemp was also the face of lowbrow popular culture, one side of a cultural tension within early modern theatre companies.44 Eventually, ‘Kemp’s very ability to draw a crowd no doubt constructed him, like the once popular hobbyhorse, as an object of contempt to those defining 39

As translated in Kerry McCarthy, Byrd (Oxford, 2013), p.74. For an example of a more expected contemplative setting, see Richard Carlton’s ‘The Love of Change,’ English Madrigal Verse 1588–1632, ed. Edmund Fellowes (Oxford, 1920), p.68. 40 Which begs the question, what is the ‘life of the words’ when setting ironic texts that inherently contain a double and often contrasting meaning. Does one musically attend to surface (‘explicit’) or ironic (‘concealed’) meaning? Can one attend to both? McCarthy, Byrd, p.74. 41 Thomas Weelkes, ‘Since Robin Hood’, Ayres or Fantastic Spirits (London, 1608), sig. D3v. 42 Mary Ellen Lamb, The Popular Culture of Shakespeare, Spenser and Jonson (Abingdon, 2006), p.65. 43 Ibid. 44 Ibid., p.158.

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themselves by a discerning aesthetic taste.’45 Perhaps it was tension between forms of cultural value in the theatre that drove Kemp to attempt his Nine Days’ Wonder (1601), as the pamphlet documenting his journey was called.46 As a freelance entertainer, he could make money in any way he preferred, though as Weelkes’s text suggests, Kemp probably did not gain much from his publicity stunt, despite his attempt to charge onlookers a fee.47 He probably died of plague in 1603 and without much to his name.48 Thus Weelkes’s text cynically describes the death of the folk tradition and the folk hero, a role replaced by entertainers like Kemp, a fameand money-seeking professional clown. Weelkes’s seemingly light-hearted poem has a cynical underlying message. The illusion of light-heartedness is reinforced in the text through the forced rhyme scheme (‘alone-a’), nonsense syllables, and the alteration of well-known details of the event. Though France clearly rhymes with dance (certainly more so than Norwich), perhaps this is not just an expedient of rhyme, but an indication that Kemp sought fame abroad through his antics. Either way, it would be physically impossible to dance to France, yet exaggeration of detail is almost expected in the re-telling of this type of event. As he did in ‘Ha Ha’, Weelkes wrote a cheery setting that is literally word-painted and highlights the text’s overt rhyme scheme, illustrates dance rhythms (for example, the use of triple time at ‘he did labour’), and skips and trips where appropriate, as expected from the genre (see Example 12.2). Though the events described in this poem seem ballad-like, and Robin Hood is a figure that made frequent appearances in ballads, by through-composing the text, Weelkes sets the poem within a fixed musical framework that is not transferrable to other lyrics in the way that a traditional ballad would be, thus reinforcing the musical setting’s important role in the text’s interpretation. Though the music is a literal depiction of the poem’s words, the meaning of the poem is enhanced through the overtly straight representation of text, one similar in effect to deadpan humour. What is interesting about this musically masked cynicism, however, is that at its core the speaker of the song is still longing for a past, as indicated by the nostalgic figure of the hobbyhorse, much like a traditional pastoral madrigal. Yet it is not a naive self, longing for a place and time that never was, but one more aware of its own history. This self demonstrates the split self-consciousness described by Johnson, one that creates through a particular medium, but simultaneously demonstrates awareness of the constructive nature of that medium.49 In a way somewhat similar to contemporary utopian fiction, Weelkes uses the space of ambiguity created by mythologically allied music to explore a self-aware scepticism about the sources of true knowledge and their representations. This is not dissimilar to the spaces represented by the islands of Shakespeare’s Tempest or Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis.50 In 45

Ibid. William Kemp, Kemp’s Nine Days’ Wonder Performed in a Dance from London to Norwich (London, 1600). 47 Lamb, The Popular Culture of Shakespeare, p.76. 48 David Wiles, Shakespeare’s Clown: Actor and Text in the Elizabethan Playhouse (Cambridge, 2005), p.41. 49 Johnson, ‘Irony’, p.257. 50 This is probably why it was common in both pastoral and utopian modes for the reader to be taken to another place, like Arcadia. 46

Myth and Satire in the Ayres of Thomas Weelkes 217



Ex. 12.2  Thomas Weelkes, ‘Since Robin’, Ayres and Fantastic Spirits (London, 1608), bars 6–12, transcribed by Francis Bevan

       6

Cantus

 

Tenor

Bassus

  

he

   

he

ta

-

 

     ta ta

-

-

did

la



 la





did

la









bor

for

to

dance







bor

   bor



did

         he

9



for



for



to

dance

to

dance



-

-

-





bour

aft

er

the

  





-

bour

aft



-

er

the

aft

-

er

the



bour



then

   then

    

then



     

  

in

-

to

in

-

to

in

-

to

 

     

Guido Giglioni’s words, the ‘eerie opaqueness’ or ‘precarious poise’ that surrounds these types of spaces, is: due to a skillful mixing of real events, idealized reality, and suspended imagination [and] is reinforced by the use of ironic, ambivalent, and tragicomic effects … for the sense of suspended tension between reality and appearance is constantly heightened by stylistic devices that deliberately subvert established relationships between truth and its representation.51

Yet in Weelkes’s case, irony and subverted perspectives are reinforced through musical rather than purely literary devices. As Esti Sheinberg shows, there is often ambiguity in satire, as it has two coexisting meanings, one explicit and one concealed.52 This much seems obvious in literature, but it is a more complicated relationship when it comes to music. As she points out, ‘how can a musical message be “concealed” or “explicit” ’ as ‘music does not have “true” and “false” statements?’53 In these ayres, the integration of the ‘real’ into a space of fantasy relies upon a music that attends only to the ‘explicit’ half of textual irony to achieve the desired effect, making even more defined the dissonance between ‘explicit’ and ‘concealed’ 51

Guido Giglio, ‘Fantasy Islands: Utopia, The Tempest, and New Atlantis as Places of Controlled Credulousness’, World-Building and the Early Modern Imagination, ed. Allison Kavey (New York, 2010), pp.91–117 (94). 52 Esti Sheinberg, Irony, Satire, Parody and the Grotesque in the Music of Shostakovich: A Theory of Musical Incongruities (Aldershot, 2000), p.15. 53 Ibid.

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poetic meanings. This dissonance is indicative of the discursive process through which satire questions the fundaments of knowledge. Though in this instance both poetic meanings exist in the texts alone, one should not underestimate the powerful meaning contributed by its musical context and performance, as self-aware singers could bring rather different meaning to a performance of this song than passive, ignorant ones might.

‘Aye Me, Alas’ Weelkes’s ‘Aye Me, Alas’ features a pseudo-historical ancient character, Messalina. As the third wife of Roman Emperor Claudius (who ruled 41–54ad), Messalina is technically a historical rather than mythological woman; yet in early modern England her literary and artistic reputation as a stock character for ‘the adulteress’ falls somewhere between antiquity and myth.54 Used within a form that traditionally featured characters from Greek and Roman mythology, a figure like Messalina acknowledges both the mythologically affiliated form in which she appears, but also the idea that she does not quite fit the traditional model. Though all mythological tropes are thought to exist in an ahistorical ‘Golden Age’, when an ancient figure from ‘real’ history is invoked it complicates the traditional ahistorical ‘memory’ invoked by conventional pastoralism. Aye me, alas, hey hoe thus doth Messalina go up and down the house a-crying, for her monkey lies a-dying. death thou art too cruel, to bereave her jewel, or to make a seizure of her only treasure, if her monkey die she will sit and cry, fie, fie, fie!55

Musically, the piece adheres to many tropes of the canzonet style: it opens with a descending semitone on ‘aye me’, an Anglicisation of the Italian sigh, ‘ohimé’. 54

As Richard Rainolde reported in 1571, Messalina ‘was so beastly that she used her adulterous lust openly, for the which abominable fact many good men withdrew themselves, from thence and therefore they were murdered’. Richard Rainolde, A Chronicle of all the Noble Emperors of the Romans (London, 1571), sig.E3v. For the history of Messalina, the symbol of insatiable female sexuality, see Judith P. Hallett and Marilyn B. Skinner, Roman Sexualities (Princeton, 1997), p.222. For more on early modern English appropriation of all things Roman, see Lisa Hopkins, Cultural Uses of the Caesars on the English Renaissance Stage (Abingdon, 2013), p.2. For a description of the early modern use of Livy as a source of Roman history, existing somewhere between myth and history, see Warren Charnaik, The Myth of Rome in Shakespeare and his Contemporaries (Cambridge, 2013), pp.25–34. 55 Weelkes, ‘Aye me Alas’, Ayres or Fantastic Spirits (1608), sig.C3v.



Myth and Satire in the Ayres of Thomas Weelkes 219

Weelkes illustrates the words ‘up and down’ with descending octave leaps in all voices, and ‘crying’ with an ascending and returning semitone movement, aptly depicting recurring cries (see Example 12.3). He demonstrates animated monkey-like swinging with dotted skips on ‘for her monkey’, which seems irreverent (and overly literal) considering this particular monkey is not very lively. The ‘lively monkey’ word-painting is a persuasive indicator of satire within the music, as a more apt illustration of a dying monkey would be akin to ‘morire’ tropes, with longer lines, suspensions or descending semitone movement. Here the ‘monkeying’ is contrasted with a homophonic declamatory statement (in the Italian tradition) on ‘death thou art too cruel’, a dramatic move akin to comic overacting, considering that the death here is not a terribly tragic one (though it seems that way to Messalina). In fact, the exaggerated drama of the musical setting, complete with tropes like ‘aye me’, ‘alas’ and a minor mode, must be ironic when one considers the absurdity of her reaction to the ‘death’ of a silly object of affection, a monkey.56 In Sheinberg’s terms, this is satire achieved through ‘quantitative exaggeration by accumulation’, in that it is through the inclusion of so many of the expected madrigalisations that a satirical effect is achieved.57 The monkey is Messalina’s thinly veiled object of desire and could equally refer to a man or just his phallus. As a generally unfavourable character (though perhaps sexually fascinating), sympathy for Messalina’s sexual habits was probably rather sparse. She was a stereotypical hysterical woman, helpless to do anything but mourn her fate and cry an indignant (and ineffective) ‘fie’ at death. One must also wonder about her responsibility in her monkey’s ‘death’. The bawdiest reading would be that this is a flaccid penis metaphor and her sexual insatiability has spent all her lover’s energy, leaving her pouting in self-pity.58 The jewel is ostensibly her monkey/lover, taken by death (the ‘monkey’ is sexually spent).59 Yet the poem somewhat awkwardly states the same thing twice by saying that death ‘bereave[s] her of her jewel’ and also ‘make[s] a seizure of her only treasure’. This doubled use of the same metaphor gives reason to suggest that the poet is also implying that her ‘jewel’ or ‘only treasure’ is not just her lover, but also her sexuality.60 Her behaviour at the potential death of her ‘lover’ is not one of a grown woman in love, it is the reaction of a child who has lost a plaything.

56

Definition B. ‘Freq. humorous. Typified as lecherous or libidinous (esp. in similes), or as a substitute partner to a woman with insatiable desires. Also (in extended use): a lecherous person, esp. a lecherous woman. Obs’. Oxford English Dictionary, ‘monkey, n.’, OED Online www.oed.com/view/Entry/121265. Accessed 25/3/2015. 57 Sheinberg, Irony, Satire, Parody and the Grotesque, p.120. 58 This is not Weelkes’s only flaccid penis metaphor in this collection. See also ‘Upon a Hill the Bonny Boy’, Ayres or Fantastic Spirits (1608). 59 Williams, A Dictionary of Sexual Language, p.373. 60 It is also possible that the ‘jewel’ taken from her is a metaphor for orgasm. Note that death does eventually take Messalina’s sexuality away from her, in that she is forced to commit suicide for her adultery, a detail of her end that may have been well known in early modern times.

Ex. 12.3  Thomas Weelkes, ‘Aye Me Alas’, Ayres and Fantastic Spirits (London, 1608), bars 8–10, transcribed by Francis Bevan Cantus

      

     

Tenor

Bassus



  

 

  



        Aye

Aye

me

Aye

me

a - las,

me

a - las,

     

  

 

     

  

hoe,

hey hoe, hey hoe, thus

   

       up

 

and down the house

  

bout the house a



up

cry



-

7

down the house a

 

 

a

 



up

 cry

-



up

     9

  for



   for

for

and down

  

the

   

her Mon - key lies a - dy

     

  

her Mon - key lies

   

her Mon - key lies

go

doth Mes - sa - li - na

go

- sa - li - na

go



cry

a -

     



-



ing, up

and

         

and down the house a cry

 

 



and down,

up

-



and

      ing, a cry ing,         

               down the house a cry - ing, a ing,

hey

     

    

ing up

and down,

      



hey hoe,

doth Mes - sa - li - na

hey hoe, hey hoe, thus

5    

hey

 

    

              hoe, doth Mes hey hoe, hey hoe, thus hoe,

hey hoe,

  

 

a - las, hey hoe, hey        



   3

  

house



-

-

    a - dy



cry

    a - dy

a cry

-



ing,



ing,

ing,

-

ing,





ing,

-





 for



 for

her

for

her





Myth and Satire in the Ayres of Thomas Weelkes 221

In both continental and English music there was precedent for non-satirical pastoral madrigals that set highly sexual topics, as erotic desire was one of the foremost actions played out through mythological allegory, stemming from works like Ovid’s Metamorphoses.61 Yet in these cases there is sincerity in both the poem and the ballett/canzonet musical structure that leaves the ‘dying’ veiled as simply possibility.62 In ‘Aye Me, Alas’, the monkey is the key absurdity that other sexualised settings lack, and it is this farcical feature that demarcates Weelkes’s tropefilled musical setting as satire. There are plenty of madrigals about unfulfilled or unattainable love, even with extreme, dramatic and somewhat romanticised consequences, like dying of a broken heart. Yet the use of the pseudo-mythological Messalina and the absurdity of her monkey suggest that the subject of mockery here is self-reflective, as it parodies the Italianate musical-poetic trend in England more generally. By extension, Weelkes could be seen to be parodying himself, or at least a tradition that he was part of. In this sense, Weelkes’s ‘Aye Me, Alas’ embodies the kind of self-awareness in musical irony that Julian Johnson has characterised as fundamentally indicative of a type of modernity.

Conclusion: Performing Knowledge Lastly, I think it prudent to caution against textual analysis of these lyric works apart from their musical context. Though the poems examined here outwardly or topically appear to adhere to poetic tropes of the genre by invoking mythological figures, in each case this appearance is misleading when one contemplates textual meaning. The music contributes to this false outward appearance, as the ‘packaging’ for the text seems directly in line with expected musical forms. Music’s lack of traditional semantic meaning makes it well-suited for questioning inherently ambiguous and paradoxical concepts, like that of the relationship between appearances and truth.63 Through these ‘fantastic spirits’, Weelkes was able to use tropes of the light genres to contribute to the discourse on the reliability of exterior per 61

See John Kingsley-Smith, ‘Mythology’, A New Companion to English Renaissance Literature and Culture, ed. Michael Hattaway (Oxford, 2010), pp.134–49. Also Agnes Lafont, Shakespeare’s Erotic Mythology and Ovidian Renaissance Culture (London, 2013), p.1. 62 Kerman states that Francis Pilkington’s 1613 setting ‘All in a Cave’ is satirical because the long iambic heptameter allows for the author to go a bit ‘over the top’ in illustrating an inexperienced lover’s attempts at seduction. The poem reflects the awkwardness of the encounter by abandoning the obvious iambic option of ‘Oh no! Said he’ for the less wieldy ‘Oh no! He said’. Though perhaps parodying metaphysical poetry, as Kerman suggests, Pilkington’s setting does not appear to enhance or play off of any humorous elements in the poetry. Though one can only guess, one would think that if Pilkington had wanted to emphasise the parodical elements in the poem, he could have. Kerman, The Elizabethan Madrigal, p.36. 63 Though his is only one opinion within a divisive aesthetic debate, Lawrence Kramer believes it a folly to assume music is either non-semantic or all semantic, leaving its precise quality open for debate. If, as Kramer asserts, there is always a semantic gap between interpretation and the object interpreted, it makes sense to me that the semantic opacity of music might effectively interrogate ideas with similarly complex relationships. Kramer, Interpreting Music (Berkeley, 2011), p.15; Kramer, Expression and Truth: On the Music of Knowledge (Berkeley, 2012), p.19.

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ception. Though the sceptical caution against modern life communicated in some of these texts is a far cry from the extreme scepticism articulated by Descartes a couple of decades later, it is through this type of self-aware processing that discursive practices like irony are able to engage in the negotiations of relevance to episteme. These case studies demonstrate how mythology and music laboured actively and jointly to challenge assumptions about reality. Additionally, these examples reveal the variety of ways in which the idea or function of myth could be distorted to contribute to discourse about a variety of ‘real world’ topics. Aided by a mythologically affiliated musical form, Weelkes was able to use actual mythological figures from ancient Greece like Leda, as well as folk myths like Robin Hood, and characters like Messalina that might as well stem from Ancient Greek legend, but who have their roots in ‘real’ history – all to similar effect. In each case the function of the ‘myth’ is essentially the same, a veiled fantastical Other that was used poetically to reveal truth. The lack of adherence to strictly Arcadian figures, contrary to what one might find in other ayre or madrigal collections, demonstrates how the Arcadia ‘remembered’ in domestic music could morph and expand the pastoral to accommodate ambiguous fictional Others that may not be as separate or foreign as we may think. Though the figures in the ayres changed, as well as the meaning derived from them, the function of the musical space remained the same. This residual coupling of music and myth allowed for a space in which singing groups could work together to construct and meaningfully distort or challenge perceptions about external realities using a variety of ‘fictions’. Though little is certain about the contemporary performance practice of these pieces, we can assume that the performer also played a role in satirical uptake, as ironic elements would have been enhanced by an aware and engaged performance of these pieces. As Henry Peacham knew, the ‘behaviour of a person’ in performance, whether in an official capacity or in casual conversation, was, and still is, key to satirical understanding.64 The centrality of performance in the creation of meaning here suggests that an approach that considers the importance of expression not found in the score is essential to understanding satirical music historically, as the meaning of the music is inherently reliant on the experience of the music. Moreover, as Angela Esterhammer argues, ‘performance affects not only the way knowledge is transmitted, but even the way it is produced. Whenever knowledge is being performed it is also, to some extent, being formed.’65 As Giuseppe Gerbino has pointed out, mythology and the pastoral offered ‘a symbolic space in which to play oneself ’.66 What makes these examples by Weelkes particularly interesting, however, is how the musical form does not simply accompany textual meaning, but makes visceral the eerie sense of irony suggested by the text. One can imagine how the uptake of meaning in a contemporary experience of performance (from either a musician or a hearer) would vary from person to person, perhaps even more so in these examples than it would more generally. Yet 64

Peacham, Garden of Eloquence, sig.D2r. Angela Esterhammer, ‘Afterword: The Audience, the Public, and the Improvisator Maximilian Langenschwarz’, Performing Knowledge, 1750–1850, ed. Mary Helen Dupree and Sean B. Franzel (Berlin, 2015), pp.341–6 (341). 66 Gerbino, Music and the Myth of Arcadia, pp.4–5. 65

Myth and Satire in the Ayres of Thomas Weelkes 223



as Julian Johnson says, ‘the communication of the voice itself is always prior to whatever is spoken’ and meaning ‘lies partly in the words. But much more, it lies in the physicality of the voice and its mode of performance.’67 A knowing wink, naughty hand gesture, facial expression or overly dramatic sighing would completely alter reception of ‘Aye Me, Alas’. The singers’ dynamics and stresses would enhance ulterior meaning in ‘Ha, Ha’. Moreover, contemporaries would have had immediate and relevant knowledge on topical references like Kemp’s dance. As these examples interrogate reality through representation, they simultaneously ask fundamental questions about certain knowledge. I believe that in analysing these works we can embrace a rational analysis of both the historical context and the musical form alongside the emotional possibilities inherent in a performance of wonder, love, fear or other aspects of human consciousness. When fundamental questions about the certainty of reality are viscerally presented to the body through musical performance (text in experience), consideration of experiential possibilities allows us to access how music contributed to the way early modern awareness and knowledge was shaped and organised.

67

Julian Johnson, Mahler’s Voices: Expression and Irony in the Songs and Symphonies (Oxford, 2009), p.4.

13

Feeling Fallen: A Re-telling of the Biblical Myth of the Fall in a Musical Adaptation of Marvell’s ‘A Dialogue between Thyrsis and Dorinda’ Aurora Faye Martinez

M

yth and story are forms of communicated knowledge that find their origin in an oral tradition later committed to written word. As such, biblical myths might function as kinds of history, reflecting man’s understanding of human experience and his struggles to grasp what it means to be human. The most familiar of these biblical stories is that of the Creation, the serpent’s seduction of Adam and Eve, and their consequent banishment from the Garden of Eden for disobeying God’s mandate, which offers an explanation for human mortality. The poetic adaptation of this myth with which most modern readers are acquainted is John Milton’s Paradise Lost. The latter part of the story recounts Adam and Eve’s consciousness of their fall from God’s grace to a state of sin in which the hope of re-capturing the Edenic bliss they once lived seems impossible. Andrew Marvell’s poem ‘A Dialogue between Thyrsis and Dorinda’ also captures that consciousness of the effects of such a state of sin. The exact date of composition of Marvell’s ‘Dialogue’ is difficult to determine, but occurred before William Lawes set the poem to music preceding his death in 1645.1 The poem circulated in later manuscripts, of which there are several extant copies, and then appeared in Marvell’s posthumously published Miscellaneous Poems (1681). In the poem, Adam and Eve are recast as the shepherd Thyrsis and the shepherdess Dorinda, who discuss the nature of heaven. Thyrsis’s attempt to explain it in the idyllic terms of a pastoral frame only causes Dorinda to express her despair arising from her sense that redemption from their fallen state on earth is beyond their grasp. Matthew Locke adapted the poem to be sung as a musical dialogue. Locke’s musical adaptation of ‘A Dialogue between Thyrsis and Dorinda’ was included as an example of the pastoral dialogue in John Gamble’s Ayres and Dialogues (1659), as well as in John Playford’s Choice Ayres (1675) and Theater of Music (1687), and Henry Playford’s New Treasury of Music (1695). Transcriptions of Locke’s musical setting also circulated in manuscript.2

1

See Nigel Smith’s discussion of ‘manuscript publication’ in Andrew Marvell, ‘A Dialogue between Thyrsis and Dorinda’, The Poems of Andrew Marvell, ed. Nigel Smith (Harlow, 2007), pp. 242–5 (243). 2 H.M. Margoliouth, ‘Marvell’s “Thyrsis and Dorinda”,’ The Times Literary Supplement, Friday 19 May 1950, p.309.



Re-telling the Biblical Myth of the Fall in Marvell’s ‘Dialogue’ 225

Marvell’s ‘Dialogue’ itself suggests the reason why the reception of such myths as the Fall of Man proved problematic in a contemporaneous climate of emerging philosophical inquiry. Dorinda’s response to Thyrsis’s description of a heaven beyond human sight voices a prevailing belief that some knowledge was simply beyond human capacity for understanding. Authors such as Sir John Davies, who likewise expressed in poetry similar attitudes derived from the story of the Fall, characterised the pursuit of knowledge through natural philosophy as a sinful curiosity.3 Yet Francis Bacon, at the same time, would effect a ‘masterful manipulation of contemporaneous moral and theological concerns’ about knowledge to advance his case for learning by contending that such knowledge was neither forbidden nor beyond human capacity.4 This was evident, according to Bacon, in the usefulness of such knowledge God had enabled us to attain, fitting the world to human capabilities.5 This position is also supported in Thyrsis’s ability to reason about the essence of heaven in the familiar terms of pastoral. Where biblical history provided the dominant means for interpreting individual, familial and political identity in early modern society, Marvell’s ‘Dialogue’ also characterises Dorinda in a manner that demonstrates how the biblical myth of the Fall distorted perceptions of women and had complex and negative effects on relations between the genders.6 One of the most pervasive and influential interpretations of the myth concerned the propagation of the doctrine of original sin and its physical transmission to Adam and Eve’s descendants as a consequence of the Fall. This doctrine was derived from the writings of St Augustine to the statements of Martin Luther and John Calvin, and seemingly reinforced a patriarchal societal structure and negative images of women.7 While the example of Eve served as scriptural precedent for a religiously justified oppression of women, by imagining Eve’s voice, such early modern female authors as Amelia Lanyer used biblical exegesis to rewrite patriarchal historiography.8 In doing so, she showed that such monumental works of antiquity need not be viewed as monolithic or univocal, dispelling the myth that the story of the Fall was used to simply disempower women.9 In Marvell’s verse too, we hear Eve’s voice in that of Dorinda, in which her sense of loss and desire for redemption and the effects of its expression on Thyrsis suggest a female capacity for virtue and positive influence. Her response to Thyrsis’s description of heaven also suggests her capacity for understanding of knowledge communicated to our reason in the language of sensory perception arising from empirical observation. 3

Peter Harrison, ‘Curiosity, Forbidden Knowledge, and the Reformation of Natural Philosophy in Early Modern England’, Isis 92 (2001), 265–90 (266). 4 Ibid., p.279. 5 Ibid. 6 Michelle M. Dowd and Thomas Festa, ‘Introduction: Adam’s Rib, Eve’s Voice’, Early Modern Women on the Fall: An Anthology, ed. Michelle M. Dowd and Thomas Festa (Tempe, AZ, 2012), pp.1–21 (2). 7 Ibid. 8 Ibid., p.6. 9 Ibid.

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The Royal Society’s experimental and mathematical investigations established new areas of musical and acoustical understanding, but also demonstrated how mythology and empirical science were not incompatible ways of knowing. Their discoveries did not simply invalidate older traditions of knowledge where ancient wisdom often informed enquiries.10 Both might lead to a deeper understanding of the power of music. A precursor to such experimentation, Francis Bacon demonstrated how the study of the language and figures of rhetoric employed in ancient myth and poetry might serve as a useful model for understanding the effects of comparable figures in music on human emotions.11 Notions of musica mundana continued to inform the enquiries in natural philosophy of Robert Hooke and Isaac Newton.12 In keeping with this tradition, Royal Society members did not simply disregard mythological stories but ‘drew parallels between mythology, experiments, and their beliefs about music’s effects in the modern world’.13 Edmund Burke (1729–97), politician and author of his better-known satire A Vindication of Natural Society, would pursue similar investigations in his treatise An Enquiry into the Origins of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful (1757). This philosophical work displays the prevailing interest in human psychology and cultural phenomena, approaching it through a discussion of aesthetic taste.14 The empiricism underlying Edmund Burke’s aesthetic philosophy might offer insight as to why myth set to or expressed through music persisted in the early modern period. His theory provides a model for the connections between sensory perception and the complex of sensation, emotion and ideas that arises in response to external stimuli, including sound. Myth that could not be experienced first hand could be set to music such that the knowledge conveyed in the myth was gained through lived experience. This chapter will examine Andrew Marvell’s pastoral poem ‘A Dialogue between Thyrsis and Dorinda’ as a re-telling of the biblical story of the Fall and what was potentially achieved through its frequent adaptation for musical expression. I will explore the manner in which the poem’s devices and allegorical nature treat Marvell’s familiar theme of human fallenness, using sensory language to depict both heaven and earth in terms of pastoral landscapes, to suggest humanity’s susceptibility to seduction through the senses. Marvell’s methods will be compared to Milton’s Paradise Lost, whose use of confused imagery of pastoral and georgic labour as a metaphor it anticipates. Such use was a technique to evoke notions of the sublime to characterise the Fall and the subsequent punishment of Adam and Eve in Paradise Lost.15 The original verse and Locke’s musical adaptation of it will 10

Katherine Butler, ‘Myth, Science, and the Power of Music in the Early Decades of the Royal Society’, Journal of History of Ideas 76 (2015), 47–68 (47). 11 Penelope Gouk, Music, Science and Natural Magic in Seventeenth-Century England (New Haven, 1999), pp.163–4. 12 Ibid., pp.218, 253, 256, 267. 13 Butler, ‘Myth, Science, and the Power of Music’, p.56. 14 Paul Langford, ‘Burke, Edmund (1729/30–1797)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 2004) https://doi.org/10.1093/ref:odnb/4019. Accessed 31/1/2018. 15 Paddy Bullard, ‘Edmund Burke Among the Poets: Milton, Lucretius and the Philosophical Enquiry’, The Science of Sensibility: Reading Burke’s Philosophical Enquiry, ed. Koen Vermeir and Michael Funk Deckard (New York, 2012), pp.247–63.

Re-telling the Biblical Myth of the Fall in Marvell’s ‘Dialogue’ 227



be compared to Burke’s aesthetic model for the sublime. Burke’s model suggests his reading of Milton’s Paradise Lost through the lens of Lucretius – both of which he quotes in A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful16 – and echoes Marvell’s own references to both Lucretius and Milton in ‘On Milton’s Paradise Lost’. Marvell’s ‘Dialogue’ and Locke’s adaptation of it will be examined in relation to Burke’s discussion of physiological responses to sound as distinguished from imaginative yet distinctly non-visual responses to sublime imagery communicated confusedly through words. This context will allow us to question whether music can better convey to the auditor Dorinda’s sense of her fallenness and longing for such a return to innocence than words alone. This chapter therefore seeks to understand the place of musical settings of myth and story as a form of knowledge within early modern culture, complementing rather than competing with scientific ideologies about the nature of knowledge and how it might be attained.

The Tradition of the Sublime: Lucretius, Milton, Marvell and Burke Despite postdating Marvell’s writing, Burke’s aesthetic theory is a revealing lens through which to examine Marvell’s poem and its musical adaptations. Marvell’s use of a vicarious experience of the sublime to facilitate an understanding of Dorinda’s fallen earthly state places an emphasis on the physiological mechanism and demonstrates an impulse to reconcile myth as knowledge and that of the empirically based science, both themes to which Burke’s aesthetic theory responds. Although there is an absence of direct evidence that Burke read Marvell, in the form of references in notebooks or correspondence or direct quotation, reading Marvell’s ‘On Milton’s Paradise Lost’ with Burke’s citations from Lucretius’s De Rerum Natura and Milton’s Paradise Lost in mind suggests that Burke was familiar with Marvell’s second poem. ‘On Milton’s Paradise Lost’ served as prefatory verse to the second edition of Paradise Lost in 1674 and perhaps framed his understanding of the works of the other two poets. Paddy Bullard notes how Burke’s reading of both Roman and British poets informed A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful: Burke used ‘scenes from the Bible, Milton, Virgil and Lucretius as a secondary object world … for conducting virtual experiments on the passions’ that allowed the reader to realise the truth about the experience of the sublime and the beautiful second-hand.17 This is the method that Marvell seemingly employs in his ‘A Dialogue between Thyrsis and Dorinda’. Milton, according to Bullard, is Burke’s particular source for ‘poetic instances of the Christian religious sublime’,18 but Burke appears to draw his understanding of Lucretius and Milton’s theory and use of the poetic language to invoke the religious sublime from Marvell’s ‘On Milton’s Paradise Lost’.

16

Ibid. Ibid., p.248. 18 Ibid., p.249. 17

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Burke turns to Lucretius for the basis of his ‘physiology of the sublime’ or his model for the references explaining the intrinsic meaning of such utterances as ‘delightful horror’ and ‘tranquillity tinged with terror’, and to Milton’s Paradise Lost to glean examples of how poetic language elicits such.19 His model attempts to explain the relation between the characteristics of external objects or persons; such physiological responses to them as the respective tensing and relaxing of nerves which produce the sensations that he terms pain and pleasure; the emotions of fear and terror, or love, happiness and delight we associate with such physical responses; and the corresponding ideas of the sublime and the beautiful that are evoked in us. Dissatisfied with John Locke’s narrow definition of pleasure that does not permit its combination with a mixture of uneasiness,20 Burke adds to the class of ‘desirable discomfort’ feelings of astonishment, admiration and horror, each a form of delight associated with tranquillity. Such ideas result from his examinations of conceptions of pain and pleasure, what their modification suggests about their relation to the experience of the sublime and the beautiful, and how pain functions as a kind of relative pleasure when presented with the idea of danger that is not imminent.21 Kantian misreadings of Burke’s physiological explanation for the sublime’s effect on the emotions have suggested the empowering nature of the experience of the sublime resulting from passing from an initial feeling of vexation, because of our imagination’s inability to grasp the object, to delight at the outpouring of vital forces in response.22 Kant’s discussion of the aesthetic judgement, by contrast to Burke’s, places particular emphasis on the importance of an object’s appearance to our representational capacities and our experience of pleasure arising from our convictions.23 Relevant to our study of Marvell’s poem within the context of Burke’s treatise is Burke’s use of a quotation from Lucretius that testifies to the affinity shared between sublimity and poetic language, and demonstrates the emotional effect of language on readers, even in the absence of distinct images of ideas attached to a writer’s words.24 Burke suggests that imagination supplies an equivalent for sensation where imagination can be creative as it combines, but remains passive.25 He limits association to its role in assisting imagination to expand the sensory impression, whereas associationists were interested in the moment where cognition awakens the interpretative faculty and the experience is then treated as the beginning of a series of impressions, characterised by augmentation.26

19

Ibid., p.254. Ibid., p.251. 21 Ibid. 22 Vanessa Lyndal Ryan, ‘The Physiological Sublime: Burke’s Critique of Reason’, Journal of the History of Ideas 62 (2001), 265–79 (266–7). 23 Frances Ferguson, ‘Reflections on Burke, Kant, and Solitude and the Sublime’, European Romantic Review 23 (2012), 313–17 (315). 24 Bullard, ‘Edmund Burke Among the Poets’, p.257. 25 Ryan, ‘The Physiological Sublime’, p.271. 26 Ibid., p.272. 20



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In focusing on the sublime’s limiting or diminishing effect, Burke seemingly deems the sublime to be a sensual experience without the intervention of the understanding as distinguished from Kant’s attempt to characterise particular ways of having mental representations that would grant autonomy to the perceiving subject. The descriptions of Satan such as that in Book I of Milton’s Paradise Lost offer Burke support for his hypothesis that indistinct descriptions are more likely to evoke a ‘passionate response from the reader’s imagination’ and ‘leave an impression … of mimetic power’.27 A second illustration of the experience of the sublime in the absence of clear imagery that provides ‘in positive sensational terms a physiological analogy to an experience of the divine presence’ is that of Milton’s rising sun.28 The rising sun is experienced as a dark, excessive bright which overpowers.29 The second example supports Burke’s use of a Lucretian physiological model for the sublime. In Book III of De Rerum, Lucretius refutes the conventional conception that the senses are gateways through which the mind perceives the world, employing a discussion of the effect of bright light on the retina, while Book IV addresses ‘the simulacra and the deceptiveness of some visual information’.30 The evocative power of poetic language and lack of correspondence between its visual specificity and the experience of the sublime is an idea that is likewise developed in Marvell’s ‘On Milton’s Paradise Lost’. Nigel Smith writes that Capel Lofft noted Marvell’s allusion to Lucretius’s notion of the sublime in his edition of Paradise Lost, Books I and II.31 Lucretius’s words in De Rerum Natura, Book III, lines 28–30, are, as Smith translates them, ‘Thereupon from all these things a sort of divine delight gets hold upon me and a shuddering, because nature thus by thy power has been so manifestly laid open and uncovered in every part.’32 Marvell echoes the notion of divine delight at the experience of nature, writing: That majesty which through thy work doth reign Draws the devout, deterring the profane. And things divine thou treats in such state As them preserves, and thee, inviolate. At once delight and horror on us seize, Thou sing’st with so much gravity and ease; And above human flight dost soar aloft With plume so strong, so equal, and so soft. The bird name from that paradise you sing So never flags, but always keeps on wing.33 27

Bullard, ‘Edmund Burke Among the Poets’, p.259. Ibid., p.260. 29 Ibid. 30 Ibid., p.261. 31 John Milton, Paradise Lost. A Poem in Twelve Books, ed. Capel Lofft (Bury St Edmunds, 1792). 32 Andrew Marvell, ‘On Milton’s Paradise Lost’, The Poems of Andrew Marvell, ed. Nigel Smith (Harlow, 2007), pp.180–4 (183). 33 Ibid., lines 31–9. 28

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Burke likewise cites Lucretius, but his reading also recalls to mind Marvell. Lucretius, notes Burke: is a poet not to be suspected of giving way to superstitious terrors; yet where he supposes the whole mechanism of nature laid open by the master of his philosophy, his transport on this magnificent view which he has represented in the colours of such bold and lively poetry, is overcast with a shade of secret dread and horror.34

The poem, however (as a prefatory verse to the second edition of Paradise Lost), makes reference in its measured praise to Milton’s poetic vision despite his blindness. The poem begins: When I beheld the poet blind, yet bold, In slender book his vast design unfold, Messiah crowned, God’s reconciled degree.35

Similarly, Milton is, according to Marvell, ‘Just heaven thee like Tiresias to requite/ Rewards with prophecy the loss of sight’.36 Milton is painted as a sublime poet where Marvell writes: I too transported by the mode offend, And while I meant to praise thee most commend Thy verse created like thy theme sublime, In number, weight, and measure, needs not rhyme.37

Marvell’s use of the word sublime in reference to both the verse itself and the theme suggests both the meaning of sublime as a description of an experience of the divine and the desirable discomfort or delightful tranquillity that takes hold of the reader of such verse. Such a sublime effect is achieved not through visual details of ekphrastic description. Instead, Marvell comments that: ‘Where couldst thou words of such a compass find?/Whence furnish such a vast expense of mind’.38 Smith notes that in the choice of the word ‘expense’ there are echoes of the notion of an expanse as associated with heaven.39 The line thus draws upon connections with that which is not perceptible to sight, but engages the imagination in a way that communicates a sense of God through the connotation of an overwhelming vastness of possibly infinite dimension. Burke imitates Marvell’s suggestion in his

34

Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful, ed. Adam Phillips (Oxford, 2008), p.63 (Section II.V). 35 Marvell, ‘On Milton’s Paradise Lost’, lines 1–3. 36 Ibid., lines 43–4. 37 Ibid., lines 51–4. 38 Ibid,. lines 41–2. 39 See note 42 by Nigel Smith: Marvell, ‘On Milton’s Paradise Lost’, p.184.



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discussion of how vastness and thus infinity are productive of the sublime. Infinity, writes Burke: has a tendency to fill the mind with that sort of delightful horror, which is the most genuine effect, and truest test of the sublime. There are scarce any things which can become objects of our senses that are really, and in their own nature infinite. But the eye not being able to perceive the bounds of many things, they seem to be infinite, and they produce the same effects as if they were really so.40

Thus, visual perception is not necessary to the experience of the sublime, but such an experience of the sublime often is the result of that which suggests the limitations of such senses, and thus human frailty and vulnerability. Although Burke’s literary predecessors credit the power of poetic language – a notion that Burke does reiterate – his physiological model for sublime experience, offers a possible explanation for the power of music (whether or not combined with poetic language) to produce a sublime effect. It is also Lucretius’s writings from which Burke draws his aesthetic psychology where he contends that the effects sublime objects have on the mind can be explained in terms of physiology: sublime views, sounds or smells cause a tension or strain and stress on the sensory organs, producing equivalent tensing of the nerves corresponding with our imagination.41 Although in his comments about infinity Burke proposes that ‘Whenever we repeat any idea frequently, “the mind” by a sort of mechanism repeats it long after the first cause has ceased to operate’, the emphasis is not on memory, but on ‘perception’ where ‘if the parts of some large object are so continued to any indefinite number, that the imagination meets no check which may hinder its extending them at pleasure’.42 The stimulus to the sublime, then, is an initial sensory perception, leaving the question as to the degree to which language alone can produce the same physical response to effect an experience of the sublime. Burke’s claim that pain induces a violent tensing of the nerves, while fear or terror arising from the apprehension of pain or death in the absence of an immediate threat approaches the same effects, raises the question as to whether the vague imagery of poetry suffices as a cause or stimulus to memory or imagination through the indistinct ideas communicated. ‘In reality poetry and rhetoric’, writes Burke, ‘do not succeed in exact description so well as painting does; their business is to affect rather by sympathy than imitation; to display rather the effects of things on the mind of the speaker, or of others, than to present a clear idea of the things themselves … But descriptive poetry operates chiefly by substitution; by means of sounds, which by custom have the effect of realities.’43 In his discussion of the artificial infinite, Burke explains that because of the tension that increases with every blow in combination with the stroke itself, and the expectation and surprise, as the result of the increasing intensity, it is capable of producing the impression of the 40

Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry, p.67 (Section II.VIII). Bullard, ‘Edmund Burke Among the Poets’, p.261. 42 Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry, p.67 (Section II.VIII). 43 Ibid., p.157 (Section V.VI). 41

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sublime. This is because the tension verges on pain where the greatness of the effect is aided by the successive striking of the organs of hearing in a similar manner even after the cause has ceased.44 Of such sounds capable of producing the sublime, Burke comments that modulations of sounds have representational capacities. He offers the example of the natural cries of all animals, even those strange to us, or persons with whom we are not acquainted, as evidence, since such creatures are able to make themselves understood, though the same cannot be said of language.45 Poetry set to music, then – which incorporates the modulations of the human voice – could effect an artificial reality through the inducing of such intermittent tensing and relaxing of the nerves so as to affect the imagination and understanding. It would therefore be more productive of the sublime than words alone. A discussion of Marvell’s ‘A Dialogue between Thyrsis and Dorinda’ will explore the potential truth of such suppositions.

Marvell’s Sublime Landscape and the Evocative Power of Music Marvell’s mimetic use of pastoral landscape description to suggest a sublime experience in which consciousness of the divine is contrasted with human frailty finds its origins in the history of landscape to which Marvell’s model, the ancient poet Ovid, was only a successor.46 As Stephen Hinds notes, ‘ideal landscape, blessed with preternatural copiousness, its constituent elements predictable but admitting of infinite variations of detail, and configured more to the requirements of rhetoric than to the proprieties of climate and season’ is a recurring pattern to be found both in Ovid’s ‘fair field of Enna’ and Milton’s Eden.47 Marvell does not recreate that first garden, but modifies it to depict a shepherd’s pasture free from danger and care and suggestive of heavenly bliss. The images of ‘sheep [that] are full/Of sweetest grass, and softest wool’ and ‘birds sing[ing] consorts [while] garlands grow [and]/Cool winds do whisper, springs do flow’,48 however, are not rich with the language of acute, visual perceptions. Instead the rhetoric is mimetic through its appeal to the other senses. The alliteration, in particular, suggests the pleasurable quality of the texture and taste of the things described, recalling Burke’s comment that descriptive poetry achieves its effect through a substitution of sounds. Such a paradise is not given a specific location, but instead is beyond human sight. Thyrsis tells Dorinda when she asks where Elysium is: 44

Ibid., pp.124–5 (Section IV.XI). Ibid., p.77 (Section II.XX). 46 Stephen Hinds, ‘Landscape with Figures: Aesthetics of Place in the Metamorphoses and its Tradition’, The Cambridge Companion to Ovid, ed. Philip Hardie (New York, 2002), pp.122–49 (122). 47 Ibid., p.123. 48 Andrew Marvell, ‘A Dialogue between Thyrsis and Dorinda’, The Poems of Andrew Marvell, ed. Nigel Smith (Harlow, 2007), pp. 242–5 (lines 3–34). 45



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Turn thine eye to yonder sky, There the milky way doth lie; ‘Tis a sure but rugged way; That leads to everlasting day.49

Such descriptions bring to mind Burke’s use of a quotation from Paradise Lost describing the rising sun as a dark, excessive bright that overpowers (noted above) to illustrate the experience of the sublime in the absence of clear imagery. There is the same sense, as in Marvell’s ‘On Milton’s Paradise Lost’, of the connection the imagination makes between what is beyond perceptible sight and a sense of the divine. Dorinda’s sense of her and her lover’s fallenness is likewise communicated in language that is not visually suggestive. Thyrsis’s words in response to her reference to the cell from which they ‘have no wings and cannot fly’50 use a series of negatives in which an absence alludes to the pain or suffering of the human condition: Oh, there’s neither hope nor fear, There’s no wolf, no fox, no bear, No need of dog to fetch our stray, Our lightfoot we may give away; No oat-pipes needful; there thine ears May sleep with music of the spheres.51

Each negation corresponds to a concern of the shepherd and shepherdess in performing his or her duties of tending the flock or an unhappy aspect of his or her existence on earth. In contrast to the previous stanza, which uses the elements of pastoral to describe heavenly paradise, this stanza instead depicts the shepherd and shepherdess no longer at play, but employed in the labour corresponding to their fallen state. The imagery employed, however, not only lacks visual specificity, but also uses confused imagery in its series of negatives with little pause or transition between so that the reader is unable to attach specific images to such particular ideas. Such imagery is more productive in engaging the imagination than acute visual detail, an idea which, as noted, Burke gleans from Lucretius. Rhyme – or that which approximates it in early modern English pronunciation – is also used to link ideas: ‘fear’ with ‘bear’, for example. This prefaces the use of the word ‘stray’, or those who have wandered from the path, using rhyme to prompt the reader’s interpretation of the word ‘away’. The couplet adopts an additional layer of interpretation where the fetching only emphasises the notion of distance or separation from heaven suggested in the word ‘away’. The ‘lightfoot’ they may not ‘betray’ on earth is then contrasted with the

49

Ibid., lines 9–12. Ibid., line 14. 51 Ibid., lines 21–6. 50

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ears blessed with the ‘music of the spheres’ to underscore the notion of pastoral labour as distinguished from paradise.52 The contrast between a heaven that is beyond Dorinda’s perception and the dangers she presently faces – the absence of which come to form her notion of such a place – represents the kind of modification of pain related to the human experience of fear and terror. Such emotion functions as the kind of relative pleasure or desirable discomfort, according to Lucretius, to which Burke adds delightful tranquillity, as Bullard notes.53 Here, however, the sublime is achieved less through Dorinda’s loss of identity or autonomy as she identifies with God, than through her consciousness of her separation from Him. The sense of immeasurable distance between heaven and earthly danger both communicates Dorinda’s fall from grace, and through such distance, the delight tinged with terror arising from a sense of such a fall’s consequences or implications. The readers’ minds then equate this with Dorinda’s sublime experience so that they might come to understand their relation to the divine or supernatural as she does. Myths or stories through which a person or audience might feel the ecstasy or transport of the inspiration prompting the individual expression of sublime religious experience, be it secondhand, were part of an oral tradition meant to be said or sung to which ‘A Dialogue between Thyrsis and Dorinda’ is heir. As noted above, Burke concedes the limitations of descriptive poetry, which does not achieve its effect through the use of visual detail, but through sound. Marvell’s poem itself privileges that which is heard above that which is seen. Paradise, as envisioned, is a place where ‘No oat-pipes needful; there thine ears/May sleep with the music of the spheres’54 and where ‘Cool winds whisper’,55 suggesting the power of sound to engage the imagination. Dorinda herself, ironically, suggests the problem posed by written texts that lack voice: Oh sweet! Oh sweet! How do I my future state By silent thinking antedate: I prithee let us spend our time to come In talking of Elysium.56

‘Silent thinking’, akin to silent reading, does not offer the same stimulus to ‘sweet’ sensation or emotion that ‘talking’ does. As a myth-like literary text, the poem is inadequate in its communication of individual expression of sublime religious experience. The reader does not participate in a mystical experience in which the reader loses him or herself by identifying either with the divine or Dorinda who, like the reader, is mortal and therefore fallen. Musical adaptations such as that of Matthew Locke combine musical signs, or notes, with poetry in a kind of ‘transmutation’, according to William P. Dougherty, 52

Ibid., lines 21–6. Bullard, ‘Edmund Burke Among the Poets’, p.251. 54 Ibid., lines 25–6. 55 Ibid., line 34. 56 Ibid., lines 27–30. 53



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that allows an auditor or interpreter to view an ‘immediate object’ and a ‘dynamic object’ from the ‘context of that musical sign’. The immediate object might be distinguished from the ‘cultural unit’, which might be ‘anything real or potentially real (including expressive states) to which a sign may refer’.57 Musical song, then, makes use of ‘the sounds as imitate the natural inarticulate voices of men or any animals in pain or danger, [which] are capable of conveying great ideas’,58 to which Burke refers to communicate the sublime experience that words alone cannot. Words do not carry a connection with the nature of the things they represent, but only come to be linked in the mind with experience or learning. Locke’s adaptation of Marvell’s dialogue to music illustrates how musical signs may be combined with language to communicate the sublime effects of Dorinda’s fallenness.59 The dialogue is set in D minor, with Dorinda’s questions about death and heaven tending to end on the dominant chord of A major (or E major as the song modulates to A major for the triple-time section). The unsettled nature of such questions she poses as ‘When death shall part us from these kids … whether thou and I shall go?’ is reflected in the harmony which at such moments in the dialogue are harmonically open-ended. This represents in musical terms Dorinda’s sense of the limitations of her humanity that prevent her from both perceiving heaven and her struggle to comprehend it because of that. Both the language of the question and the melody prompt the auditor to expect a resolution, but in doing so, communicate Dorinda’s emotional state that results from that sense in terms that denote the sublime. Thyrsis’s answer, ‘To Elysium’, moves the dialogue cadences onto a D-minor chord and brings about that firm, secure resolution, only to return to the A-major chord with Dorinda’s next question, ‘Where is’t?’ Thyrsis’s reply of ‘a chaste soul can never miss it’ again moves to a cadence, though this time on an unexpected and tonally quite distant C-major chord. This difference in the harmonic behaviour of the music accompanying Dorinda’s questions and Thyrsis’s replies continues. When Dorinda sighs, ‘There birds may rest, but how can I, that have no wings, and cannot fly?’ to express her despair at what seems an impossible journey to reach heaven, the music cadences onto D minor, but Thyrsis again seeks to change her perspective, shifting the harmony to the relative major (F) when he responds with ‘do not sigh … heav’n’s the centre of the soul’. Interestingly, at the end of Thyrsis’s next phrase an F-major chord on ‘hope’ is juxtaposed with an A-major chord on the word ‘fear’, paralleling Dorinda’s frequent phrases ending on an A-major chord in these short exchanges. The harmonic contrast of these two chords highlights Thyrsis and Dorinda’s contrasting positions of hope and fear. The resulting dissonant false relation between C natural and C sharp registers the emotional distress musically that arises from the ideas Thyrsis associates with heaven (as represented in the word ‘hope’) juxtaposed with the two 57

William P. Dougherty, ‘Longing for Longing: Song as Transmutation’, Essays on Word/ Music Adaptation and on Surveying the Field, ed. David Francis Urrows (New York, 2008), pp.161–75 (162). 58 Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry, p.77 (Section II.XX). 59 Matthew Locke, ‘A Dialogue between Thirsis and Dorinda’, Songs and Dialogues: For Voice and Basso Continuo, ed. Mark Levy (London, 1996), pp.47–54.

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lovers’ earthly existence (represented in the word ‘fear’), echoing Dorinda’s sense of her own position when speaking of her fallen state and distance from Elysium. By contrast, the harmony modulates to a bright A major for the triple-time section where Dorinda suggests ‘talking of Elysium’, both of which are evocative of joyful, pastoral paradise. The auditor, however, is abruptly returned to Dorinda’s present earthly reality as she responds ‘Ah me’ over a G-minor chord to Thyrsis’s responding description of heaven in pastoral terms. Dorinda’s explanation for her distress is chromatic and harmonically unsettled until Thyrsis responds by declaring that he cannot live without her, bringing the song to a cadence on the tonic (D) before the final resolution of the chorus. Throughout the song, the repeated association of the dominant chord with Dorinda’s questions, and cadences onto the tonic or relative major with Thyrsis’s responses, would increase the intensity of the effects of the sound both physiologically and psychologically. That repetition, when combined with Dorinda’s successive questions suggesting her struggle to resolve herself to an unsure fallen state, would, according to Burke’s theory, recreate Dorinda’s sense of the sublime in the auditor. Words alone, then, may not be clearly tied in a reader’s mind to that which they signify, particularly in the case of expressive states such as the mixture of terror or fear and anguish or despair, which connote Dorinda’s fallenness. The modulations of a human voice singing the musical adaptation and thus tying a musical sign to an immediate object or word and its corresponding cultural unit of an expressive state allows the auditor to experience such an expressive state in real terms. If Burke’s claims are valid, the singer’s modulations of sounds would cause intermittent tensing and relaxing of nerves in the auditory system, and perhaps the whole human frame, such that a listener is able to feel the sensations and potentially understand, if not feel, the emotions that Dorinda’s sublime experience induces. Textual variants suggest the degree to which such an occurrence might be true. If we compare Locke’s musical adaptation to the text-only transcription in Oxford, Bodleian Library: MS Rawl. Poet 90, we find that he has replaced some words, suggesting that he was recalling the musical adaptation from memory rather than transcribing from a copy. The transcriber substitutes the word ‘can’ for ‘shall’ when Dorinda asks Thyrsis, ‘There birds may nest, but how shall I, that have no wings, and can-not fly?’ ‘Shall’ suggests a strong assertion and the certainty with which it is made. The substitution of ‘can’, by contrast, suggests the transcriber’s sense of Dorinda’s doubt or surprise about the possibility of her ascending to heaven being true. We also find that the transcriber substitutes the word ‘Ah’ or ‘Aye’ each time Locke’s musical adaptation shows Dorinda to exclaim ‘Oh’ to Thyrsis’s explanations. For example, ‘Oh sweet!’ suggests Dorinda’s surprise mixed with pleasure when she considers ‘How I my future state by silent thinking may antedate!’ in Locke’s musical setting. ‘Oh sweet!’ as preface to the same line above, however, indicates the degree to which the transcriber grasps the significance of Dorinda’s realisation about the nature of Elysium and her distance from it. This is denoted in the substitution of the word ‘Oh’, as she seeks to ‘antedate’ the time to come when to her it is forever lost, and is also reflected musically in the unexpected G-minor chord. The transcriber’s substitution of the word ‘comforts’ for ‘consorts’ when Thyrsis relates that ‘birds sing consort’, and ‘cold’ when in Locke’s adapta-

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tion he tells ‘Cool winds do whisper’, likewise registers the transcriber’s sense of the fallenness Dorinda expresses. ‘Consorts’ suggests the image of birds singing both in unison and in accord or harmony to represent the joyful state in heaven. ‘Comforts’, by contrast, suggests the auditor’s consciousness of Dorinda’s need for solace. The variations between the musical manuscripts and prints, and this miscellany containing only the words of the extract used in the musical adaptation, suggest the degree to which the association of musical sound with key words in the poem shaped the auditor and author of the miscellany’s ideas about Dorinda’s earthbound human life as contrasted with heavenly bliss.

In Pursuit of Knowledge: Reconciling Feeling and Knowing through Music The key binary (construction though it may be) to understanding the place of musical myth in early modern culture is that which persists today – that of feeling versus knowing. Whether for Renaissance subjects or us, the intrinsically unverifiable nature of first person accounts about emotional experience suggests that encounters with their display can occasion reflection on the criteria we use to identify and assess the source of the display and the explanatory limits of such criteria.60 That is the problem one encounters when reading a poem such as ‘A Dialogue between Thyrsis and Dorinda,’ in which the reader’s own understanding of Dorinda’s sense of fallenness or her sublime religious experience relies upon a report which aims to cultivate sympathy, but by nature of its status as a written text precludes the reader’s ability to confirm the veracity of the report. In the seventeenth century, feeling was thought to preclude knowing. Postlapsarian man was presumed to lack the superior knowledge and clearly reasoned thought expressed in a perfect language of correspondence between word and thing that prelapsarian Adam possessed. Where fallen man languished with partial knowledge and confused thought, mediated by the senses and clouded by the passions, this understanding of the Fall promoted, even demanded, the rejection of emotions and sensory experiences as signs and tainted artefacts of the Fall.61 The most ideal state of human knowledge, then, is not fixed, but a process that passionate intuition and reasoning grounded in the absence of knowledge derived from the empirical evidence of sensory perception. This means that sensory experience of the world creates the conditions that establish referentiality, identity and self-knowledge that allow an individual to reason about his environment as well. Yet the incomplete or flawed nature of fallen human language illustrates a gap rather than a congruity between sign and reference. Such a gap would appear to prevent man from attaining such knowledge, the development of his subjectivity, and an understanding of the human condition as a fallen state. That understanding 60

Drew Daniel, The Melancholy Assemblage: Affect and Epistemology in the English Renaissance (New York, 2013), p.3. 61 Katherine Fletcher, ‘Uncertain Knowing, Blind Vision, and Active Passivity: Subjectivity, Sensuality and Emotion in Milton’s Epistemology’, Passions and Subjectivity in Early Modern Culture, ed. Brian Cummings and Freya Sierhuis (Farnham, 2013), pp.113–28 (114).

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would be unattainable through reading in light of the absence of actual interaction with external objects. Though poetic language is a stimulus to imagination, the truth of such ideas that arise in response to it cannot be ascertained with empirical proof. Music, then, reconciles feeling with knowing as sensory data is paired with corresponding language. That pairing allows the reader’s mind to form an association between sensation and its accompanying emotion, and the words to which they would be the appropriate response. The mind might not otherwise recognise and evaluate the correspondence between word and thing. The voices of the performers singing a song link musical and textual signs in such a way that the intermittent tensing and relaxing of nerves that the sound produces creates a physiological experience of the emotion that the words are intended to elicit. This permits the auditor to simultaneously experience the emotion of the characters that the singers portray, and evaluate the emotion felt, the criteria used to assess such display, and its capacity and limits for explaining what the words describe. In the absence of prior knowledge of what is depicted, feeling becomes a way of evaluating the truth of the statements. This is particularly true with the musical settings of Marvell’s dialogue about the relation between heavenly bliss and a fallen earthly existence that is productive of that desirable discomfort which is termed the sublime. Feeling, through the experience of music, becomes a way of knowing or learning in which referentiality facilitates knowledge that forms individual subjectivity and an identity grounded in a sense of a shared earthly existence that might be attained. Distance from God is experienced as a physiological sensation of fear or terror that such physical space between the auditor and paradise, and therefore the separation from the divine, should prompt. The listener gains a sense of his or her own fallenness by feeling the longing and despair that Dorinda feels to which Thyrsis’s words are anodyne, and uses sensation to determine the validity of not only her emotional response, but their own, so that knowledge is not only of an objective world, but of one’s self.

vii re-imagining myths and stories for the stage

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‘Armida’s Picture we from Tasso Drew’?: The Rinaldo and Armida Story in Late Seventeenthand Early Eighteenth-Century English Operatic Entertainments * Amanda Eubanks Winkler

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nthony Van Dyck’s painting, Rinaldo and Armida (c.1629), was commissioned by Endimion Porter for Charles I and was widely disseminated as an engraving throughout Europe (see Plate X).1 Thus, this evocative image reveals a great deal about the ways the painter and his contemporaries understood Torquato Tasso’s epic poem of the Crusades, Gerusalemme liberata (1581). Van Dyck illustrated a famous moment: Rinaldo, the erstwhile warrior, has completely given himself over to pleasure. He slumbers, coaxed into sleep by a Siren’s seductive song, as his lover Armida binds him with a garland of flowers – a clear symbol of the dangers of the sensual excess in the sorceress’s luxurious bower. Van Dyck emphasised the eroticism of the scene as cupids cavort around the lovers, transforming martial pursuits into humorously phallic ones as they use Rinaldo’s tool of war, his sword, as a hobbyhorse. Rinaldo’s rescuers, Carlo and Ubaldo, are voyeurs peeking out from the bushes – for the time being, war can wait. Armida, however, is also not immune to the dangers of love. Above her a cupid is about to infect her with love’s dart. In short, Van Dyck highlighted the powerful, yet problematic, sensuality of Rinaldo and Armida’s relationship, while sidelining the military conflict between Christians and Muslims, the central narrative of the original poem. We might expect to find this amorous Rinaldo and Armida in the musical versions of the story performed on the late seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century English stage: John Dennis and John Eccles’s Rinaldo and Armida (1698) and Aaron Hill, Giacomo Rossi and George Frederic Handel’s Rinaldo (1711).2 Yet strangely, both these works display anxiety about this passionate relationship, re-shaping the characters created by Tasso and so evocatively portrayed in Van Dyck’s painting. This squeamishness – the desire to moderate the lovers’ passion or to frame their emotions as problematic – reflected and participated in turn-of-the-century

* This material was first presented at the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies meeting, Atlanta (2007) and talks at Cornell University (2008) and Northwestern University (2010). I thank these audiences for their valuable feedback. 1 For more information about this painting, see Susan J. Barnes, Nora De Poorter, Oliver Millar and Horst Vey, Van Dyck: A Complete Catalogue of the Paintings (New Haven, 2004), p.294. 2 Erica Levenson also considers the adaptation of pre-existing material for the London stage in chapter 15 of this collection.

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debates about morality, theatre and musical aesthetics. Contemporary political discourses, including those with regards to gender and English national identity, also influenced these re-tellings of Tasso’s epic.

John Dennis’s Rinaldo and Armida (1698): Collier , Vice and the Performance of Eroticism Moral and ethical concerns shaped the way John Dennis (1657–1734), a well-known critic and playwright, approached Tasso’s famous story. In 1698, the same year as Rinaldo and Armida’s debut, Jeremy Collier had excoriated the producers of contemporary drama in A Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage, a work that documented theatrical smuttiness in exquisitely lurid detail. Collier’s attack targeted two of Dennis’s close friends, playwrights John Dryden and William Congreve, and this moved Dennis to respond in print a few months later in The Usefulness of the Stage (1698).3 While Dennis defended his friends and did not want to outlaw the stage, he agreed with Collier that it should be reformed: If Mr Collier had only attack’d the corruptions of the stage, for my own part I should have been so far from blaming him, that I should have publicly return’d him my thanks: For the abuses are so great, that there is a necessity for the reforming them.4

When he arrived at his defence of the stage, Dennis’s rhetoric took on a political and moralistic cast, as he argued that tragedy could be used to promote social harmony: If you consider them in relation to those who govern them, you will find that tragedy is very proper to check the motions, that they may at any time feel to rebellion or disobedience, by stopping the very sources of them; for tragedy naturally checks their ambition, by showing them the great ones of the Earth humbled, by setting before their eyes, to make use of Mr Collier’s words, the uncertainty of human greatness, the sudden turns of state, and the unhappy conclusion of violence and injustice. Tragedy too, diverts their apprehension of grievances, by the delight which it gives them, discovers the designs of their factious guides, by opening their eyes, and instructing them in their duty by the like examples; and lastly, it dispels their unreasonable jealousies, for people who are melted or terrified with the sufferings of the great, which are set before their eyes, are rather apt to feel a secret pleasure, from the sense that they have, that 3

For an analysis of Dennis’s role in the Collier controversy, see H.G. Paul, John Dennis: His Life and Criticism (New York, 1966), pp.30–1. Robert Hume noted that Collier did not succeed in his desired reforms; however, Collier’s critiques clearly held particular resonance for Dennis. As Hume outlined, Collier was part of a larger discourse regarding the ‘obscenity’ of the stage; ‘Jeremy Collier and the Future of the London Theater in 1698’, Studies in Philology 96 (1999), 480–511. 4 John Dennis, The Usefulness of the Stage to the Happiness of Mankind, to Government, and to Religion (London, 1698), sig.[A3r].



Rinaldo and Armida in English Operatic Entertainments 243

they are free from the like calamities, than to torment themselves with the vain and uncertain apprehensions of futurity.5

Tragedy, according to Dennis’s formulation, directed audiences morally while allowing spectators to indulge in Schadenfreude, grateful that they were not suffering the trials faced by the protagonists onstage. How, then, did Dennis’s concern with stage reform and the moralistic use of tragedy shape his Rinaldo and Armida? First, on the title-page Dennis labelled Rinaldo and Armida a ‘tragedy’, eschewing ‘opera’, ‘dramatick opera’ or ‘masque’ – the more usual terms for works with a significant proportion of music.6 The specific moral connotations that the generic designation ‘tragedy’ had for Dennis informed his characterisation of Rinaldo, the warrior knight, and Armida, the lovesick sorceress. In his prologue Dennis argued that he had to make changes because Tasso’s portrayal of Rinaldo was deficient.7 To change Rinaldo’s manners, we had ground, Who in the Italian is unequal found. At first he burns with fierce ambition’s fire, Anon he dotes like any feeble squire, The mere reverse of all that’s noble in desire. Then in a moment leaves the lovesick dame, And only burns, and only bleeds for everlasting fame.8

For Dennis the conflicted, changeable passions of Tasso’s Rinaldo were ill-suited to his moralistic tragedy, which required a more straightforwardly noble protagonist.9 Dennis was not alone in his disparaging view of Tasso. Although Tasso was well regarded by the English in the early seventeenth century, his reputation had begun to falter by the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. For example, 5

Ibid., pp.56–7. Kathryn Lowerre made a similar point in ‘Dramatick Opera and Theatrical Reform: Dennis’s Rinaldo and Armida and Motteux’s The Island Princess’, Theatre Notebook 59 (2005), 23–40 (28–9). 7 Dennis’s contemporaries considered his changes to Tasso to be presumptuous. As the anonymous author of A Comparison Between the Two Stages remarked: ‘The renown’d author thought himself immortal in that work, and that the world was to last no longer than his Rinaldo; and tho’ he stole every thing from the Italian, yet he said, what the Italian did was but Grub-Street to his.’ A Comparison Between the Two Stages, with an Examen of the Generous Conqueror; And Some Critical Remarks on the Funeral, or Grief a la Mode, The False Friend, Tamerlane and Others (London, 1702), p.36. 8 John Dennis, Rinaldo and Armida: A Tragedy (London, 1699), prologue. 9 A more practical reason may have also affected Dennis’s characterisation of Rinaldo. In his dedication, Dennis equated the heroic derring-do of Rinaldo with that of his patron, the Duke of Ormond, who had been a major player on the battlefield, campaigning with William III in the Low Countries. As Dennis wrote, ‘The world has not been displeased to see in Rinaldo a character resembling Your Grace’s’ (dedication). Indeed, Dennis seems anxious to highlight Rinaldo’s martial prowess. When describing the reasons why she adores her beloved Rinaldo, Armida proclaims: ‘Fortune, and fame, and victory obeyed him, / Him, the sole power of that victorious army’, p.12. 6

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Dennis’s friend and mentor, John Dryden, who had been complementary about Tasso earlier in his career, lambasted the Italian in his Discourse Concerning the Original and Progress of Satire (1693): he is too flatulent sometimes, and sometimes too dry; many times unequal [using the same term here as Dennis], and almost always forc’d; and besides, is full of conceits, points of epigram, and witticisms; all which are not only below the dignity of heroic verse, but contrary to its nature.10

Given such sentiments, we might speculate that Tasso’s rambling narrative was also antithetical to the goals of the emerging Age of Reason. Indeed, Dennis was particularly concerned to establish that Rinaldo was a reasonable man, as opposed to the lascivious and irrational hero in Tasso: I design’d Rinaldo then neither a languishing nor a brutal hero; he is fond of Armida to the last degree, and yet resolves to leave her, but owes that resolution to the strength of his reason, and not the weakness of his passion.11

Dennis also adjusted the Armida he finds in Tasso. In keeping with his moralistic re-fashioning, Dennis’s Armida converts to Christianity before dying of a self-inflicted wound (Tasso’s Armida survives and is reconciled with Rinaldo). For similar moralistic reasons, the seductive Armida from Tasso is nowhere to be found. Dennis admitted that he had chosen to downplay the sorceress’s sexual power, as he claimed that the enchantress’s amorous behaviour in the original was opposed to the noble goals of tragedy: Armida’s picture we from Tasso drew, And yet it may resembling seem too few; For here you see no soft bewitching dame, Using incentives to the amorous game, And with affected, meretricious arts, Secretly sliding into hero’s hearts. That was an error in the Italian Muse, If the great Tasso were allow’d t’ accuse; And to descend to such enervate strains, The Tragic-Muse with majesty disdains.12

10

[ John] Dryden, The Satires of Decimus Junius Juvenalis ... To which is Prefix’d a Discourse Concerning the Original and Progress of Satire (London, 1693), p.vii. On Tasso’s reputation in England, see Kathleen M. Lea and T.M. Gang, eds, ‘General Introduction’, Godfrey of Bulloigne: A Critical Edition of Edward Fairfax’s Translation of Tasso’s Gerusalemme Liberata, Together with Fairfax’s Original Poems (Oxford, 1981), pp.3–64 (25–34). 11 Dennis, Rinaldo and Armida, sig.A[1]r. 12 Ibid., prologue.

Rinaldo and Armida in English Operatic Entertainments 245



Dennis’s explanation notwithstanding, contemporaries obviously noticed a deficiency in Dennis’s less seductive characterisation of Armida. As Dennis defensively tells us in his preface: There is, say some gentlemen, a softness that is natural to love, and only that softness, say they, should be capable to engaging Rinaldo’s heart; for ’tis hard to conceive, say they, how such a hero should be passionately fond of a woman, who appears always either in a furious disorder, or using of horrible incantations. To this I answer that the action of the play begins but between three and four hours before the death of Armida.13

Nevertheless, given the title of Dennis’s tragedy, it is strange that he chose to begin the action shortly before the end of their romantic relationship. As the lovers only have two interludes together before Armida’s spell is fully broken (and Rinaldo is asleep for one of these), one cannot fully comprehend what Armida has lost when Rinaldo deserts her. Although Dennis justified his changes by invoking the ‘Tragic-Muse’ and laboriously explained his dramatic choices, it is also likely that Collier’s attack made Dennis a bit cautious about portraying amorous (or, as Collier would have it, lascivious) behaviour onstage. Perhaps further motivating Dennis’s restraint, in 1697, in response to complaints about the stage, the Lord Chamberlain had promised to supervise things more closely.14 Dennis’s desire to provide a moral entertainment also spilled over into the musical portions of Rinaldo and Armida. Here, too, Collier’s critiques may have catalysed Dennis’s own thinking. Collier did not believe that all music was bad, but rather that it was being dangerously misused: Now granting the playhouse music not vicious in the composition, yet the design of it is to refresh the ideas of the action, to keep time with the poem, and be true to the subject. For this reason among others the tunes are generally airy and galliardizing: They are contriv’d on purpose to excite a sportive humour, and spread a gaiety upon the spirits. To banish all gravity and scruple, and lay thinking and reflection asleep. This sort of music warms the passions, and unlocks the fancy, and makes it open to pleasure like a flower to the Sun. It helps a luscious sentence to slide, drowns the discords of atheism, and keeps off the aversions of conscience. It throws a man off his guard, makes way for an ill impression, and is

13

Ibid., sig.A2r. Judith Milhous and Robert D. Hume, A Register of English Theatrical Documents, 1660– 1737, 2 vols (Carbondale and Edwardsville, 1991), vol.1, p.324. Lowerre also noted the potential influence of the Lord Chamberlain’s edicts of 1697 and the Collier controversy in ‘Dramatick Opera and Theatrical Reform’, pp.26–7.

14

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most commodiously planted to do mischief. A lewd play with good music is like a loadstone arm’d, it draws much stronger than before.15

For Collier, music was dangerous because it made the immoral palatable, circumvented reason, and often served no purpose beyond empty titillation. Although Dennis did not substantially address Collier’s concerns about music in his writings,16 as Kathryn Lowerre has noted, Dennis shared some of Collier’s fears about music’s ability to misdirect the listener’s passions. In his Essay on the Operas after the Italian Manner (1706) – which postdates Rinaldo and Armida but is still revealing about Dennis’s musical philosophy – he opined: Music may be made profitable as well as delightful, if it is subordinate to some nobler art, and subservient to reason; but if it presumes not only to degenerate from its ancient severity, from its sacred solemnity, but to set up for itself, and to grow independent, as it does in our late operas [here referring to Italian opera], it becomes a mere sensual delight, utterly incapable of informing the understanding, or reforming the will, and for that very reason utterly unfit to be made a public diversion.17

In Rinaldo and Armida, Dennis wanted to demonstrate music’s higher purpose – it could be an integral part of the tragedy. In developing his philosophy of music and drama, Dennis drew upon classical ideals and English precedents. He included a quotation from Horace on his title-page to Rinaldo and Armida, and in his preface cited the influence of Sophocles. In England, earlier operatic works had generally followed one of three approaches: 1) through-composed ‘masques’ (Blow’s Venus and Adonis; Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas); 2) works with spoken text where music was relegated to self-contained masques and interludes that had little to do with the play’s overarching narrative (The Fairy Queen); and 3) works that sought to more fully integrate music and spoken drama (Locke’s Psyche, Dryden’s King Arthur). Rinaldo and Armida pursues the latter course, as Dennis ambitiously structured his work to allow a synthesis of music with classically inflected tragedy.18 15

Jeremy Collier, A Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage Together with a Sense of Antiquity upon this Argument (1698), facsimile reprint edn (New York, 1972), pp.278–9. 16 Dennis mentioned music briefly on p.56 of The Usefulness of the Stage. After citing a long passage from Dancier on the moral benefits and drawbacks of music, Dennis concluded, ‘what may we not justly affirm of tragedy, of which music is but a little ornament; and which as far transcend it, as the reasoning speech of a man excels the brutes inarticulate voice, which never has any meaning.’ 17 Dennis, ‘An Essay on the Operas After the Italian Manner, which are About to be Establish’d on the English Stage: With Some Reflections on the Damage which they may Bring to the Public (1706)’, The Critical Works of John Dennis, ed. Edward Niles Hooker, 2 vols (Baltimore, 1939), vol.1, pp.382–93 (385) [spelling modernised]. 18 Dennis’s selection of topic (and his insistence on calling it a ‘tragedy’) makes one wonder if Lully’s Armide of 1686 was an influence. If it were, Dennis, who was outspoken in his loathing for the French, would not have admitted it.



Rinaldo and Armida in English Operatic Entertainments 247

In a separate publication, Musical Entertainments in Rinaldo and Armida, Dennis further described his aesthetic goals, reinforcing the notion that John Eccles’s music for Rinaldo and Armida is an integral ‘part of the tragedy’ (i.e. not just music for empty entertainment) and that Eccles ‘has everywhere so thoroughly enter’d into my design, that if I had not known him well, I should have often wonder’d at it’.19 In every case, Eccles’s musical interludes forward the drama: there is no fifthact celebration where all dramatic action stops (as happens in King Arthur, for example). There is no amusing, yet dramatically empty duet (such as the flimsily justified yet amusing ‘Now the Maids and the Men are Making of Hay’ from The Fairy Queen). Each musical episode, Dennis insisted – even the music between the acts – is part of the ‘action of the play’.20 All of these aesthetic choices, in addition to advancing the drama, speak to Collier’s criticism of music as empty entertainment and Dennis’s later declaration that music should be subservient to a nobler art (in this case tragedy). The sleep scene from Rinaldo and Armida demonstrates how Dennis and Eccles achieved their aesthetic and moralistic aims. In Act II, Armida reveals that her dedication to the black arts is wavering; love has taught her to fear ‘The torments which the souls in Hell endure’.21 Nevertheless, her desire to keep Rinaldo in her thrall prompts her to put aside such fears, and she conjures spirits or dreams to appear to Rinaldo in the shape of his parents. Bertoldo and Sophia musically entreat their son to stay with Armida, ‘Or destiny decrees, / Thou shalt feel woes, which but to hear / Would distract thy soul with fear’.22 A chorus of spirits of those Rinaldo has slain then threaten him, appealing to Armida to assist them in revenge, declaring their intentions in stark homophonic terms (see Example 14.1).23 Eccles’s straightforward, unadorned musical threats are the perfect aesthetic match for Dennis, a man suspicious of musical frippery without dramatic justification. In terms of efficacy within the play, however, the efforts of Armida’s musical spirits come to naught. In order to maintain Rinaldo’s heroism, Dennis’s protagonist ‘smile[s] at all their threats’.24 Fame’s trumpet then sounds, dispelling Armida’s antimasque. Virtuous music thus thwarts the music of Hell: Jeremy Collier would have approved.

19

John Dennis, The Musical Entertainments in the Tragedy of Rinaldo and Armida (London, 1699); reprinted in Theatre Miscellany: Six Pieces Connected with the Seventeenth-Century Stage (Oxford, 1953), pp.99–115. This quotation comes from p.105 in the reprint [spelling modernised]. 20 Dennis, The Musical Entertainments, p.107. 21 Dennis, Rinaldo and Armida, p.13. 22 Ibid., p.17. 23 For a critical edition of the music, see John Eccles, Rinaldo and Armida, ed. Steven Plank, The Works of John Eccles, Recent Researches in the Music of the Baroque Era 176 (Middleton, WI, 2011). 24 Dennis, Rinaldo and Armida, p.18.

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Ex. 14.1  John Eccles, ‘For Revenge to Armida We Call’, bars 1–7, from Rinaldo and Armida, London, British Library, Add. MS 29738



Rinaldo and Armida in English Operatic Entertainments 249

Rinaldo and the Politics of English Music and Identity Thirteen years after the debut of Dennis’s Rinaldo and Armida, Aaron Hill, the director of the Queen’s Theatre in the Haymarket, dedicated Giacomo Rossi’s libretto for George Frederic Handel’s Italian opera Rinaldo to Queen Anne. Hill had been responsible for writing the scenario to Rinaldo, which the Italian Rossi then versified.25 Hill was determined for Rinaldo to succeed with the English public and shaped his entertainment to appeal to their tastes. Hill’s scenario for Rinaldo incorporated the lavish scenic spectacle that had been an integral part of English dramatick opera (Dryden’s term for works that combined spoken text with music) – an obvious attempt to coax London audiences accustomed to such entertainments to his theatre. At this point in his career, Hill had no Dennis-like qualms about deploying music and theatrical spectacle for entertainment and pleasure. In his preface to Rinaldo he declared: I resolv’d to frame some drama, that, by different incidents and passions, might afford the music scope to vary and display its excellence, and fill the eye with more delightful prospects, so at once to give two senses equal pleasure.26

His efforts to introduce his adapted style of Italian opera to the London public met with success, although Hill proved to be a disastrous theatre manager and his licence to run the Haymarket was revoked just nine days after the premiere of Rinaldo.27 Although Dennis’s Rinaldo and Armida and Handel’s Rinaldo were both drawn from the same episode of Gerusalemme liberata, the plots are substantially different. As Curtis Price and James Winn have observed, there seems to be a relationship between Rinaldo and earlier English works, which explains some of the alterations Hill made to the story (and perhaps this was another strategy by which Hill rendered the foreign entertainment of Italian opera palatable to London audiences).28 In particular, Price has argued that Hill’s scenario was indebted to 25

Donald Burrows described the libretto as being the joint work of Hill and Rossi; others (see n.29) disagree; in any case, the opera appears to have been written in great haste – Handel recycled a great deal of material from his earlier works. Donald Burrows, Handel (New York, 1994), p.65. 26 Preface to ‘Rinaldo’, The Librettos of Handel’s Operas: A Collection of Seventy-One Librettos Documenting Handel’s Operatic Career, ed. Ellen T. Harris, 13 vols (New York, 1989), vol.2, p.7. 27 Judith Milhous and Robert D. Hume, ‘The Haymarket Opera in 1711’, Early Music 17 (1989), 523–37 (523). Milhous and Hume demonstrate that Rinaldo was not a big ‘hit’ – ‘receipts were barely enough to cover salaries and routine expenditures’ (p.526). See also Robert D. Hume, ‘The Sponsorship of Opera in London, 1704–1720’, Modern Philology 85 (1988), 420–32 (428); Reinhold Kubik, Händels Rinaldo: Geschichte, Werk, Wirkung (Neuhausen-Stuttgart, 1982), pp.46–9. For a further account of Hill’s involvement with Rinaldo, see Christine Gerrard, Aaron Hill: The Muses’ Projector (Oxford, 2003), pp.32–8. 28 Burrows noted that Handel may have also interpreted the ‘visual-scenic element’ in terms of his previous experience in Hamburg, where spectacle was also highly valued; Handel, p.83.

Amanda Eubanks Winkler

250

Christians Pagans



British Enchanters

Rinaldo

Amadis ↔ Oriana

Rinaldo ↔ Almirena

↑ ↑ Arcabon ↔ Arcalaus (brother and sister)



↑ ↑ Armida ↔ Argante

Figure 14.1  Structural Similarities between The British Enchanters and Rinaldo

George Granville’s dramatick opera The British Enchanters (1706), a re-telling of the chivalric romance Amadis of Gaul.29 In both The British Enchanters and Rinaldo a beautiful sorceress falls in love with the ‘enemy’ and ensnares him through magic. Furthermore, in both works multiple lovers engage in romantic intrigue rather than just one couple (see Figure 14.1).30 While Price has pointed out the considerable similarities between Hill’s scenario for Rinaldo and The British Enchanters, it is equally fruitful to compare Rinaldo with Dennis’s work (see Figure 14.2). It is worth asking why Hill’s portrayals of Rinaldo and Armida are so different from Dennis’s (and, indeed, from Tasso’s). Hill may have chosen another path because Dennis’s Rinaldo and Armida had met with only a lukewarm response, but it is also possible that other factors had changed over the course of thirteen years – factors concerning morality, politics and the specific challenges of importing Italian opera onto the English stage. The character of Armida in Handel’s opera is radically different from the one in Dennis’s Rinaldo and Armida. Dennis carefully downplayed the sorceress’s sexual power, but in Handel’s Rinaldo her eroticism is amplified. In a departure from Tasso’s original story, Armida engages in an affair with Argante before she meets Rinaldo. Her affections prove remarkably fickle, as she falls instantly in love with Rinaldo, then, at the end of the opera, returns to Argante. Her changeability is fully evident in Act II, Scene 6 of the opera, when the sorceress becomes smitten with the handsome Rinaldo. While previous composers accorded significant musical and theatrical weight to this moment (Lully’s ‘Enfin, il est en ma puissance’ being the obvious example), Handel’s Armida changes her mind about the Crusader in the course of a few lines of recitative. In the dialogue that follows her change of heart, ‘Crudel, tu ch’involasti’, Armida is almost comically portrayed as a lustful woman who will deploy any means necessary to have her erotic way. She transforms herself into Almirena to trick Rinaldo into loving her and he is duped by the ruse, until Armida reverts back to her natural form and he rejects her, repulsed. Handel and Rossi reinforced this portrait of an 29

Curtis Price, ‘English Traditions in Handel’s Rinaldo’, Handel: Tercentenary Collection, ed. Stanley Sadie and Anthony Hicks (Basingstoke, 1987), pp.120–35; James A. Winn, ‘Heroic Song: A Proposal for a Revised History of English Theater and Opera, 1656–1711’, Eighteenth-Century Studies 30 (1996–7), 113–37. For a sceptical view of Price’s argument, particularly regarding Hill’s role in crafting the libretto, see J. Merrill Knapp, ‘Aaron Hill and the London Theater of his Time’, Handel-Jahrbuch 37 (1991), 177–85 (178–9). 30 For more on The British Enchanters, see my ‘Music and Politics in George Granville’s The British Enchanters’, Queen Anne and the Arts, ed. Cedric D. Reverand II (Lewisburg, 2015), pp.187–204.



Rinaldo and Armida in English Operatic Entertainments 251 Rinaldo and Armida Christians

Pagans

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Figure 14.2  Comparison of Rinaldo and Armida and Rinaldo

amorously out of control Armida in the accompanied recitative, ‘Dunque i lacci d’un volto’. While Dennis’s Armida focuses her praise on her beloved’s morality and bravery, Armida in Handel’s Rinaldo waxes rhapsodic about her own physical appearance, wondering why the hero has rejected her: And cannot then the beauties of my youth, The promis’d joys I offer’d to his view, Nor Hell’s big threatenings, lure him to my will?31

The music Handel wrote for this scene, however, imbues the sorceress with an emotional weight denied to Dennis’s Armida, who only speaks.32 The accompanied recitative abounds with concitato interjections from the orchestra; this, coupled with a halting vocal line punctuated by rests (much like Lully’s famous soliloquy in Armide), illustrates Armida’s considerable emotional distress as she swerves between murderous and amorous impulses. Armida’s sense of confusion and erotic longing is heightened in the aria, ‘Ah! crudel’. Handel continued to use the key of G minor heard in the recitative, a key long associated with lament on both the English and Italian stages; notably it is also the key Handel chose for Rinaldo’s first aria in the opera (discussed below). Woodwinds, particularly the oboes, add a plaintive tone in the opening ritornello and, when Armida’s voice enters, a held note on ‘Ah’ followed by a dissonant, downward leap of a seventh on ‘crudel’ expertly articulates her pain.33 In the B section, the unsettled concitato from the accompanied recitative returns, as Armida moves from longing to anger at the prospect that Rinaldo will not capitulate. Thus, the oscillations between anger and love found in miniature in her accompanied recitative are given full voice in her aria. Hill, Rossi and Handel also present the character of Rinaldo – the focus of the sorceress’s irrational desire – differently from Dennis or Tasso. Price has argued

31

Rossi, Rinaldo, ed. Harris, Librettos of Handel’s Operas, vol.2, p.49. As Winton Dean and John Merrill Knapp commented, this scene is one of the most musically effective moments in the entire work; see Handel’s Operas, 1704-1726, reprint edn (Woodbridge, 2009), p.174. 33 As Kubik demonstrated, this opening vocal gesture appears in three works before Handel’s Rinaldo: the cantata Un sospir, the cantata Ah! crudel and in Agrippina; Händels Rinaldo, p.96. 32

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that Handel’s Rinaldo is a flawed Orpheus figure.34 Just as the mythological musician Orpheus loses his beloved Eurydice to bitter death and vows to seek her in the Underworld, Rinaldo loses his beloved Almirena, who is kidnapped by Armida. After this pivotal moment, Rinaldo’s buffoonish, incompetently executed quest to recover Almirena becomes the primary focus of the opera. By departing from Tasso in this significant way, the creators altered the relationship between Rinaldo and Armida. Armida might temporarily trick Rinaldo, but he never wavers in his love for Almirena. Despite his constancy to his beloved, in eighteenth-century terms Rinaldo is still a problematic character, for he consistently places love before duty.35 Upon Rinaldo’s first appearance onstage, Goffredo, the Christian general, warns him that to succeed as a warrior he must temper his passion for Almirena. Goffredo advises, ‘Yet in the road to glory fall not back, / But pass by love when thy fair fame invites thee’. Almirena even cautions him: ‘The force of love has valour oft suppress’d / And glory freezes in an amorous breast’.36 Rinaldo, however, is too carried away by love to listen. His first aria, ‘Ogn’ indugio d’un amante’, is not an ode of praise to glory, duty and military might; instead Handel and his collaborators present a man controlled by his unsettled emotions and irritated by what he perceives as an unnecessary delay in the fulfilment of his amorous ambitions. This obsession with deferred pleasure – and a concomitant lack of goal orientation – pervades the musical rhetoric of this piece. The opening ritornello begins with a hesitation in the violins, and this rhythmic awkwardness (hardly the square rhythms expected of a military hero) continues as persistent syncopations obscure the pulse. A disjunct and meandering melodic line reinforces the impression of Rinaldo’s instability. When Rinaldo begins to sing, his weakness is further emphasised by his weak-beat entrance, which, coupled with some awkward text setting, gives the impression that our soldier is not a master of his own discourse. This portrayal of Rinaldo as a man wholly given over to love from the start represents a significant departure from Tasso and Dennis. According to Edward Fairfax’s English translation of Tasso’s allegory – familiar in early eighteenth-century England – Rinaldo and the other knights represented ‘the conflict and rebellion which the concupiscent and ireful powers do make with the reasonable’.37 Indeed, in Tasso we see this conflict between reason and passion – in the opening cantos, Rinaldo’s considerable abilities as a noble knight and Crusader are clearly delineated before he is ensnared by Armida’s charms. Dennis’s Rinaldo is even more strongly weighted toward rationalism, as he never completely gives himself to Armida – his reason is never completely compromised. In contrast, Handel’s 34

Price, ‘English Traditions’, pp.127–30. As Price noted, this would have appealed to English audiences, as versions of a comically tinged Orpheus figure can be found in plays by Fletcher, Settle, Davenant and D’Urfey. There are other instances of this mocking, anti-heroic impulse in Handel’s oeuvre, as discussed by Winton Dean, ‘Antiheroic Operas’, Handel and the Opera Seria (Berkeley, 1969), pp.100–22. 35 On normative masculine behaviour in this period, see Anthony Fletcher, Gender, Sex, and Subordination, 1500–1800 (New Haven, 1995), pp.322–46; Karen Harvey, ‘The History of Masculinity, circa 1650–1800’, Journal of British Studies 44 (2005), 296–311. 36 Rossi, Rinaldo, ed. Harris, Librettos of Handel’s Operas, vol. 2, p.17. 37 Lea and Gang, eds, Godfrey of Bulloigne, p.90 [spelling modernised].



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hero never behaves reasonably. He is infected by love’s darts from the beginning of the opera and those around him, even his lover, Almirena, are worried. It is difficult to explain why the creators of the 1711 Rinaldo portrayed their hero in such questionable terms. After all, one of the purposes of opera seria was to provide edifying, moral entertainment that showed its noble audiences how to behave.38 As Paul Monod and David Hunter have observed, it was precisely this audience of aristocratic and wealthy Londoners who frequented the Queen’s Theatre in the Haymarket.39 Yet, while the lesser characters of Goffredo and Eustazio might serve as exemplars of proper aristocratic behaviour, Rinaldo falls miserably short. Again, the question is why? Naturally, there is no single answer. Yet it is illuminating to consider Rinaldo within a broader historical milieu. As Reinhard Strohm averred, ‘It is no secret ... that contemporary political events played a part in determining the choice of an opera’s subject.’40 Thomas McGeary, Hunter and Monod have put forth different readings of how Handel’s operatic output relates to eighteenth-century English politics. McGeary and Hunter claimed that it is impossible to pin down Handel’s politics (and whether contemporary events shaped his compositions), as he associated with people of all political stripes and enjoyed the support and sometimes animosity of Whigs, Tories and Jacobites alike – thus, they argued, Handel’s works are politically inscrutable.41 Monod, on the other hand, stated that ‘Handel’s early operas became closely linked to issues of Whig self-definition, and to efforts to impose new standards on public art.’ Monod believes that Hill imbued Rinaldo with a moralistic tone in order to answer the Whiggish criticism of Dennis and others against Italian opera, and that the choice of Rinaldo and Armida as a topic was not coincidental: Hill wanted to improve upon Dennis’s efforts. Furthermore, the martial subject matter would have encouraged audiences to associate the triumphs of the Crusaders with the military triumphs of the Duke of Marlborough.42 Although I tend to agree with Hunter and McGeary’s warnings about close polit 38

Handel frequently did not conform to the norms of Italian opera seria, a point made by Reinhard Strohm in ‘Handel and His Italian Opera Texts’, Essays on Handel and Italian Opera (Cambridge, 1985), pp.34–79 (35–7). 39 Paul Monod, ‘The Politics of Handel’s Early Italian Operas, 1711–1718’, Journal of Interdisciplinary History 36 (2006), 445–72 (450); David Hunter, ‘Patronizing Handel, Inventing Audiences: The Intersections of Class, Money, Music and History’, Early Music 28 (2000), 32–49. 40 Strohm, ‘Handel and His Italian Opera Texts’, p.35. For a survey of the larger English context, see William Weber, ‘Handel’s London – Social, Political, and Intellectual Contexts’, The Cambridge Companion to Handel, ed. Donald Burrows (Cambridge, 1997), pp.45–54. 41 David Hunter, ‘Handel Among the Jacobites’, Music and Letters 82 (2001), 543–56; Thomas McGeary, The Politics of Opera in Handel’s Britain (Cambridge, 2013). 42 Monod, ‘The Politics of Handel’s Early London Operas’, p.448. In an earlier article, Richard Leppert agreed that Whigs were the primary sponsors of opera, although he believes that Tories were opposed to the genre (some Tories may have lambasted opera, but Monod convincingly demonstrated that the most vociferous anti-opera partisans – Addison, Steele, and Dennis – had Whiggish tendencies). Leppert, ‘Imagery, Musical Confrontation and Cultural Difference in Early 18th-Century London’, Early Music 14 (1986), 323–45, espec. pp.330–1. For Monod’s argument, see pp.453–9.

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ical readings of Handel’s operas, it is fruitful to view Rinaldo as a product of the larger uncertainties and upheavals that faced early eighteenth-century England, situating these anxieties particularly within the context of attempts to forge a coherent British identity, both inside and outside the musical realm. Through this lens the relationship between the two musical Rinaldos and their creators comes into sharper relief. In 1707, Parliament passed the Act of Union, bringing Scotland, England and Wales together. A newly unified British identity needed to be fashioned out of these disparate elements. As Linda Colley put it, ‘Britishness was superimposed over an array of internal differences in response to contact with the Other, and above all in response to conflict with the Other.’43 Such anxieties about British identity (and what constituted British manhood and womanhood) echo through early eighteenth-century polemics about the foreign genre of Italian opera, and elements of this debate affected the way Rinaldo was written for and understood by its first audiences.44 According to Colley, one of the unifying factors of this new British identity, beyond a hatred of all things French, was Protestantism.45 Indeed, contemporary critiques of Italian opera by Joseph Addison (a frustrated opera librettist himself), Richard Steele and John Dennis are remarkable in their xenophobia, as they equate the foreign (Catholic) musical genre with effeminacy and sexual depravity.46 Steele’s epilogue to his play The Tender Husband (1705) appeals to his countrymen in the strongest terms: Britons, who constant war, with factious rage, For liberty against each other wage, From foreign insult save this English stage. No more th’Italian squalling tribe admit, In tongues unknown; ’tis popery in wit. The songs (their selves confess) from Rome they bring; And ’tis High-Mass for ought you know, they sing. Husbands take care, the danger may come nigher, The woman say their eunuch is a friar.47 43

Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation 1707–1837 (New Haven, 1992), p.6. See Monod, ‘The Politics of Handel’s Early London Operas’, pp.453–9. Suzanne Aspden argued the other side of the case, claiming that English opera, balladry and folk tales (as opposed to Italian opera) were held up as the true patriotic British alternative (with all the concomitant rhetoric regarding religion, reason and gender identity), ‘Ballads and Britons: Imagined Community and the Continuity of “English” Opera’, Journal of the Royal Musical Association 122 (1997), 24–51. 45 Colley, Britons, espec. chap.1, pp.11–54. 46 Thomas McGeary, ‘Gendering Opera: Italian Opera as the Feminine Other in Britain, 1700–42’, Journal of Musicological Research 14 (1994), 17–34; and ‘“Warbling Eunuchs”: Opera, Gender, and Sexuality on the London Stage, 1705-1742’, Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Theatre Research, 2nd ser. 7 (1992), 1–22. 47 Richard Steele, The Tender Husband; or the Accomplish’d Fools (London, 1705). 44



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For Steele, Italian opera was popery and listening to such music (and associating with the singers – especially the castrati – who performed it) caused familial disintegration, as wives preferred eunuchs to their husbands, cloaking affairs under the pretence that their lovers were [Catholic] spiritual advisors – ‘a friar’. Another prominent feature of early eighteenth-century discourses about British identity is their preoccupation with what constituted a proper Englishman. As recent scholarship on early eighteenth-century masculinity has demonstrated, aristocrats as well as other wealthy landowners solidified their status by shifting the critiques regarding their own decadence onto – in the words of Thomas King – ‘a male body figured as outside privacy: the theatrical, effeminate, and finally queer male body’.48 Yet as Steele’s epilogue suggests, this public, theatrical, effeminate male body had the disturbing ability to infiltrate and disrupt private domestic life. Such anxieties work their way into discourses about the musical proclivities of the English in the criticism of John Dennis, particularly in his aforementioned An Essay on the Operas after the Italian Manner (1706) and An Essay upon Public Spirit (1711), the latter appearing in the same year as Rinaldo. Here Dennis used similar strategies to Steele – although he was concerned with male as well as female lust. For Dennis, Italian opera also fractured the family unit, as it caused men to fall into the snare of same-sex desire: The ladies, with humblest submission, seem to mistake their interest a little in encouraging operas: for the more the men are enervated and emasculated by the softness of the Italian music, the less will they care for them, and the more for one another.49

Beyond the promotion of sexual misconduct and the disintegration of families, Dennis and other commentators of the day believed that Italian opera could damage the country in the larger sense, actually contributing to the dissolution of British society.50 Therefore, Dennis believed that listening to Italian opera was morally dangerous and unpatriotic:51 Why then, if these gentlemen love their country, do they encourage that which corrupts their countrymen and makes them degenerate from themselves so much? If they are so fond of the Italian music, why did they not take it from the 48

Thomas A. King, The Gendering of Men, 1600–1750, 2 vols (Madison, 2004), vol.1, p.6. Kristina Straub makes a similar case about male actors in Sexual Suspects: EighteenthCentury Players and Sexual Ideology (Princeton, 1992), pp.27–8. 49 John Dennis, An Essay upon Public Spirit; Being a Satyr in Prose Upon the Manners and Luxury of the Times, the Chief Sources of our Present Parties and Divisions (London, 1711), p.25. 50 Suzanne Aspden, ‘“An Infinity of Factions”: Opera in Eighteenth-Century Britain and the Undoing of Society’, Cambridge Opera Journal 9 (1997), 1–19, espec. 10–13. 51 Leppert made a similar point about Dennis; ‘Imagery, Confrontation, and Cultural Difference’, p.337.

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Haymarket to their houses, and hug it like their secret sins there? ... Where, say they, is the gratitude and justice of preferring foreigners to Britons, and in a time of a deplorable war their enemies to their countrymen? Is there not an implicit contract between all the people of every nation, to espouse one another’s interest against all foreigners whatsoever?52

Not only was the genre of Italian opera problematic, so were the singers who performed it. Castrati were chided for their effeminacy (in the early eighteenth century this term was associated with two types of man: one who loved women so much that he became like one and the homosexual).53 Dovetailing with the controversy over effeminacy was the debate over the verisimilitude of castrati portraying heroes. Joseph Addison had conflicted feelings about Nicolini, the castrato who first portrayed Rinaldo. In a review of Nicolini’s performance in L’Idaspe fedele, Addison praised the singer’s acting, describing him as a ‘person whose action gives new majesty to kings, resolution to heroes, and softness to lovers’. Yet, puzzlingly, a few sentences earlier he had snickered at the singer’s attempt at lion-taming, reporting that audiences did not fear for the Italian’s safety because it was a well-known fact that a lion would not harm a ‘virgin’.54 Addison’s colleague, Richard Steele, was harsher in his criticism of Rinaldo. He mocked the idea that effeminate castrati are playing heroes (‘by the squeak of their voices the heroes ... are eunuchs’).55 The Italian divas that graced the London stage did not fare much better than their male counterparts. They were also decried in pamphlet publications for their omnivorous sexual appetites and their disruptive influence on the morals of good Englishmen and women. Singers such as Faustina and Cuzzoni, according to these pamphlets, enjoyed female and male lovers as well as non-reproductive sex with castrati. Frequently these pamphlets are written in the voice of the diva in question, adding to the titillation. For example, in An Epistle from Signore F---a to a Lady (1727), the pseudo-Faustina declares, ‘Inconstant as the wind, free as the air, / I rang’d from man to man, from fair to fair’.56 Unfortunately, the pamphlet literature

52

Dennis, An Essay Upon Public Spirit, p.22. For more on Italian opera and patriotism, see Peter W. Cosgrove, ‘Affective Unities: The Esthetics of Music and Factional Instability in Eighteenth-Century England’, Eighteenth-Century Studies 22 (1988–9), 133–55, espec. 145: ‘The threat to Britishness is feared, as it were, both from an inner Italian and an outer Italian.’ 53 On the shifting relationship between effeminacy and homosexuality in the early eighteenth century see Thomas Laqueur, Making Sex: Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (Cambridge, MA, 1992), pp.149–92; Randolph Trumbach, ‘Sodomitical Assaults, Gender Role, and Sexual Development in Eighteenth-Century London’, Journal of Homosexuality 16 (1989), 407–29. 54 The Spectator 13 (15 March 1711). 55 The Spectator 14 (16 March 1711). 56 An Epistle from Signora F----A to a Lady (Venice [sic, London], 1727), p.3.



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is silent about Elisabetta Pilotti-Schiavonetti, the Italian diva who played Armida, so no scurrilous rumours survive about her proclivities, sexual or otherwise.57 In the context of these contemporary debates about Italian opera and the singers who performed it, Handel’s Rinaldo would have produced a complicated set of meanings for listeners at the Queen’s Theatre. Given the long-standing English tendency to draw biographical connections between actors and actresses and the roles they performed, contemporary theatre-goers might have drawn parallels between the characters Rinaldo and Armida and the widely circulated debates about the sexual decadence of Italian opera singers.58 The pagan Armida’s fickle, lustful behaviour would have dovetailed neatly with rumours about the sexual profligacy of insatiable female opera singers imported from Catholic Italy. An overly passionate warrior, a man who forsakes his sacred Christian duty on the battlefield, instead pursuing his own amorous desires—Rinaldo’s behaviour replicates the critics’ worst fears about the influence of Italian opera upon the ‘public spirit’: that Italian opera (and its castrato singers) would cause men to become soft, over-amorous and effeminate, more interested in personal gratification than civic duty.59 It also echoes Addison and Steele’s critical opinion that emasculated castrati could not adequately play heroes. Admittedly one cannot fully read Rinaldo as the embodiment of the dangers represented by Italian opera or the castrati. Rinaldo, despite his considerable flaws, never falls for the foreign charms of Armida: he is patriotic in his steadfast choice of the beloved Almirena, unlike the English partisans of Italian opera described by Dennis, who rejected native entertainments for the insidious charms of a foreign genre. Placing Dennis’s ‘tragedy’ and Hill’s opera side by side, it is striking how two authors working with the same source material found such divergent solutions to the problem of making Tasso’s epic palatable to Londoners. Elements outside the 57

Suzanne Aspden discussed the portrayal of female singers in the pamphlet literature in “‘An Infinity of Factions”’, pp.7–10, and particularly Faustina and Cuzzoni in The Rival Sirens: Performance and Identity on Handel’s Operatic Stage (Cambridge, 2013). On Pilotti-Schiavonetti’s collaborative relationship with Handel, her musical reputation and her performance in Rinaldo, see Alison Clark DeSimone, ‘The Myth of the Diva: Female Opera Singers and Collaborative Performance in Early Eighteenth-Century London’, PhD Diss., University of Michigan, 2013, pp.294–335. 58 For example, my exploration of this phenomenon with regards to Anne Bracegirdle: O Let Us Howle Some Heavy Note: Music for Witches, the Mad, and the Melancholic on the Seventeenth-Century English Stage (Bloomington, 2006), pp.93–105; ‘“Our Friend Venus Performed to a Miracle”: Anne Bracegirdle, John Eccles, and Creativity’, Concepts of Creativity in Seventeenth-Century England, ed. Rebecca Herissone and Alan Howard (Woodbridge, 2013), pp.255–80. 59 In revivals Rinaldo was sometimes played by a woman; however, this does not change the thrust of my argument regarding Rinaldo’s initial reception; for information about the casts of the revivals, see Dean and Knapp, Handel’s Operas, pp.183–6. My argument regarding the castrati and their roles follows, to a certain extent, Roger Frietas’s in ‘The Eroticism of Emasculation: Confronting the Baroque Body of the Castrato’, The Journal of Musicology 20 (2003), 196–249. Freitas theorised that the vogue for castrati led to the vogue for ‘effeminate’ heroes on the operatic stage. Aspden further explored this in The Rival Sirens, pp.207–44.

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playhouse – in particular, overlapping anxieties regarding morality, gender and national identity – seem to have shaped dramatic and musical choices. Dennis, preoccupied with matters of morality and musical rationality, crafted a bloodless yet high-minded work that sought to fully integrate Eccles’s music into his otherwise spoken drama. Hill and Rossi’s Rinaldo, on the other hand, is more inscrutable. Infused with the pleasures of Handel’s music and visual spectacle, it is nonetheless troubling because the opera features a strangely ineffectual (even effeminate) protagonist and a lustful pagan sorceress. Were Hill and his creative team having their cake and eating it too? In other words, were they simultaneously forwarding the cause of Italian opera in London even as they were gently mocking the genre? There is, of course, an ironic footnote to the tale outlined here. Later in his career, Hill became an outspoken critic of Italian opera (and perhaps some of the ambiguities we find in Rinaldo might be a result of Hill’s own conflicted views about the genre). He had always hoped that Italian opera would be modified to suit English tastes and proclivities – that by supporting entertainments such as Rinaldo, he would eventually see ‘English Opera more splendid than her mother, the Italian’.60 Of course, this resurgence of English opera never came to pass. As Christine Gerrard eloquently put it, ‘the mother had suffocated the infant in its cradle’.61 Hill’s bitterness over his failure to create a space for English opera resonates throughout his 1737 publication, The Tears of the Muses. He railed against the immorality of Italian opera and its ability to corrupt even as it enthrals: Near Opera’s fribbling fugues, what Muse can stay? Where wordless warbling winnow thought, away! Music, when purpose points her not the road, Charms, to betray, and softens, to corrode. Empty of sense, the soul-seducing art Thrills a slow poison to the sick’ning heart.62

It is one of the strangest twists of musical history that the man known for promoting Italian opera so vigorously early in his career would come to hold it in such contempt, or that Hill would come to sound so much like John Dennis, his compatriot in the struggle to nourish a native English opera.

60

‘To Her Most Sacred Majesty, The Queen’, dedication to Rinaldo in Harris, ed., Librettos of Handel’s Operas, vol.2, p.5. 61 Gerrard, Aaron Hill, p.157. 62 Aaron Hill, The Tears of the Muses; in a Conference Between Prince Germanicus, and a Malcontent Party (London, 1737), p.24. Hill even wrote to Handel, beseeching him to use his talents to forward the cause of opera in English; see Gerrard, Aaron Hill, p.159.

15

Translating Myth Through Tunes: Ebenezer Forrest’s Ballad Opera Adaptation of Louis Fuzelier’s Momus Fabuliste (1719–29) Erica Levenson

E

benezer Forrest’s 1729 ballad opera Momus Turn’d Fabulist: Or, Vulcan’s Wedding opens with a self-conscious conversation between actor and author:

Player:

I perceive your scene is in the poetical Olympus, and your persons are introduc’d under the imaginary characters of the heathen gods.

Gentleman: ‘Tis true, sir, but those ancient fictions and characters are so accommodated, as to expose and ridicule the vices and follies of the present age.1

The Gentleman – here, a loosely veiled stand-in for the author – repeats a common view on the power of myth in order to justify his opera’s setting on Mount Olympus: that which is most fictional, ‘poetical’ or down-right imaginary can reveal society’s most fundamental truths. For Augustan authors from John Gay to Jonathan Swift, no genre was more truthful than the fable. Consisting of imaginary, talking animals or stock deities, fables were pithy tales that conveyed moral lessons through allegory.2 Forrest’s opera is not only constructed of fables; it is itself a commentary on the fable genre. The lead character, Momus, the god of ridicule, is banned from speaking and is allowed only to communicate in the coded language of the fable. As Momus encounters gods and goddesses throughout the opera, he sings each of them a fable that reveals their very human flaws. Forrest combined the genre of ballad opera – constructed from popular tunes interspersed with spoken dialogue – with an ongoing concern for the fable as social commentary and, indeed, oblique conduit for conveying otherwise silenced critiques. 1

Ebenezer Forrest, Momus Turn’d Fabulist: Or, Vulcan’s Wedding (London, 1729), introduction, p.ii. 2 On the use of the fable in early eighteenth-century British literature, see Jane Elizabeth Lewis, The English Fable: Aesop and Literary Culture, 1651–1740 (Cambridge, 1996), p.10; Mark Loveridge, A History of Augustan Fable (Cambridge, 1998), pp.3, 60. Loveridge explains that the word ‘myth’, used as a noun, did not enter the English or French language until the nineteenth century, so ‘fable’ was used to connote myth in the eighteenth century.

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In an era when censorship was becoming increasingly stringent, writers often employed allegorical strategies similar to Forrest’s to distance themselves from potentially offensive material while making their intentions clear enough to political sympathisers. Moreover, by obscuring authorship, they could attempt to prevent their publications from being banned.3 These conditions make the origins of Momus Turn’d Fabulist even more intriguing. Forrest based his opera on Louis Fuzelier’s comedy Momus fabuliste, ou les noces de Vulcain, which premiered at the Comédie-Française in Paris to great acclaim in 1719.4 In re-working this French comedy for the London stage, Forrest translated the text and turned the spoken fables into sung ballads. Why would he turn to this particular French source and how did he approach the task of adaptation? Did he use ballads for similar ends as the original had used fables? To answer these questions, this essay compares the English and French versions of Momus fabuliste. I demonstrate how the French version parodied a popular fable collection by Fuzelier’s literary rival, which quickly escalated into a debate about the powers of fable itself. In comparison, I show how Forrest turns the French play into a satirical commentary on censorship in England. By deploying a complex web of fables and popular tunes – with ultimate authorial responsibility hidden in distant French origins – he obscures his political convictions and lets audiences draw their own interpretations concerning his views on freedom of speech in Augustan England.

Music, Myth and Ballad Opera What was the effect of inserting mythical content – long a staple of operatic tragedies – into a comic genre? How did such a strategy help reveal ‘the follies of the present age’, as Forrest seems to have believed? The mythological and historical characters frequently found in seventeenth- and early eighteenth-century English operas – as well as in Handel’s Italian operas – became altogether supplanted in John Gay’s Beggar’s Opera of 1728 by thieves, beggars and prostitutes. The Beggar’s Opera was a major success, despite having been interpreted as a satirical portrayal of England’s then Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole. It paved the way for a new operatic genre with popular tunes interspersed with spoken dialogue and plots that concerned real people instead of gods, goddesses and historical heroes. Yet several ballad operas, including Momus Turn’d Fabulist, returned to mythological tropes after The Beggar’s Opera had so strikingly discarded them. They include: Thomas Cooke and John Mottley’s Penelope (1728), John Breval’s The Rape of Helen (1733), John Gay’s Achilles (1733) and Henry Fielding’s Eurydice (1737). These operas

3

Matthew Kinservik, Disciplining Satire: The Censorship of Satiric Comedy on the Eighteenth-Century London Stage (Lewisburg; London, 2002); on the politically coded rhetoric of Augustan satirists, see Loveridge, A History of Augustan Fable, pp.189–246. 4 Louis Fuzelier, Momus fabuliste, ou les noces de Vulcain (Paris, 1719).



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employ myth and music for satirical aims, whether to critique high culture, or politics and politicians, or myth itself.5 On a general level, the mere association of lofty gods and goddesses singing raunchy popular tunes undermined traditional notions of sovereign power associated with myth.6 The paratexts of these ballad operas frequently highlight this tension between high and low. In the preface to Penelope, the author states: ‘The graver part of our audience may be offended that Ulysses and Penelope should be presented as singing and dancing; indeed, we never heard that one could hum a tune or the other cut a caper; but I hope they have lost nothing by this addition to their characters.’7 Likewise, in John Gay’s Achilles the preface comments on the ludicrous image of brave Achilles learning to carry a tune: His scene now shows the heroes of old Greece; But how? ‘tis monstrous! In a comic piece. To bushkins, plumes, helmets, what pretence, If mighty chiefs must speak but common sense? Shall no bold diction, no poetic rage, Foam at our mouths and thunder on the stage? No – “tis Achilles, as he came from Chiron Just taught to sing as well as wield cold iron; And whatsoever critics may suppose, Our author holds, that what he spoke was prose.8

Music was therefore an essential tool in these ballad operas for unsettling notions of power traditionally associated with mythological heroes. Tunes were not merely added to ballad operas for the sake of spectacle and enjoyment, then, but played a key role in delineating the social identity of these works. While music held the power to disrupt mythical conventions, myth helped critique musical conventions, especially those of Italian opera seria. In Henry Fielding’s Eurydice, for instance, a critic and author hold a staged conversation about the opera as it is taking place. The critic remarks, ‘but pray sir, why does Orpheus talk sometimes in recitativo and sometimes out of it?’ To which the author responds, ‘Why, sir I do not care to tire the audience with too much recitativo; I observe they go to sleep at it at an opera.’9 This scene underscores Berta 5

Reprinted in Walter H. Rubsamen, ed., Classical Subjects I: Satire and Burlesque, Ballad Opera 7 (New York, 1974). 6 The relationship between myth and sovereignty in Italian opera seria has been theorised by Martha Feldman; however, Feldman mentions that the ‘very apposite issues surrounding opera buffa’, or comic opera, remain to be dealt with. See Martha Feldman, Opera and Sovereignty: Transforming Myths in Eighteenth-Century Italy (Chicago, 2007), p.38. 7 John Mottley, Penelope, a Dramatic Opera, as it is Acted at the New Theatre in the Haymarket (London, 1728). 8 John Gay, Achilles an Opera. As It Is Performed at the Theatre-Royal in Covent-Garden (London, 1733). 9 Henry Fielding, ‘Eurydice’, in Rubsamen, ed., Classical Subjects I, pp.253–90.

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Joncus’s observation that elements of dramma per musica, popularised in London by Handel, were integrated into ballad operas, though often re-contextualised for humorous purposes.10 While the unnamed author of this staged dialogue points to recitative as the staple feature of Italian opera, the tragic character of Orpheus is equally integral to the comedy of this scene. Here, Orpheus – known for charming all beings with his music – becomes musically befuddled and feels laughably out of place in Fielding’s comic rendition; the displaced mythical and musical tropes (underscored by the critic’s and author’s dialogue) mutually reinforce this sense of incongruity.11 Though they engage with contrasting musical and fabulist traditions, both the French and English versions of Momus fabuliste convey this same disparity between high and low cultures through the interactions of satire, music and myth.

The Politics of Adapting French Sources in England Transforming a French play into an English work was a common yet, nevertheless, controversial practice because of ongoing political conflict between England and France during the early eighteenth century. Why, then, did Forrest base his opera on a French play if such a decision might have been viewed unfavourably by English audiences?12 The answer to this question pertains to the ballad opera’s relationship to English national identity. In the early eighteenth century, the project of reclaiming popular ballads to create English operas was largely a nationalistic one, as Suzanne Aspden has shown; moreover, the view of ballad opera as a native English genre that was established in opposition to Italian opera has persisted until recently.13 Recent studies, however, have shown that ballad opera was modelled on a similar French genre – comédies en vaudevilles – produced contemporaneously in both Paris and London.14 Nonetheless, these studies have yet to probe how the French origins of the genre were dealt with in ballad operas, and their contemporaneous reception. To do so yields a new perspective on ballad opera’s ideological commitments: instead of being hidden or denied, apprehensions about appropriating French sources were openly performed as part of the translated work.15 10

Berta Joncus, ‘Handel at Drury Lane: Ballad Opera and the Production of Kitty Clive’, Journal of the Royal Musical Association 131 (2006), 179–226. 11 On Eurydice, see Vanessa Rogers, ‘Writing Plays “In the Sing-Song Way”: Henry Fielding’s Ballad Operas and Early Musical Theater in Eighteenth-Century London’, PhD Diss., University of Southern California, 2007, pp.36–7. 12 Linda Colley, Britons: Forging the Nation, 1707–1837 (New Haven, 1992); Jeremy Black, Natural and Necessary Enemies: Anglo-French Relations in the Eighteenth Century (Athens, 1987). 13 Suzanne Aspden, ‘Ballads and Britons: Imagined Community and the Continuity of “English” Opera’, Journal of the Royal Musical Association 122 (1997), 24–51. 14 Vanessa Rogers, ‘John Gay, Ballad Opera and the Théâtres de La Foire’, EighteenthCentury Music 11 (2014), 173–213; Daniel Heartz, ‘“The Beggar’s Opera” and “OpéraComique en Vaudevilles”’, Early Music 27 (1999), 42–53. 15 On the formation of an English ‘nation’ through and against France, see Colley, Britons.



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In Momus, neither the title-page of the printed London edition nor the advertisement for the performance reveal that Forrest’s ballad opera derives from a French comedy; nonetheless, the author explicitly acknowledges this fact in the introduction:16 Sir, I was myself an eyewitness of it, being in France when this piece first appeared on the stage, and saw it represented several nights with considerable share of pleasure, which put me upon rendering it into English. In this performance, I have taken the liberty of turning the fables, which were spoke in France, into ballads to be sung, and have heightened several of the scenes by the addition of other ballads, suitable to the present taste of the town. In short, I have made that an English Opera, which was but a French farce.

As with many of the prefaces and prologues of English dramatic works that used borrowed foreign source material, the gentleman’s rhetoric blends admiration and condescension.17 He advertises the changes he made to the French play, stressing the potential of genre, music and nationality to make his version distinctive. The added cachet of ‘opera’ shows him trying to elevate his version above the French original, which he deems merely a farce.18 Forrest may have also emphasised the play’s new status as an English ‘opera’ in order to position it in the ballad opera lineage begun by Gay or, indeed, as part of the larger project to create a native English opera begun in the 1700s and 1710s.19 Many of the English ballad tunes used in Forrest’s opera (and most other ballad operas) extended into the recesses of English aural memory and were already familiar to eighteenth-century English theatre-goers to varying degrees. When the texts of the tunes were altered in ballad operas, the overlapping meanings of new text and old tune often produced ironic, humorous or satirical associations. These moments of shared auditory recognition had the potential to bring the audience into direct engagement with their own musical heritage.20 Forrest’s goal was not solely to translate the French, then, but to create something entirely new: to turn French into English not only in terms of language, but also in terms of the work’s engagement with English history and culture. 16

The Daily Journal advertisement states: ‘Never acted before, by command of his Royal Highness. By the company of comedians at the Theatre-Royal in Lincoln’s-Inn-Fields, this day, being Wednesday the 3rd day of December, will be presented, a New Opera, called Momus Turn’d Fabulist: Or, Vulcan’s Wedding. After the manner of The Beggar’s Opera. All the habits and scenes entirely new’ (Daily Journal, Wednesday 3 December 1729, issue 2779). 17 Paulina Kewes, Authorship and Appropriation: Writing for the Stage in England, 1660– 1710 (Oxford, 1998). 18 Eighteenth-century theorists of comedy ‘excoriated farce as vulgar’. See Jan Hokenson, The Idea of Comedy: History, Theory, Critique (Madison, NJ, 2006), p.32. 19 See Roger Fiske, English Theatre Music in the Eighteenth Century (London, 1973), pp.51– 62; Eric Walter White, A History of English Opera (London, 1983), pp.137–52. 20 For more on the use of ballads to formulate British nationhood, see Aspden, ‘Ballads and Britons’, pp.24–51.

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In order to convey why Forrest might have chosen the French play that he did for his adaptation, it will help to explain the theatrical politics at the time of the French version’s creation. The French source for Forrest’s ballad opera, titled Momus fabuliste, ou les noces de Vulcain, premiered in Paris on 26 September 1719. Louis Fuzelier wrote it as a parody of the newly published Fables nouvelles – a collection of fables written by Fuzelier’s contemporary, Antoine Houdar de la Motte.21 Fuzelier wrote predominantly for the Théâtres de la Foire (the fairground theatres) in Paris. However, he created Momus fabuliste for the Comédie-Française, the fair theatres’ rival. This switch in theatrical company was necessitated by the fact that all fairground performances were suspended throughout the entirety of 1719 for having been too satirical.22 The French version of Momus fabuliste therefore originated in an environment where censorship was an issue, resulting in closed theatres, exiled performers and the restriction of fairground entertainments.23 The plot of Fuzelier’s play reflects this current historical moment. When Momus ridicules Jupiter for his adulterous intentions, Jupiter forbids him from speaking satirically, threatening to banish him from the heavens. Jupiter’s ban on satire prompts the plot’s central formula: Momus invents fables to convey his thoughts ‘without speaking’ (‘sans parler’). Like La Motte’s fables, Momus’s fables use animals to allegorically portray a general vice or virtue. Under Fuzelier’s pen, however, fables become more than a means of instruction: they critique both La Motte – Fuzelier’s literary rival – and, more generally, the injustices of censorship. The plot as a whole can be understood as a fable in its own right – one that depicts the restriction of free speech and the creative means by which writers evaded such restrictions.24 Despite its controversial subject matter, Momus fabuliste became a huge success in Paris: it was performed thirty-eight times in 1719 alone and was subsequently revived in 1733.25 Momus, no matter how biting his ridicule, always seemed to win the public’s approval. 26 Although it was created ten years later, the English ballad opera version of Momus fabuliste would have been experienced in a similar atmosphere as the original French version, complete with theatrical rivalries and stringent censorship 21

Antoine Houdart de La Motte, Fables nouvelles, dédiées au Roy (Paris, 1719). François Parfaict, Memoires pour servir à l’histoire des spectacles de la foire (Paris, 1743), ‘1718 Foire Saint Laurent’, pp.218–19. 23 For more on the French fairground performers who left Paris to perform in London, see Erica Levenson, ‘Traveling Tunes: French Comic Opera and Theater in London, 1714–1745’, PhD Diss., Cornell University, 2017, pp.49–54. 24 Like Momus, Fuzelier was also on contentious turf (given the play’s satire of La Motte and Parisian theatrical institutions at large), but his tactic for evading censorship was to produce the play anonymously. See Antoine de Léris, Dictionnaire portatif historique et littéraire des théâtres (Paris, 1763), and Fuzelier’s preface in the 1719 edition of Momus fabuliste. 25 Alexandre Coupé de Saint-Donat, Fables (Rousselon, 1825), p.210. See also ‘Momus Fabuliste: Performances’, Calendrier électronique des spectacles sous l’anciens régime et sous la révolution www.cesar.org.uk/cesar2/titles/titles.php?fct=edit&script_ UOID=153018. Accessed 1/9/2015. 26 For a detailed account of the character Momus’s role as a ‘philosophe’ in this play and others, see Dominique Quéro, Momus philosophe: recherches sur une figure littéraire du XVIIIe siècle (Paris; Geneva, 1995). 22

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of plays.27 It too was in dialogue with a contemporary work: although Forrest still maintains general allusions to La Motte’s fable collection, his ballad opera resounds more explicitly with the echoes of John Gay’s Beggar’s Opera – not as a parody, but as a coded form of political critique. After The Beggar’s Opera’s immediate success in 1728, London theatre managers seized upon the lucrative possibilities of this new genre and produced numerous ballad operas that imitated John Gay’s. Momus Turn’d Fabulist, one among them, premiered on 3 December 1729 under the management of John Rich, who also played the title-role of Momus. The work was reasonably popular in London, with a total of twenty-three performances at Lincoln’s Inn Fields between 1729 and 1731, in addition to three performances at Covent Garden between 1733 and 1735.28 Forrest blatantly announces his ballad opera’s imitation of The Beggar’s Opera on the title-page of the printed edition: ‘An opera after the manner of The Beggar’s Opera, as it is perform’d at the Theatre Royal at Lincoln’s Inn Fields.’ The Player and the Gentleman from the introduction also allude to the The Beggar’s Opera in their opening conversation: Player:

And so this may properly be said to be the Opera of the Gods.

Gentleman: Right, Sir! – And I wish you may get as much by the gods as you did by the beggars. Tho’ I have no proportion of merit.

On one level, to announce that a ballad opera was imitating Gay’s could be interpreted as a commercial ploy; on another, though, it was a political statement. After The Beggar’s Opera critiqued the Walpole administration, the censorship of plays became strictly enforced. In fact, Gay’s Polly, the sequel to The Beggar’s Opera, was banned from public performance.29 As Forrest’s Momus Turn’d Fabulist was performed directly following this incident, his deliberate references to Gay could have signified a political move to align the play with the ‘Tory wits’ (Swift, Fielding, Gay and others) who gained a reputation for speaking out against the Whig government using satire.30 Although the transformation of a French comedy into an English ballad opera had its own political undertones at the time, Forrest’s allegor 27

Kinservik describes the atmosphere in England: ‘From the vantage point of January 1728, nobody could have guessed how radically the theatre world was about to change. Over the next ten years, the number of theatres operating on a regular or semi-regular basis more than doubled; official censorship of plays – including outright suppression – became more common; and satiric plays began increasingly to deal with topical, political matters and were often oppositional.’ Disciplining Satire, p.55. 28 See A.H. Scouten, W. Van Lennep, E. L. Avery et al., eds, The London Stage, 1660–1800; A Calendar of Plays, Entertainments & Afterpieces, Together with Casts, Box-Receipts and Contemporary Comment, 5 vols (Carbondale, IL, 1960–8), prt.3, vol.1, pp.21–517. 29 There is extensive scholarship on this topic: see Kinservik, Disciplining Satire, p.65; Loveridge, A History of Augustan Fable, p.228; White, A History of English Opera, pp.177–8; Calhoun Winton, ‘Polly and the Censors’, John Gay and the London Theatre (Lexington, 1993), pp.128–44 (130–3); David Nokes, John Gay, A Profession of Friendship (Oxford, 1995), p.456. 30 Loveridge, A History of Augustan Fable, p.228.

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ical use of the French source along with allusions to John Gay reveals how he was able to navigate tense years of artistic censorship in London.

Transforming Fables from French to English As we have seen, the allusions to John Gay and The Beggar’s Opera were doubtless a primary conduit for Forrest’s coded political critiques. Yet his intriguing decision to highlight the original French version’s fables with sung ballads represents a potentially richer terrain for transmitting coded speech. Did Forrest employ fables as an analogously cloaked form of political rhetoric? To illuminate Forrest’s unique adaptation, we need to explore the cross-Channel history of the fable genre. Augustan writers who were interested in fables largely drew on the examples of their French peers, especially La Fontaine and La Motte. These authors had written foundational collections, and just as important, lengthy prefaces that offered theories of how fables should be composed, used in education, and even disseminated.31 La Motte’s fable collection was translated into English in 1721 and exerted an influence on both fable discourse and composition in Britain for decades.32 Its popularity among British readers would have informed audience members’ interpretation and understanding of Forrest’s ballad opera. Yet despite the availability of La Motte to English readers, Forrest draws most heavily on John Gay’s fable collection – a kind of home-grown response to the French collections – published in 1727.33 Comparing how Forrest and Fuzlier engage with the fable collections of their time reveals how fables were used as satirical commentary in each country. In the French version of Momus fabuliste, Fuzelier parodies La Motte’s Fables nouvelles in both text and music. La Motte dedicated his fable collection to King Louis XV, who was only nine years old at the time of its publication. He intended the collection to be a form of moral education in the guise of entertaining tales, which he makes apparent in his dedication: ‘while fables in appearance, these tales present truths’.34 Fuzelier chooses to have Momus, the god of ridicule, relate the majority of the fables, twisting La Motte’s philosophical tales for the young king into portraits of infidelity and corruption; though these portraits still reveal the ‘truth’, Fuzelier adds a satirical dimension not present in the original collection. For instance, Fuzelier parodies the stylistic features of La Motte’s fables. As he describes in his preface to Fables nouvelles, La Motte believed that a fable’s truth should arrive ‘neither at the end nor the beginning’ lest it should disrupt the entire allegory.35 Fuzelier lampoons this idea in his play when the character Mars inter 31

For a discussion of how fable discourse developed during the long eighteenth century, see Thomas Noel, Theories of the Fable in the Eighteenth Century (New York, 1975). 32 Antoine Houdart de La Motte, One Hundred New Court Fables: Written for the Instruction of Princes, and a True Knowledge of the World, trans. Robert Samber (London, 1721), Houdart de La Motte, Fables nouvelles. 33 John Gay, Fables (London, 1727). 34 Paraphrased from the French, ‘Fables en apparence, en effet vérité’, Houdart de La Motte, Fables nouvelles, p.iii. 35 ‘La vérité une fois choisie, il faut la cacher sous l’allégorie, & à la rigueur, on ne devrait l’exprimer ni à la fin ni au commencement de la Fable.’ Houdart de La Motte, Fables nouvelles, p.xv.



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rupts Momus’s fable, exclaiming that he already knows the answer to its moral. Momus, echoing La Motte’s preface, states, ‘Ahem! Pray, hold! Have you ever seen the commentary precede the text? What impropriety!’36 When Mars identifies the ‘truth’ at the beginning of the fable, instead of allowing it to unfold organically throughout Momus’s narration, he breaks one of La Motte’s central rules for fable construction. Forrest omits this subtle allusion to La Motte’s Fables nouvelles in his ballad opera, but includes other references that might have resonated with English playwrights and audiences. In the French version, Fuzelier mocks La Motte’s belief that fables should be both entertaining and educational: ‘Ah! But, is not satire instructive and, what’s more, enjoyable? Well, let him make some purely moral fables and he will judge accordingly. For me, I will be careful not to take that tone; it does not succeed.’37 His commentary implies that moralising fables, such as La Motte’s, fall short of being either instructional or entertaining unless they are enlivened by satire. The corresponding passage in the English version promotes a similar view, though with a slightly loose translation: ‘They’ll say perhaps my Fables are nothing but Satyrs – but is not satire [satyr] instructive and diverting at the same time? ‘Egad, let he who will make your musty moral fables for me; I hope, I shall never be so dull.’38 If a theatre-goer overlooked this critique of La Motte in the English version, this statement could have still been relevant as English writers and playwrights shifted away from using fables for moral education during the late seventeenth century to using them for political satire in the 1720s and 1730s.39 Indeed, we see this shift exemplified in John Gay’s own collection of fables published in 1727, just two years before Forrest wrote Momus Turn’d Fabulist. Like La Motte, Gay did not merely write fables; he formulated theories about how they should be written and why they were important. Yet, like Fuzelier, Gay seemed particularly interested in the fable’s satirical potential. In his fable ‘The Dog and the Fox’, Gay questions the epistemological basis of satire: ‘Like him, I draw from general nature; Is’t I or you, then fix the satire?’40 In other words, when satire is allegorical, or derived from ‘general nature’, does the writer or reader supply its meaning? Forrest emphasises this same idea from Gay’s fables in his ballad opera, by making several additions to his translation of the French text. First, in the added introduction, the Player states: ‘Well I wish your satire may not give offence’, to 36

‘Eh! De grâce, arrêtez: a-t-on jamais vu le commentaire marcher devant le texte? Quel dérèglement!’ Fuzelier, Momus fabuliste, p.33. 37 ‘Eh! Mais, la satire n’est-elle pas instructive et de plus réjouissante? Ma foi fasse des fables purement morales qui le jugera à propos, pour moi, je me garderai bien de prendre cette ton-là; il ne réussit pas.’ (ibid., p.16). 38 Forrest, Momus Turn’d Fabulist, p.17. 39 Amanda Eubanks Winkler recognises a similar shift in operatic treatments of myth, from moralising to political, in her chapter in this volume. See also Kinservik, Disciplining Satire; Annabel M. Patterson, Fables of Power: Aesopian Writing and Political History (Durham, 1991). 40 Gay, Fables, p.205.

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which the Gentleman replies, ‘Impossible; since it exposes vice in general, and is levell’d at no particular persons. Besides, he that takes the satire makes it.’ Moreover, at the end of the ballad opera, Mercury relates a fable about a cat (also not in the French version) stating: ‘Who seeks a moral to this tale, shall have their wants supply’d.’41 Both statements imply that it is up to the reader to make the satirical associations, which renders the author’s satirical intent ambiguous and, as a result, makes him difficult to condemn. As scholars have noted, the claim of general satire – or ‘general expression’ – was a rhetorical ploy commonly used among Augustan satirists in their anti-Whig writings.42 As I will demonstrate, this approach contrasts with Fuzelier’s delivery of satire in the French version, in which he unveils, rather than obscures, each fable’s target of critique; his use of music takes on a similar role.

From French Vaudevilles to English Ballads When adapting Fuzelier’s Momus fabuliste as a ballad opera, Forrest also confronted the challenge of translating a theatrical genre that, in France, used music to build complicated allusions, usually for satirical ends. Given Forrest’s emphasis on the original French play’s non-musical characteristics (‘I have taken the liberty of turning the fables, which were spoke in France, into ballads to be sung’), an English audience might not realise that the French original did in fact include music: an air sung by Momus, in addition to a final divertissement with music by Jean-Baptiste Maurice Quinault. As I will demonstrate, these musical moments – even if few in number – were vital to the French work’s satirical underpinnings and created aural allusions to other works that the original audience would have known. How did Forrest translate this music for an English audience and was his approach to the music, like his adaptation of spoken fables, laden with political significance? Fuzelier employs diegetic music during a scene where Mars and Apollo are fighting about who represents the worthier suitor of the goddess Venus. Apollo brags about his musical abilities, while Mars touts his military prowess. Momus responds to their quarrel by telling two fables: one about a lion (‘le lion petit maître’) who believes his courage and military deeds exempt him from satire, and another about a nightingale (‘le rossignol amoureux’) who thinks he can win any bird’s love with his song. As the god of music and poetry, Apollo is the obvious target of the nightingale fable, while Mars, the god of war, is ridiculed in the lion fable. In the middle of telling the nightingale fable, however, Momus alludes to another bard besides Apollo – La Motte. He does so by singing a specific operatic air taken directly from the sommeil, or sleep scene, of André Cardinal Destouches’s Issé, a pastorale héroïque with a libretto written by none other than La Motte (see text and translation in Table 15.1)

41

Forrest, Momus Turn’d Fabulist, p.69. Loveridge, A History of Augustan Fable, p.228. Winton, John Gay and the London Theatre, pp.132–3.

42

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Table 15.1  Verse Sung by Momus from Destouches and La Motte’s Issé (1719), Act IV, Scene 3 Que d’éclat! Que d’attraits! Contentez-vous, mes yeux; Parcourez tous ses charmes; Payez-vous, s’il se peut, des larmes Qu’on vous a vu verser pour eux.

What radiance! What beauties! Be contented, my eyes; Look upon her charms; Pay, if possible, with the tears Which you [have been seen to] shed for them. [my translation]

Issé was first performed in 1697 and revived in 1719, only a few weeks prior to the premiere of Fuzelier’s Momus fabuliste.43 The words and music that Momus sings here are quoted unaltered from Issé. Viewed on its own, this air is far from humorous. Yet a serious, poignant air, sung in its new context by the god of ridicule, underscores both Momus’s and Fuzelier’s satirical intentions. As the music would have been fresh in the ears of the theatre-going public, it could have evoked associations with Issé’s plot, which also involves Apollo in a love triangle. The music therefore equates La Motte, the author of this air’s text, with Apollo, who is doubly represented in both fable and opera. The air’s association with Issé’s sommeil would further imply, within the new context of the nightingale fable, that the female bird (Venus) is sleeping or being lulled to sleep while the nightingale (Apollo) serenades her. This connotation is reinforced by an earlier comment Mars makes to Apollo: ‘But if you marry Venus, I fear your harp will lay her asleep.’44 By invoking La Motte through both music and myth, Fuzelier portrays Apollo’s music as little more than a cure for insomnia; likewise, he implies the same of La Motte’s libretto. The music used for the nightingale fable in the English ballad opera version, however, is not the sommeil from Destouches’s Issé, a musical allusion that might have been lost on an English crowd. In its place is ‘an old and very favourite ditty known in many parts of England’, commonly called the ‘The Merry Haymakers’ or the ‘Haymaker’s Song’. The text set to the tune of ‘The Merry Haymakers’ in the English version depicts the story of a female linnet that rejects a nightingale (Apollo) in favour of a sparrow (Mars): Both parties show’d their eloquence, before the judge belov’d When (to the Nightingale’s surprise) the sparrow she approv’d; Assigning for her reason, tho’ music charm’d the ear, The sparrow’s power could every hour a female heart ensnare.45 43

Issé was revived on many occasions, but notably for the third time on 7 September 1719. For Issé’s performance history, see the introduction to the facsimile edition of André Cardinal Destouches, Issé: pastorale héroïque, ed. Robert Fajon, Jérôme de La Gorce and Wendy Hilton (New York, 1984), p.xxiii. 44 Forrest, Momus Turn’d Fabulist, p.31; Fuzelier, Momus fabuliste, p.27. 45 I have only quoted the final verse (out of three). See Forrest, Momus Turn’d Fabulist, p.38.

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Despite the similar plot, the English tune evokes different connotations than its French counterpart; in this case, the original text of the English ballad references ‘hay-making’ (a selection of verses is given here): 1. In the merry month of June, In the prime time of the year; Down in the yonder meadows There runs a river clear: And many a little fish Doth in that river play; And many a lad and many a lass, Go abroad a-making hay. 3. Here’s nimble Ben and Tom, With pitchfork, and with rake: Here’s Molly, Liz, and Susan, Come here their hay to make. While sweet jug, jug, jug! The nightingale doth sing, From morning unto even-song, As they are hay-making. 6. And when that bright daylight, The morning it was come, They lay down and rested Till the rising of the sun: Till the rising of the sun, When the merry larks do sing, And each lad did rise and take his lass, And away to hay-making.46

The original text, with its surreptitious sexual innuendos, was typically used as a drinking song in the ballad opera repertoire.47 In addition, the nightingale, appearing in the third verse, provides a link to the tune’s new context. Set to the tune of ‘The Merry Haymakers’, the nightingale’s (Apollo’s) serenade becomes reduced to background music for bacchanal activity in the countryside. Rather than critique a specific author, the satire implicated by the tune serves on a general level to undermine Apollo’s blind pride in his own artistic abilities. After relating the nightingale fable, Momus sings Mars a fable about a ‘bully lion’ who tries to gain power by force, and who believes power earns him praise: ‘A lion

46

For full text, see Robert Bell, ed., Ancient Poems, Ballads, and Songs of the Peasantry of England (London, 1861), pp.171–2. 47 See, for example, Charles Coffey, The Beggar’s Wedding (1729).

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in power was cruel and proud, imagining tyranny gain’d him applause.’48 Although expressed to gods who represent each other’s opposites, both fables serve as warnings against hubris. When their similar faults are brought into relief, Mars and Apollo’s distinct allegorical associations collapse. Forrest’s setting of fables to wellknown ballad tunes further augments this process. As I will demonstrate, Apollo and Mars are released from their roles in mythical tradition – their status as literary constructs unveiled – once they begin to sing. In the English version, the tension between tune and myth is most perceptible when Apollo and Mars sing ballads that musically signify their allegorical personas. Mars sings about how he is irresistible to women to the tune of ‘Let Burgundy Flow’ – originally a battle song honouring King George I. He soon launches into a second ballad, singing similar lyrics to the tune of ‘The Widows Shall All Have Spouses’ – a war song depicting soldiers returning home to their wives after battle. Mars, as the great battle god, fittingly sings only war tunes, yet he taints their original patriotic flavour with his own arrogant lyrics. Conquest in war becomes conquest in the bedroom: A soldier wins a beauty, As he gains a frontier town, By being on constant duty, Besieging for love or renown. Love’s garrisons weak and tender, Have virtue a while their defender, But the hero comes With the beat of drums, And into the Citadel throws his bombs, He storms, and they surrender.49

By juxtaposing authentic war tunes with sexual swagger, Forrest undermines Mars’s rhetoric by drawing attention to its incongruity with his allegorical persona. Following Mars, Apollo espouses newfangled ideas about the democratising power of wit, yet sets them to the tunes of saccharine, pastoral favourites, such as ‘Much I Lov’d a Charming Creature’ and ‘In Kent so Fam’d of Old’ (the latter being a story, appropriately, about the triumph of love over war). Apollo’s poetry is modern; however, his old-fashioned pastoral melodies with repeated strophes do become, in a sense, sleep-inducing. The tunes sung by both Apollo and Mars thus symbolise their mythical characters, but their lyrics complicate these associations and bring them down to earth: although it is an opera of the gods, it just as well may be an opera of the beggars. The war heroes and poets attending Forrest’s ballad opera might have been offended by the characters of Apollo and Mars; however, they no doubt would have found it difficult to read this satire as critiquing specific individuals. The 48

Forrest, Momus Turn’d Fabulist, p.36. Ibid., p.32.

49

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music, merely old English ballads, is innocent. The characters – allegorical representations of music and war – are also just symbols. The fact, too, that the plot as a whole has been lifted from a French play, adds yet another layer of allegory. What meaning does one follow when these different elements are all at play? By contrast, if La Motte had been present in the audience of Fuzelier’s play, it would have been all too clear that he was the butt of the joke.50 One final example of a French vaudeville turned English ballad will elucidate how musical fables function differently in the two versions of Momus fabuliste. As stated previously, the final scene of the French version contains music as part of a divertissement, although the tune employed, ‘Ma fable est-elle obscure? lure lure’, has no known earlier source; in fact, it likely originated in the ending divertissement of Fuzelier’s play. The main characters take turns singing this tune to a different text, with each of the strophes representing a fable that depicts infidelity. Momus sings first, to the text in Table 15.2. This fable implies that a woman has been unfaithful to her husband – her pregnancy after only ten days of marriage is testament to her affair with ‘some youngster’. The tune ‘Ma fable est-elle obscure?’ became popular in France, and not only in Parisian theatres. The tune was included in a manuscript collection of vaudeville tunes that relates historical anecdotes from the years 1697 to 1731.51 The tune is reworked with new text in this manuscript, and even contains descriptions in the margins to explain any references the reader might not understand (Table 15.3). That the new text is also a fable is no coincidence; it helps recall the tune’s origin in Fuzelier’s play. If the fable of the warbler and the canary is not at first understood, the clever refrain suggests that the name Richelieu would trigger the correct association. As the marginal comments reveal, the Regent’s daughter (Mademoiselle Valois, here symbolised by the warbler) had an affair with the Duc de Richelieu before her marriage to the Prince of Modena (represented by the owl) in 1718, only a year prior to Momus fabuliste’s production. The tune’s main question – ‘is my fable unclear?’ – in both the original and new texts, not only urges the reader to recognise the embedded allusion in the fable, but also to make the connection with a tune that symbolises infidelity in its original context. If one is still unsure, the final line of the tune always supplies a specific name or reference. In this sense, Fuzelier’s version does not leave the reading of the fable open to interpretation; music helps to reinforce rather than obscure the fable’s target of critique. This same final scene in the English version maintains the French version’s format: each main character sings a different verse, with each verse being a new fable on the theme of infidelity. Instead of ‘Ma fable est-elle obscure’, however, the English version uses ‘Parson upon Dorothy’, one of the most frequently circulated tunes in the ballad operas produced by theatre manager John Rich.52 This tune first 50

By no surprise, the rival French authors engaged in a pamphlet war. See Louis Fuzelier, Discours à l’occasion d’un discours de Monsieur de la Motte (Paris, 1731). 51 ‘Momus Fabuliste’, Recueil de chansons choisies en vaudevilles. Pour server à l’histoire anecdottes depuis 1697 jusques à 1731, Bibliothèque Nationale de France: Musique Manuscrite Res VMA MS-7(2), p.640. 52 See Berta Joncus and Vanessa Rogers, ‘Beyond The Beggar’s Opera: John Rich and English Ballad Opera’, ‘The Stage’s Glory’: John Rich, 1692–1761, ed. Berta Joncus and Jeremy Barlow (Newark, 2011), pp.184–204 (Table 11.4, p.195).

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Table 15.2  Verse Sung by Momus in the Final Vaudeville of Fuzelier’s Momus Fabuliste (1719) Un vieux bichon voulant devenir père Trouva parti malgré son poil crasseux Dix jours après son bichon fut mère, Et lui donna trois Braques vigoureux Mari barbon, ma fable est-elle obscure, Lure Lure, Quelque Cadet l’expliquera Lare Larela

An old pet dog wanting to become a father Found a match despite his dirty fur. Ten days later his wife was a mother And gave him three vigorous pups. Married old fogey, is my fable obscure Lure Lure Some youngster will explain it. Lare Larela [my translation]

Table 15.3  Verse and Marginalia from ‘Momus Fabuliste’, Recueil de chansons choisies en vaudevilles. Pour servir à l’histoire, anecdottes depuis 1697 jusques à 1731 Une fauvette aimait, malgré son père, Avec ardeur un jeune canari; Delà les monts son père trop sévère Lui a donné un hiboux pour mary Belle Valois ma fable est elle obscure?   Lure lure lure   Richelieu vous l’expliquera   Lalala la

A warbler loved ardently, despite her father, a young canary. Beyond the mountains, her strict father married her to an owl. Beautiful Valois, is my fable unclear?   Lure lure   Richelieu will explain it to you   Lalala la

[Marginalia] Mlle de Valois mariée contre son gré au prince de Modène. Elle avait .... en intrigue avec le Duc de Richelieu qui fut mis a la Bastille sous le prétexte qui’il voulait lutté le royaume au roi d’Espagne …

[Marginalia]: Mademoiselle Valois was married against her will to the prince of Modena. She had an intrigue with the Duc de Richelieu who was put into the Bastille under the pretext of having wanted to fight the kingdom of the King of Spain... [my translation]

appeared in John Playford’s The Dancing Master in 1653, and remained in the many versions of this collection up until 1728.53 As this tune accompanied instructions for learning a specific country-dance, it could have evoked associations with movement more so than a specific text. John Gay, however, notably used this same tune in Polly with the following text: 53

See John Playford, The Dancing Master, or Plain and Easy Rules for the Dancing of Country Dances (London, 1653), p.83.

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The soldiers, who by trade must dare The deadly cannon’s sounds; You may be sure, betimes prepare For fatal blood and wounds. The men who with adventurous dance, Bound from the cord on high, Must own they have the frequent chance By broken bones to die. Since rarely then Ambitious men Like others lose their breath; Like these I hope, They know a rope Is but their natural death.54

Although it depicts a scene of war and tightrope walkers, this text can be interpreted metaphorically to describe the risk of ambition in one’s vocation. On one level, ‘a rope’ alludes to the highwayman Macheath’s near-death by hanging at the end of The Beggar’s Opera. On another level, though, the text mirrors how Gay was risking not only his own career, but also his life, to speak out against censorship and corrupt politics in the playhouse. When the same tune of ‘Parson upon Dorothy’ is used in Forrest’s Momus Turn’d Fabulist, it may have been intended in a similar spirit, or as a nod to Polly. Given that Momus Turn’d Fabulist was performed at the same theatre as The Beggar’s Opera and under the same management, it may have even served as a kind of substitute sequel for Polly. As such, the use of ‘Parson upon Dorothy’ for the finale of Momus Turn’d Fabulist, could have been meant as a tribute to Gay, whose Polly was never produced in his lifetime, or perhaps as a means of celebrating freedom of expression in a restrictive environment. Is ‘Parson Upon Dorothy’ simply a beloved dance tune with bawdy connotations, or does its appearance in this ballad opera make an allusion to a work whose mere mention was viewed as politically loaded in the late 1720s? The latter reading would have required a theatre-goer to possess some degree of familiarity with this tune’s text in Polly, otherwise this connection might have gone unnoticed. Some, like the British commentator below, missed the ‘wit’ entirely: Last week, I unfortunately went to the first night of the new thing call’d Momus Fabulist, such stuff did I never see presented under the name of a play, such a cold absurd heap of downright ribaldry without scenes, voices, plot, or even the aiming at wit as I believe was scarce ever offered on any Theatre.55 54

John Gay, Polly: An Opera, Being the Second Part of the Beggar’s Opera (London, 1729), p.54. 55 Thomas Edwards to John Clerke, quoted in Vedder M. Gilbert, ‘Unrecorded Comments on John Gay, Henry Travers, and Others’, Notes and Queries 198 (1953), 337–9 (338). Edwards’s commentary later reveals that his negative opinion of the ballad opera was not shared by the majority of the audience on opening night: ‘the few who would have damn’d it [Momus Turn’d Fabulist], were vastly outnumbered by the applauders’.



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As this review demonstrates, the satire in Forrest’s Momus Turn’d Fabulist is frustratingly abstract, avoiding an explicit target or allegorical coherence. Indeed, the tune ‘Parson upon Dorothy’s general application in many ballad operas to indicate dancing and merriment renders a potentially scathing critique of censorship innocent or, at least, ambiguous. Both the French and English versions of Momus fabuliste fulfilled comparable socio-political functions in the London and Paris theatrical scenes, resonating with political tensions and literary traditions that were similar in both cities. In that sense, Forrest’s adaptation brings the distinct popular theatrical traditions from both sides of the Channel into closer alignment, even as he tried to differentiate the French and English versions on musical and generic grounds. Upon comparison, these works also reflect distinct views about the roles that satire could play within a musico-dramatic idiom: while the English version leaves the satirical meaning ambiguous and open to individual – perhaps even conflicting – interpretations, the French version supplies a clear target in both the tune’s text and aural references. While the latter includes its own views on how to interpret fables as part of the text itself, the former reveals how targets of critique could be obscured through combined yet clashing mythical, musical and linguistic traditions.

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Index

Act of Union 254 Adam and Eve (biblical) 57, 73, 126–7, 192–3, 224–6, 237 Addison, Joseph 254, 256–7 Aegidius de Zamora, Johannes 53, 56–7 Ars musica 53, 131n36 Affligem, John of 72, 73n38, 74 Agrippa, Heinrich Cornelius 129 De occulta philosophia 129 Alberti, Leon Battista 191 allegory biblical 84, 141, 152, 208 and fables 259, 266, 272 and the liberal arts 67, 85, 98–9, 127, 129 and mythology 4–5, 32n5, 221 in Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberate 252 see also Case, John see also Dossi, Dosso Allegory of Music (painting) see also Lotto, Lorenzo Allegory of Virtue and Vice (painting) see also The Praise of Music (1586) Aligheri, Dante 64, 71, 77–9, 94, 99 De vulgari eloquentia 77–8 Divinia Commedia 71, 78, 94 Altegoer, Diana 209 Amis, Kingsley The New Oxford Book of English Light Verse 213 Amphion 3–4, 6, 63, 84, 124–5, 136 angels 29, 126, 141–155 seraphim 142, 144, 147, 149–53, 155 song of 12 stories of 142 Anne, Queen of Great Britain 249 anti-Catholicism 254–5, 257 Anonymous IV 48–9, 52 Apollo 3 and allegory 129 and ballad opera 268–71 in Capella’s De nuptiis 17–18, 20–21, 24–5, 31, 63 and Dosso Dossi’s Allegory of Music 85 and echoing 166n31 in Eriugena’s De armonia 20–21 Ficino on 108, 112 and the story of Midas 11, 87, 92, 94–103

in Tasso’s poetry 199–200 d’Aragona, Tullia 191, 200–1 Arcadia 7, 160, 189, 208, 210, 222 Arezzo, Guido of 46, 49–50, 52, 59 Guidonis Aretini Micrologus 72 Arion 3, 63, 164–5, 166n30 Aristophanes 158 Thesmophoriazusae 158 Aristotle 20, 88, 99, 116–7, 183 Nicomachean Ethics 90 Politics 88, 92, 119n50 Armida 8, 12, 192–5, 197–8, 203, 241, 243–5, 247, 250–3, 257 Art (Artist) 130–1 see also Liberal Arts, the astrology 3, 77 Augustine, Saint 30m36, 58–9, 67, 142, 154, 194, 225 Austern, Linda Phyllis 2n5, 127n12, 133n45, 134n49, 171 Bacon, Francis 5 on invention of art 134, 225–6 De Sapientia veterum 209 New Atlantis 216 ballad opera 259–72, 274–5 Bartoli, Bartolomeo di Canzone delle Virt. e delle Scienze 65 Beauvais, Vincent of 72, 74 Speculum doctrinale 72 Becker, Ernest 198 The Denial of Death 196n52, 197n54, 198 bees 131–2 Beichner, Paul 71, 73–4, 84 Berlin Chansonnier 75–6 birds, birdsong 79, 124, 131, 133, 162, 187–9, 196, 200, 202, 229, 232, 235–7, 268, 270 blacksmith 56, 64, 71–2, 77, 79, 81, 84–5, 124, 136–7 see also Tubal Blow, John Venus and Adonis 246 Boethius, Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius 32–46, 52, 59, 90–91, 152n59, 174 Consolation of Philosophy 11, 18, 32–45

306 De institutione musica (The Fundamentals of Music) 22, 24–5, 49, 68, 72, 88–9, 171, 183–4 quadrivium 34–6, 39, 65, 77 trivium 65, 77 vision of 37–8, 44–5 Boccaccio, Giovanni 64, 68, 80, 85, 93–4, 96–7 De mulieribus claris 64, 77, 79 Des cleres et nobles femmes 80, 85 Philosophy Presenting Lorenzo Tornabuoni(?) to the Seven Liberal Arts 68 Boen, Johannes 48, 52–3 Boiardo, Matteo Orlando innamorato 12, 185, 189, 195–8 Bologna, Andrea di Bartolo da 65 Bologna, Nicolò di Giacomo da 65, 67–8, 75 Bonaiuto, Andrea di Triumph of Saint Thomas Aquinas 65, 67 Bonsignori, Giovanni 95–6 Book of Common Prayer, The 146, 153n69 Bordoni, Faustina 256, 257n57 Brancaccio, Giulio Cesare 198–200 Breval, John The Rape of Helen 260 Bright, Timothy 171 Treatise on Melancholy 173 Bronzino, Agnolo 11, 99–102 Apollo and Marsyas (painting) 99–101 Brown, Howard Mayer 67, 70, 76 Browne, Thomas Pseudodoxia epidemica 6 Browne, William Britannia’s Pastorals 137 Bullard, Paddy 227, 234 Burke, Edmund 12, 226–236 Burton, Robert 171 Anatomy of Melancholy 173, 185–6 Butler, Charles 131–3 Byrd, William 153, 215 Calvin, John ( Jean) 150, 155, 225 Camiz, Franca Trinchieri 84 Canterbury Cathedral 147, 149 cantor 49–50, 52, 59 Capella, Martianus 3, 17, 19, 63, 84 De nuptiis Philologiae et Mecurii 11, 17–21, 24–6, 28–31, 63 Cardano, Girolamo 12, 115–6, 122 De musica (On Music) 115–7, 119 De subtilitate (On Subtlety) 115, 117

Index De tranquillitate (On Tranquillity) 107, 115–6, 118–9 De utilitate ex adversis capienda (On Gaining Advantage from Misfortunes) 116 and Guideo ‘Lament’ (or ‘Dirge’) 119–22 Carissimi, Giacomo 162 Jepthe 156 Carolingian Renaissance (Carolingian Renovatio) 18–19 Carrera, Elena 185 Cartari, Vincenzo Cartari magini colla sposizione degli dei degli antichi 4 Cartwright, Thomas 146–7, 154 Case, John 129–134 Apologia musices 129, 134, 147–8 Castiglione, Baldassare 8, 89 Il Cortegiano 90–92, 190, 191n21 castrato 256–7 Saint Cecilia 2 Charlemagne 19 Charles I 241 Charles II 19, 83 Christ 4, 108, 136 Church of England 149 Cicero Dream of Scipio (Somnium Scipionis) 3, 20, 63n4, 72 Tusculan Desputations (Tusculanae Disputationes, Tusculanae Quaestiones) 72 Circe 193–5 concerto delle donne 189, 198–9 Colley, Linda 254 Collier, Jeremy 242, 245–7 A Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage 242 comédies en vaudevilles 262 Comestor, Petrus Historia Scholastica 56–8, 73–5, 79, 83–5 Congreve, William 242 Conegliano, Cima da 11, 97 Conti, Natale Mythologiae 4 Cooke, Thomas Penelope 260 see also Mottley, John Cortesi, Paolo 89, 90n11, cosmology 20, 68

creation 36, 40–1, 43, 107–8, 126, 128, 157, 224 harmony of 131 harmonic creation of God 109, 111, 113, 115 of divine and natural harmony 124 literary 8 of lyric 79 of meaning 8, 222 of music 129, 214 poetic 4 Satanic 5 of the world 38 Cuzzoni, Francesca 256 David, King of Israel (biblical) 2–3, 53n24, 68, 108, 126 Davies, Sir John 225 Davis, Natalie Zemon 8, 196n48 Dennis, John An Essay on the Operas after the Italian Manner 255 Musical Entertainments in Rinaldo and Armida 246n17, 247 Rinaldo and Armida 241–7, 249–54, 257–8 The Usefulness of the Stage 242, 246n16 An Essay upon Public Spirit 255 Des Prez, Josquin Missa L’Homme armé super voces musicales 84 Descartes, René 222 Cartesian 13, 185 Destouches, André Cardinal Issé, a pastorale héroïque 269 De origine et effectu musicae 46–9, 53, 56–59 devotion 150–151, 153 Protestant 152n61 religious 186 dialogue 8, 109, 118, 158, 160–161, 175, 209 and ballad opera 259–260, 262, 265 with Boethius 33 see also ‘A Dialogue between Thyrsis and Dorinda’ see also Castiglione, Baldassare see also Virgil disability within culture 171, 185–6 definitions of 170, 172 and difference 170 feeblemindness 181 foolishness 170 and gender (femininity, masculinity) 8–9, 12, 174, 177–8, 181

Index 307 lovesickness madness (mad songs) 170, 173, 185 melancholy 173, 185–6 and normativity 169, 171 ‘narrative prosthesis’ 171, 173–4, 177, 179, 186 narratives of 171, 174, 177 performance of 172, 178 stories of 173, 175 see also music, and disability divine 132, 162, 166, 230, 232–4, 238 being 12, 123 coherence 149 concepts 112 creation 109 delight 229 demons 113 excellence 186 English 151 foreknowledge 43 harmony 109, 124, 130 influence 133 inspiration 132 intelligent 31 justification 126 mind 17, 18n2 music 129, 132, 134–5, 137–8, 200 order 8, 44 origins 130 power 92 presence 229 radiance 98 realms 125 Scripture 53, 56 understanding 96 wisdom 1 worship 132 see also creation Dorinda 12, 160, 224–7, 232–8 Dossi, Dosso (Giovanni de Lutero) 83n73 Allegory of Music 11, 64, 83, 85 Doughtie, Edward 213 Dowland, John 184 ‘Flow My Tears’ 180, 185 ‘Go Crystal Tears’ 185 ‘In Darkness Let Me Dwell’ 180, 185 ‘Semper Dowland, Semper Dolens’ 180 ‘Sorrow, Sorrow, Stay’ 185 Dowland, Robert Variety of Lute-Lessons 137 dramatick opera 243, 249–50 Dryden, John 242, 244, 249

308 Discourse Concerning the Original and Progress of Satire 244 King Arthur 246–7 Dunn, Leslie 174–5 Eccles, John Rinaldo and Armida 241, 247, 258 ‘For Revenge to Armida We Call’ 248 see also Dennis, John echo (Echo) 3, 10, 12, 31n37, 43, 100–1, 136, 150n52, 156–66 education 8, 19 moral 67, 79, 88, 266–7 liberal arts 77, 104 effeminacy 254, 256 Elysium 232, 234–6 emotion 36, 45, 110, 185, 202, 223 affect of music upon 116–9, 122–3, 183, 195, 200, 226, 228 and lamentation 166 mournful 12 in music 234–8, 241, 251–2 musical understanding of 91 English Civil War 149 Laudian policy 149 An Epistle from Signore F---a to a Lady 256–7 d’Este, Alfonso 83–4 Esterhammer, Angela 222 Euripides 158–9 Andromeda 158 Eurydice 4, 41, 112, 115, 118, 164, 252 see also Fielding, Henry Eriugena, John Scottus 11, 18–21, 24–26 Annotationes in Marcianum 20 De armonia 26–31 ethics 88, 90–91, 96–7, 102–4, 163n23, 242 Euhemerus Euhemerist tradition 3–4 fable 1, 99, 146–7, 154, 209, 259–60, 263–72, 275 Fairfax, Edward 252 falsehood 1, 155 Faunus 63 Fellowes, Edmund 210, 212n29 Fenaruolo, Girolamo 191 Ferrara 12, 64, 83–5, 189, 191, 195, 198 Ficino, Marsilio 3, 12, 77, 85, 107–8, 122, 173 Commentary on the Timaeus 107–116 miscellanea (Distinctiones) 113–14 De vita 110, 113n27–8 Fielding, Henry 265

Index Eurydice 260–1, 262 Firenze, Andrea da 68 Fludd, Robert 130, 132 Forrest, Ebenezer 259–60, 262–8, 271, 274–5 Momus 259, 264–70, 272 Momus Turn’d Fabulist: Or, Vulcan’s Wedding 259–60, 265, 267, 274–5 ‘Haymaker’s Song’ or ‘The Merry Haymakers’ 269–70 ‘In Kent so Fam’d of Old’ 271 ‘Let Burgundy Flow’ 271 ‘Much I Lov’d a Charming Creature’ 271 ‘Parson Upon Dorothy’ 272, 274–5 ‘The Widows Shall All Have Spouses’ 271 Fortune 37, 39–41, 243n9 Franco, Veronica 202 Fulgentius, Fabius Planciades 94–6, 99 Fuzelier, Louis Momus fabuliste, ou les noces de Vulcain 260, 264, 266–9, 272 Gaffurius, Franchinus 57, 72n37, 89–92, 96–7 Practica musice 3, 89n8, 91n17 Galilei, Vincenzo 72 Gallagher, Sean 75–6 Garden of Eden 224, 232 Amadis of Gaul 250 Gauradas 159–60 Gay, John 259, 263, 266, 273–4 Achilles 260–1 Beggar’s Opera 260, 265–7, 274 Polly 265, 274 gender and disability 174–5, 177–9, 180–4, 186 early modern conceptions of 7–9, 12, 169–70 and English national identity 242, 258 fluidity of 192 relations between 225 Genesis 53, 56, 73, 193 Gerbino, Giuseppe 162, 208–9, 222 Gerrard, Christine 258 Gibbons, Felton 83–4 Giglioni, Guido 217 Giraldi Giglio, Gregorio Historia de deis gentium 4 God (god, goddess) angels praising 141–2, 147, 149–53 in ballad opera 259–61, 265–6, 268–9, 271



and Boethius 33, 42–3 and Cardano 118–9, 121–2 and creation 36–40 and Ficino 107–114 godliness 181 and the Homeric Hymn to Pan 157 in Italian paintings 100, 102 and the liberal arts 17–8, 63 and love 160 and Marvell 230, 234, 238 and Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo 164–5 and morality 224–5 and music and gift from 208 and the music of the spheres 21 and myth 1, 3–4, 10–12 and Neoplatonists 29–30, 31n37 and origins of music 124–6, 128–32, 134–6, 138 and Ovid’s Metamorphoses 87, 94–5, 98 and Tasso’s Gerusalemme liberate 192 and Tubal 56 and Virgil’s Ecologues 163 Golden Age 208, 213, 218 Gonzaga, Eleonora 102 Graces 129 Granville, George The British Enchanters 250 Guarini, Anna 199 Guarini, Giovanni Battista 161, 165 Il Pastor Fido 159–160 Gulpin, Everard 208 Haar, James 84–5, 112n20 Handel, George Frederic 260, 262 Rinaldo 241, 249–254, 257–8 ‘Ah! crudel’ 251 ‘Crudel, tu ch’involasti’ 250 ‘Dunque i lacci d’un volto’ 251 ‘Ogn’ indugio d’un amante’ 252 Hagberg, Garry 33 Harmony (Harmonia) 20n12, 63–4 see also Martianus Capella, De nuptiis Philologiae et Mercurii harmony 8 heavenly 26 melodious 21 of the spheres 11, 28, 31, 108 see also music of the spheres universal 5, 13 heaven harmony of 3, 5, 21, 63, 103–4 spheres of 17, 112

Index 309

performances of 20, 146–8 in Eriugena’s De armonia 26, 29–31 in Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy 35 in Boethius’s De institutione musica 183 in Ficino’s Commentary on the Timeaus 110, 113–4 song of 126 and earth 128, 130, 137, 151–2, 154 proportions of 173 and John Dowland’s music 183 doctrines of 207 nature of 224–6 in Marvel’s ‘On Milton’s Paradise Lost’ 230, 232–8 in Fuzelier’s Momus fabuliste 264 Heetderks, Angela 181 Heylyn, Peter 148–9, 153–4 Highet, Gilbert Hill, Aaron 241, 249–251 Rinaldo 253, 257–8 The Tears of the Muses 258 Hinds, Stephen 232 Homeric Hymn to Pan 157 Hollander, John 5, 157–8 Hooke, Robert 6, 226 Hooker, Richard 146–7, 149, 151n56, 154 Howard, Jean 7 homosexuality 256 humanism 77, 80, 89, 93–4, 125, 161, 164 Hunter, David 253 iconography 11, 64–5, 68, 75–7, 79–83, 85, 192 Ignatius 3, 142–51, 153–4 imago vocis 160–2 impairment 8, 37, 169–70, 179, 181, 186 see also disability irony 212, 214–15, 217, 221–2 instruments (instrumental, instrumentation) musical (music) 3–4, 77, 90, 92, 95–8, 116, 130 aulos 94, 96 cithara 53, 56, 73, 92, 119 flute 73, 79, 99, 103 harp 3, 57, 68, 73, 79, 124, 133 harpsichord 101, 200 lute 67–8, 103, 119, 173–4, 180, 184–5, 200 lyre 20, 87, 89, 94–5, 98n41, 110–12, 116, 118–19, 131 lira da braccio 97–8, 100 organ (organist) 28, 53, 56–7, 67–8, 70, 135–6

310 portative organ 67–8, 70 pipes 87 virginal, polygonal 101–2 in Boethius’s De institutione musica 35–7, 39 in Cardano’s De tranquillitate 118–9 invention of 4, 57, 63, 73, 124–6, 128, 132–7 see also Tubal of Pan 87 performance of 49, 53, use of echo 161, 164, 166 see also music intermedi (intermedio) 164 inventors 65, 67, 71, 124 of music 72, 125–6, 129, 134 see also instruments, musical, invention of Isaiah (biblical) 3, 142–3, 145, 147, 149–51, 153–4 Jephte (character) 156–8, 162 Jerome of Moravia 52, 59 Johnson, Julian 214, 216, 221, 223 Josephus, Flavius 56, 73, 79, 126 Jubal 3, 11, 53, 70, 73–6, 79, 85, 124, 136–7 see also Tubal judgement 11–12, 29, 87–104, 128, 228 Kant, Immanuel 228–9 Kemp, William 215–6, 223 King, Thomas A. 255 Kircher, Athanasius 156–7, 160, 163 Musurgia universalis 163 knowledge 207–9, 216, 218, 222–7, 237–8 L’Idaspe Fedele 256 La Pellegrina 164 see also intermedi Lady Music 11, 64, 67–8, 70, 76–7, 80, 83, 86, 127–8, 135, 165 Lady Nature 130–133 Lady Philosophy 38n40 lament (lamentation) in Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy 37, 39n53 of Cardano 119, 122 in Carissimi’s Jepthe 156–8, 162 and echo songs 164–6 in Handel’s Rinaldo 251 by Ophelia 175 by Philomela 187–8, 201–2 Lamb, Mary Ellen 215

Index Landini, Francesco 68, 70 Musica son 70–71 Landino, Cristoforo 94–6, 99–100, 102 Divina Commedia di Dante Alighieri 71, 94, 100n47 language of philosophers 6, 29, 32, 38n42, 117 arts of 65 coded 259 as framework 169, 263 iconographical 85 musical 176, 182, 185, 210, 235 and origins of music 125, 131, 136, 138 poetic 78, 158, 227–8, 231–3, 237–8 sensory 225–9 Lasso, Orlando di (Lassus) 161, 180 Lawes, William 224 Liberal Arts, the in Capella’s De nuptiis 17, 63 in Eriugena’s commentary 19–20, 30 and iconography 75, 77, 79–80, 82, 84, 86n90 in Italian allegories 65, 67–8, 71 and morality 88, 98–9, 103 Liège, Jacobus de 48, 53 Lowerre, Kathryn 246 Lucretius 227–231, 233–4 Lully, Jean Baptiste Armide 251 ‘Enfin il est en ma puissance’ 250 Locke, John 228 Locke, Matthew 224, 227, 234, 236 Psyche 246 Lotto, Lorenzo 11, 98 Allegory of Virtue and Vice (painting) 98–9 madrigal 71, 78, 131, 159, 208, 212, 216, 219, 221–2 Man, Fall of 225 Macrobius, Ambrosius Aurelius Theodosius Commentary on Cicero’s Somnium Scipionis 3, 20, 72, 159 Magdeburg Centuries 145 Centuriators 145, 148 Magnus Liber Organi 68 Marenzio, Luca 161, 180 Marvell, Andrew ‘A Dialogue between Thyrsis and Dorinda’ 12, 224–7, 232–8, 250 see also dialogue Miscellaneous Poems 224

‘Music’s Empire’ 136 ‘On Mr. Milton’s Paradise Lost’ 227–30, 233 Marsyas 3, 94, 96–7, 100–103 masculinity 100, 179, 181, 200, 255 Mazzuoli, Giovanni 68 McGeary, Thomas 253 medicine see music, and medicine Memory 129 memory 218, 231, 236, 263 Mercury 3, 21, 25–6 and ballad opera 268 and healing by music 173 and Orpheus 111, 114, 124, 133 and Philology 17, 63 and reason 109 mese 18, 24–6 metaphor arts 207 in Bronzino’s Apollo and Marsyas 100 decorative 5 and deification 18 of disability 181, 185 in Dosso Dossi’s Allegory of Music 83 in Ficino 111, 122 and invention of music 67, 77–80, 129 and order 17, 31, 39 pastoral 226 religious 141, 150 sexual 219 of Sirens 196 sonic 157, 161–2, 166 Midas 3, 11, 87, 92–103 Midgely, Mary on myth 191–2 Milton, John Paradise Lost 224, 226–230, 232–3 mind-body connection 171, 174, 181, 183, 185 Minerva 3, 11, 63–4 in Bronzino’s Apollo and Marsyas 98–103 iconography of 77, 79–82, 85–6 invention of aulos 94, 96 Mitchell, David T. 182 see also disability, ‘narrative prosthesis’ modes of dialogue 209 literary 11, 87, 207, 230 musical 3, 36, 39, 44, 63, 85, 88, 91, 94, 116–7, 122, 207, 212, 215, 219 pastoral 162, 165

Index 311 of performance 223 of reference 32 rhythmic 48 visual 11, 87 modulation of the human voice 232, 236 of sounds 232, 236 monochord 24, 46, 68 Monod, Paul 253 monody 9, 164 Monteverdi, Claudio 161, 164–5, 166n31 L’Orfeo 164 ‘Possente spirto’ 164 morality 7, 9–10, 12–13, and music 88, 137, 193 and myth 207–8 and political culture 242, 250–51, 258 and status 90 Morley, Thomas 153 Plain and Easy Introduction to Practical Music (1597) 8 Moschus 158 Motte, Antoine Houdar de la (La Motte) Fables nouvelles 264–9, 272 Mottley, John Penelope (1728) 260 see also Cooke, Thomas Mulcaster, Richard 183–4 Murs, Jehan de 53, 58 Muses, the 3, 17, 37, 46, 47, 128, 131, 258 music adaptation of 9, 12, 224, 226–7, 235–7, 260, 264, 266, 268, 275 artificial music 128, 132, 136–7 diegetic 268 and disability 10, 169, 173, 177–8, 186 blind organist-composers 68 see also disability of heaven (celestial music, divine music) 5, 21, 26, 28, 109, 112, 123–6, 129–130, 132, 134–5, 137–8, 153, 184, 186, 200 human 30, 35–6, 38n40, 39, 124, 126–7, 129–32, 134–6, 138, 150, 183 illegitimacy of 127, 190, 246, 255 and magic 12, 108, 113–5, 123, 250 and medicine 37, 44, 112n23, 185, 195 moral legitimacy of 10–13, 31, 88–91, 96, 98, 102–3, 116, 125, 127, 137, 155, 207, 242, 245, 247, 250–251, 258, 267–8

312 and nature (natural music) 2, 11, 50, 76–7, 104, 107, 112–14, 117, 122–3, 125–136, 138, 163, 185 personification of 127, 129–130, 138, 157 see also Lady Music ‘praise of music’ tradition 7, 124–7, 129, 132–5, 138, 147–8 as remedy 2–3, 40, 103, 116–8, 171, 173–4, 178, 185–6, 195, 269 of the spheres 3, 11, 13, 17, 21, 24–8, 31, 35, 63, 94, 104, 109–112, 114, 130–131, 159n9, 233–4 therapy 44, 108n2, 115, 122, 172n16 vocal music 3, 28, 116, 118–9, 130, 132, 161, 164, 193, 251 see also instruments see also musica see also song Musica see Lady Music musica 47, 64, 72, 75, 85 musica humana 68, 112 musica instrumentalis 68, 112 musica mundana 68, 112, 226 musicus 38n40, 49–50, 52, 58–59 myth and allegory 4–7 and antiquity 218 of Apollo 17, 100, 199, 269, 271, 275 of Armida 194 biblical 113, 224–5 of the Fall 225 of Circe 194 of Creation 111 as critique of music 261–2 definitions of 1–3 and deification 18, 29 and disability 169–170, 172 discourse of 210–211 of Echo 156–160 function of 222 and the iconography of music 64, 72, 79, 83 and images 102–3 interpretations of 3–4 and knowledge 10–13, 141, 144, 227, 237 of Leda and Tullia 211, 213 and magic 108 of Midas 87–8, 93, 96–7 and morality 207 and music treatises 46–9, 53, 56–9 of Narcissus 161

Index

and the New World 212 of the nightingale 200 origins of 11–12 and the origins of music 53, 56–9, 124–5, 127–9, 133, 136–8 of Orpheus 41, 107–9, 112, 114, 116, 122–3, 164–5 and the passions 209 of Philomela 187–9, 201 and poetry 198, 226 power of 159 of Pythagoras 137 and satire 208, 260–261 and science 32 of the Sirens 195 and storytelling 8–9, 13, 234 mythology 1–2, 5–7, 12, 18, 124, 160, 199, 207–8, 213, 222, 226 of Capella 18 classical 3, 124, 157, 163, 166, 211 Greek 187, 214, 218 musical 9 Roman 218 Narcissus 158–161 see also myth, of Narcissus narrative 9–10, 97, 149, 158, 160–161, 169 allegorical 17 autobiographical 33 biblical 85, 193, 201 biographical 128 of Boethius 34, 44 of disability 171 of gender 174 genealogical 46, 128–9 historical 169 historiographical 8, 144 literary 169, 171–2, 182 metanarratives 12 musical 31 of music’s origins 125–7, 136–7 mythical 49 mythological 11, 49, 53, 56, 58, 94, 125, 137 ‘narrative prosthesis’ see disability, ‘narrative prosthesis’ of Ovid 94 poetic 241, 244, 246 political 141 pseudo–biblical 85 strategies of of Socrates of Constantinople 142 of Tubal/Jubal 53, 56–8

of Walter of Evesham Abbey 48 of Whight 132, 134 nature see Lady Nature see music, and nature see words, on art and nature Neely, Carol Thomas 180 Neoplatonism 13, 17, 20, 29, 64, 76, 109, 112, 126, 169, 170, 173 Nicolini (Nicolo Grimaldi) 256 nightingale 3, 131n36, 133–4, 200–203 fable of 268–270 story of 3, 187–9 see also myth, of the nightingale Odysseus 194, 197 Oedipus 171 Orpheus 2, 4, 6, 12, 18, 41, 63, 107–112, 114–18, 122–4, 164–5, 252, 261–2 as prisci theologi 108 Orphic hymns 112–13 see also myth, of Orpheus Ovid 94, 100, 159–160, 187, 200, 232 Metamorphoses 87, 93, 95–6, 158, 221 Padova, Marchetto da (Marchetto de Padua, Marchetto of Padua) 50 Palaephatus 6 Pan 3, 11, 63, 84, 87, 92, 95–8, 100, 102–3, 124, 157–60 see also myth Pareja, Bartolomeo Ramos de 76 Passionate Pilgrim, The 184 pastoral 7 labour 57 literary tradition 188, 200, 208–212, 214, 232–4, 236, 271 mode 162, 165 music 78, 216, 218, 221–2, 224–6, 271 painting 97 tragicomedy 160 Paumann, Conrad 68 Peacham, Henry 208, 222 performance, music 49, 92, 101, 103 alternatim 144 angelic 155 of ballad opera 263–5 of disability 172, 175, 181, 183, 185 in Ficino 110 of Harmonia 20 and knowledge 222–3

Index 313 in literature 12, 169 of music in Boethius 34, 36, 40, 44 of myth 9 of myth and story 10 of Nicolini 256 in Polydore Vergil 137 sarcastic 208–9 of Weelkes 218 of women 189, 191–2, 195, 198, 203 Peri, Jacopo 161, 164–5 Perugia, Matteo da 75 Petrarch Canzoniere ‘Zephiro torna’ 188 Peverara, Laura 199 Philomela 187–9, 200–201, 203 see also myth, of Philomela philosophy 12, 107–9, 117, 122, 137, 230 aesthetics 12 experimental/empirical impact of 5, 10, 12 Lady Philosophy 32–44 musical 246 natural 134, 225–6 see also Neoplatonism Pietzsch, Gerhard 48 Pilotti-Schiavonetti, Elisabetta 257 planets (heavenly bodies) Jupiter 17, 25–6, 30, 79, 109, 114, 126, 128, 264 Mars 25–6, 30, 109–10, 113, 266–71 Mercury 3, 17, 21, 25–6, 63, 109, 111, 113n27, 114, 124, 133, 173, 268 Moon 21, 25–7, 109, 113, 159n9 Saturn 25–6, 29–30, 109–10, 113–14 Sun 17–18, 24n20, 25–6, 30–31, 109, 114, 175, 229, 233, 245, 270 Venus see also Ficino, Marsilio Plato 29, 32, 68, 77, 88, 91, 108–10, 112–14, 117, 124 Timeaus 20, 170 Playford, John The Dancing Master (1653) 273 Choice Ayres (1675) 225 Theater of Music (1687) 224 Pliny 20, 125 Plotinus 109, 161, 169 The Enneads 170

314 poetry 2 of Dante 78–9 echoing 163 epic 17, 192–3, 198 of the Fall 225–6 female 202–3 melancholic 180 of Milton 230–2, 234 and music 4–5, 49, 76, 119, 122, 157–9, 184, 268, 271 and myth 207 pastoral 188–9 Poliziano, Angelo 159, 165 Miscellanea ‘Eco e Pan’ 159 Porter, Endimion 241 Powell, Thomas 134–5 Human Industry or, A History of Most Manual Arts 134–5, 137 Price, Curtis A. 249–51 Proclus Commentary on the Timeaus 170 Pseudo-Dionysius 19n4 Purcell, Henry Dido and Aeneas 246 The Fairy Queen 246–7 ‘Now the Maids and the Men are Making of Hay’ 247 King Arthur 246–7 Puttenham, George 7 The Art of English Poesy 209 Pythagoras 3, 11, 64, 96 De origine et effectu musicae 46–7 Ficino on 108, 112 and origins of music 53–57, 59, 72–3, 84–5, 124, 136–7 see also myth, of Pythagoras quadrivium see Boethius trivium see Boethius Quatuor principalia 52 Queen’s Theatre, Haymarket 249, 253, 257 Quinault, Jean-Baptiste Maurice 268 Lady Reason (Dame Reason) 109, 132–4 reason age of 244 of Boethius 36–7, 39–44, 49 in Ficino 109–110, 114 in echo song 164

Index

in Gaffurius 90, loss of 170 moral 27–9 and music 182, 184, 191, 194–5, 200, 203, 225, 237, 246, 269 and myth 207, 252–3 of numbers 34 Regio, Raffaele 93, 95 religion and ethnicity 181 false 146 and gender 186 investment in story of 141 liturgical tradition of 141 politics of 141 ritual practice of 141 repetition 122, 236 of echo 156, 159, 161, 165 textual 151n54, 153, 158 rhetoric devices 156, 158 of the Elizabethan church 151–2, 155 music and 37, 39–40, 44, 162, 165–6, 252 and poetry 160–62, 226, 231–2, 242, 263, 271 political 266, 268 and the Seven Liberal Arts 84 of Tinctoris 93 in the trivium 65 Reynolds, Edward 207 Rich, John 265, 272 Riga, Peter 75 Rinaldo (character) in Dennis’s Rinaldo and Armida 243–7 in Hill’s Rinaldo libretto for Handel 250–3 Nicolini’s performance of 256–7 in opera 8, 12 in Tasso 197 in Van Dyck’s Rinaldo and Armida painting 241 Ripa, Cesare Iconologia 187–8 Robin Hood (figure) 214–16, 222 Robinson, Thomas 173 Rossi, Giacomo (librettist) Rinaldo 241, 249–51, 258 Rovere, Guidobaldo II della 101–2 Rovere, Ippolita della 102 Row-Heyveld, Lindsey 170, 177 Royal Society, the 6, 226

Salmon, Thomas Essay to the Advancement of Music (1672) 135 Sannazaro, Jacopo 188–9, 200, 202 Satan 5, 146, 192, 229 female-headed serpent 192 satire in ballad opera 262, 264–5, 267–8, 270–271, 275 of Edmund Burke 226 ‘ironia’ 208 Menippean 33 and performance 213 in Weelkes 12, 207–8, 217–9, 221 satyr 94, 98–100, 159n7, 208, 267 Saul, King of Israel 2–3, 171 self 208, 216, 238 awareness of 12, 213, 218, 221–2 care of 117 early modern 10, 156–7, 162, 166, 208 elite 104 empowerment of 165–6 expression of 162, 188, 200, 202 humoral 179 knowledge of 8, 33–4, 161, 237–8 self-conscious 212–4, 216, 259 self-definition 253 self-examination 208 self-identity 41–2, 201 self-imposed 37 self-induced 122 self-pity 219 self-reference 162 self-reflection 157, 221 self-reflexive 150n52 self-sufficient 42 technology of 45 Seth (biblical) 73 Seville, Isidore of 64, 73, 78, 142 Etymologies 48 Shakespeare, William 8, 10, 169, 181, 184–6, 198, 215 and Boethius 171, 172n12, 174, 183–4 characters in plays Desdemona 169, 178–9, 185–6 Duke Orsino 171 Emilia 178 Feste 181 Hamlet 171–3, 177 Horatio 176–7 Iago 178 Ophelia 169, 171–9, 185–6

Index 315 Othello 178, 181 Queen Gertrude 175–7 Richard II 169, 182 Richard III 171 Viola 169, 183 mad songs in 12, 172, 174, 185 Neoplatonist theories in 169–170, 174 plays of A Midsummer Night’s Dream 215 Hamlet 172–7 Othello 178–9 Richard II 182–3 Tempest 216 Twelfth Night 179, 181, 183, 185 Sheinberg, Esti 217, 219 shepherd (shepherdess, shepherding) 53, 73, 78–9, 95–6, 103, 163, 208n5, 224, 232–3 Sidney, Sir Philip 6 sight 37, 225, 230, 232–3 sight-singing 201 Silvanus 63 sin (sinner) 29, 122, 177, 192n28–9, 193–4, 196–7, 224–5, 256 singer (singing) 38n41, 39n49, 163, 177, 181, 218, 222–3, 229, 238 angel 145–6, 148–9 of Apollo and Marsyas 100 ballad opera 6, 259, 268–72 of birds 135, 162, 232, 236–7 of Brancaccio 199–200 Cardano on 116, 119 Catholic 254–5, 257 choral 12, 28, 142–3, 151–5 of Desdemona 181 effeminate 103 English 46–50, 52–3, 58–9 of gods and goddesses 261 in Homeric Hymn to Pan 157 imagery of 20n12 Italian opera 256–7 of Jepthe’s daughter 156 of Jubal 73 of Lady Philosophy 34, 40–41 of madrigals 78 of Ophelia 174–6, 178 Orphic 110, 112, 114, 122, 164 of Philomela 187, 201–3 of Rinaldo 252 swan 17 taught by Nature 133 of Viola 183

316 of women (female) 184, 189–192, 194, 196–203, 256–7 Sirens 2, 183, 189, 194–200, 203 Slim, H. Colin 84 Snyder, Sharon L. 182 see also disability, ‘narrative prosthesis’ song of angels 12 of Arion 164–5 ayres 210, 212, 215, 218 birdsong 131, 188–9, 200, 268–9 and Boethius 36, 38n41, 44, 91 and Dante 77–8 echo songs 10, 163 and Gaffurius 90–91 and gender 178–9, 183, 189, 200, 203, 268–9, 271 of gods 21 iconography of 11 judgement of 92 of Lady Philosophy 40–41 mad songs 12, 172, 174–7, 185 and madrigal 78, 216 and melancholy 180, 185 and Minerva 77, 86 myth and narratives for 9–10, 31 and origins of music 63–4, 126 Orphic 3, 108, 111–3, 164 of Philomela 187 power of 118–9, 164, 181, 235–6, 238 and sexuality 190–191, 195–7, 203, 241, 254, 270 and Tubalcain 64, 70, 75–7, 86 see also disability see also music, and disability soul 3, 201, 247 beliefs about 28–31 cannibalism of 196n54 Cardano on 115–7, 119, 121–2 chaste 235 Ficino on 109–10, 113–15 human 11, 17–18, 21, 25–6, 103, 130, 135 music and its effects on 35–6, 38–9, 53n24, 133, 154–5, 162, 169–71, 173–4, 258 sickness of 177, 182–4 types of 194–5 anima rationalis 194 anima sensitiva 194 anima vegetativa 194 sound of angels 150

Index beliefs about 6, 182–4, 226–7, 231–2, 234–8, and the early modern self 157–9 of echo 162–3, 166 and English opera 258, 274 and harmony 35–6, 39–40, 56–7, 170, 173, 180 of heavens 20–21, 25–8, 31n37, 234 of madrigals 78, 131 and morality 88–9, 92, 101 and origins of music 73, 131–6, 138 and pastoral poetry 188 and sexuality 190, 197, 199–200 Spenser, Edmund 184 The Fairy Queen 137 spirit 12, 151, 180 comfort for 41 music’s effects on 88, 118, 121, 123, 173–4, 185, 245, 247 planetary 113–4 public 257 and Weelkes 210, 221 wicked 30 Squarcialupi Codex 68 Stampa, Gaspara 201–2 Steele, Richard 253n42, 254–7 The Tender Husband 254 story (stories) 1, 3 of Arion’s singing 164 see also singing, Orphic and ballad opera 269, 271 definitions of 9–13, 32–3 of disability 169, 171, 174–5, 177–8, 185 see also disability of the early modern self 157 of Echo and Narcissus 158 of Echo and Pan 160 of Eriugena and Capella 18, 25–6 and Ficino 113 of foolish Midas 87, 93–7, 99, 101–3 as knowledge 224–6 of Marvell 136 musical settings of 227 of the nightingale 187, 200–201 of origins of music 46, 49, 53, 59, 72, 75, 79, 84–5, 137 and the ‘praise of music’ tradition 134 and religion 141–3, 145, 147–8, 154 of Rinaldo and Armida 241–2, 249–50 storytelling 7–10, 158 of women singing 192–3, 199

Strohm, Reinhard 253 Stubbes, Philip Anatomy of Abuses 184–5 sublime 226–38 Swift, Jonathan 259, 265 Tantalus 118 Tarasti, Eero 208–10 Tasso, Torquato Gerusalemme liberata 12, 189, 192, 194–5, 197–200, 241–4, 250–52, 257 Te Deum settings of 153 Tempo, Antonio da 78 tetrachord 18, 21–2, 24, 27, 111, 112n20 theory of aesthetics 227, 236 anatomical 179 of Aristotle 179 humoral 173, 179 of knowledge 32 of music 10–11, 20–21, 48, 52, 57–8, 71, 97, 107, 111, 115, 117 of psychology 226 The Praise of Music (1586) 7, 127, 129, 133–4, 138, 147–8 see also music, ‘praise of music’ tradition Thebes 4, 6 Thyrsis 12, 224–7, 232–8 Tinctoris, Johannes 92–3, 96 Tityrus 163–4 tone combination of 117, 119 consonant 72 division of 46 musical 3 and the planets 21–2, 24–5, 27–8, 30 in Weelkes 218–19 Toniolo, Federica 75 Trismegistus, Hermes 108 Tubal (Tubalcain) 3, 11, 46–7, 53, 55–9, 64, 70, 73–7, 79, 81–4, 86, 124n1, 126, 136 see also Jubal tunings, systems of 20–21, 24, 110–12, 131, 172 Greater Perfect System 22 Immutable System 18, 21–2, 24, 26–7 Lesser Perfect System 22 Pythagorean 17, 21, 38n43, 63, 68, 73, 77, 83, 86, 94, 97, 103, 109–13, 124

Index 317 Van Dyck, Anthony Rinaldo and Armida (painting) 241 Varano, Giulia 102 variants textual 11, 46, 48, 58, 236 Varro 4 Vasari, Giorgio 100, 102 Vergil, Polydore 134, 137 De inventoribus rerum 125, 132 vice 11, 70, 90, 98–9, 102–3, 116, 259, 264, 268 Virgil 227 Eclogues 163–4 Virtue 25, 65, 67 virtue angelic 150 feminine 191, 225 of God’s order 39, of music 11, 25, 128–9, 207 of prudence 89–90 and sexuality 271 sound of 6 and vice 98–100, 102–3, 264 vision 42, 142–5, 147–51, 153–4, 230, 234 Vitry, Philippe de 58 voice and art of singing 50, 92, 95, 101, 119, 121–2 in ballad opera 274 of choirs 28, 78 echoing 156–7, 160–164, 166 of Eve 225 and gender 174, 179, 183, 187–90, 192, 198–202 in Marvell’s ‘Dialogue’ 232, 234–6, 238 and myth in song 10 in Rinaldo settings 251, 256 superiority of 132–3, and Weelkes 219, 223   Wallis, John 6 Walsham, Alexandra 144 Walter of Evesham Abbey 48, 53 Weelkes, Thomas 12, 207, 210–12, 214–9, 221–2 ‘Aye Me, Alas’ 218, 221, 223 Claudius, Roman Emperor 218 Messalina 218–9, 221–2 ayre 12, 210, 213–4, 217, 222 Ayres or Fantastic Spirits (1608) 207, 214 ‘Ha Ha! This World doth Pass’ 211 ‘Since Robin Hood’ 214–5 ‘spirits’ 210

318 Whight, Nicholas 132–4 Whythorne, Thomas 126 Willaert, Adrian 84, 191 Winkler, Amanda Eubanks 174 Winn, James A. 249 Wood, David Houston 179 words on art and nature 131–4 and Echo 156, 158–61, 164–5 and gender 192–4, 202 and madness 177

Index and Minerva 80 and music 40, 53, 77–8, 107, 119, 122, 227–30, 232–3, 235–8, 242, 255, 269 and religion 141–2, 147, 153–4 and satire 208–9, 212, 215–7, 219, 223 worship 2, 4, 10, 131–2, 137, 141, 146–7, 149–53, 155 Zarlino, Gioseffo 137 Zoroaster 108

Studies in Medieval and Renaissance Music Volumes already published Machaut’s Music: New Interpretations edited by Elizabeth Eva Leach The Church Music of Fifteenth-Century Spain Kenneth Kreitner The Royal Chapel in the time of the Habsburgs: Music and Court Ceremony in Early Modern Europe edited by Juan José Carreras and Bernardo García García Citation and Authority in Medieval and Renaissance Musical Culture: Learning from the Learned. Essays in Honour of Margaret Bent edited by Suzannah Clark and Elizabeth Eva Leach European Music, 1520–1640 edited by James Haar Cristóbal de Morales: Sources, Influences, Reception edited by Owen Rees and Bernadette Nelson Young Choristers, 650–1700 edited by Susan Boynton and Eric Rice Hermann Pötzlinger’s Music Book: The St Emmeram Codex and its Contexts Ian Rumbold with Peter Wright Medieval Liturgical Chant and Patristic Exegesis: Words and Music in the Second-Mode Tracts Emma Hornby Juan Esquivel: A Master of Sacred Music during the Spanish Golden Age Clive Walkley Essays on Renaissance Music in Honour of David Fallows: Bon jour, bon mois et bonne estrenne edited by Fabrice Fitch and Jacobijn Kiel

Music and Ceremony at the Court of Charles V: The Capilla Flamenca and the Art of Political Promotion Mary Tiffany Ferer Music and Meaning in Old Hispanic Lenten Chants: Psalmi, Threni and the Easter Vigil Canticles Emma Hornby and Rebecca Maloy Music in Elizabethan Court Politics Katherine Butler Verse and Voice in Byrd’s Song Collections of 1588 and 1589 Jeremy L. Smith The Montpellier Codex: The Final Fascicle. Contents, Contexts, Chronologies edited by Catherine A. Bradley and Karen Desmond A Critical Companion to Medieval Motets edited by Jared C. Hartt Piety and Polyphony in Sixteenth-Century Holland: The Choirbooks of St Peter’s Church, Leiden Eric Jas

and facilitating further study into the Enlightenment and beyond.

MUSIC, MYTH and STORY

Looking beyond the well-known figure of Orpheus, this collection explores the myriad stories that shaped not only musical thought, but also its styles, techniques and practices. The essays show that music itself performed and created knowledge in ways parallels to myth, and worked in tandem with old and new tales to construct social, political and philosophical views. This relationship was not static, however; as the Enlightenment dawned, the once authoritative gods became comic characters and myth became a medium for ridicule. Overall, the book provides a foundation for exploring myth and story throughout medieval and early modern culture,

in Medieval and Early Modern Culture

Myths and stories offer a window onto medieval and early modern musical culture. Far from merely offering material for musical settings, authoritative tales from classical mythology, ancient history and the Bible were treated as foundations for musical knowledge. Such myths were cited in support of arguments about the uses, effects, morality and preferred styles of music in sources as diverse as theoretical treatises, defences or critiques of music, art, sermons, educational literature and books of moral conduct. Newly written literary stories too were believed capable of moral instruction and influence, and were a medium through which ideas about music could be both explored and transmitted. How authors interpreted and weaved together these traditional stories, or created their own, reveals much about changing attitudes across the period.

KATHERINE BUTLER is a senior lecturer in music at Northumbria University. SAMANTHA BASSLER is a musicologist of cultural studies, a teaching artist, and an adjunct

Contributors: Jamie Apgar, Katie Bank, Samantha Bassler, Katherine Butler, Elina G. Hamilton, Sigrid Harris, Ljubica Ilic, Erica Levenson, John MacInnis, Patrick McMahon, Aurora Faye Martinez, Jacomien Prins, Tim Shephard, Jason Stoessel, Férdia J. Stone-Davis, Amanda Eubanks Winkler. Cover Image: Suzanne de Court, Minerva Visits the Muses on Mount Helicon, painted enamel mirror, early 17th century. Robert Lehman Collection, 1975, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Public Domain. Cover design by Greg Jorss.

an imprint of Boydell & Brewer Ltd PO Box 9, Woodbridge, Suffolk I PI2 3DF and 668 Mt Hope Ave, Rochester NY 14620, USA

Edited by Katherine Butler and Samantha Bassler

professor in the New York metropolitan area.

MUSIC, MYTH and

STORY in Medieval and Early Modern Culture

Edited by Katherine Butler and Samantha Bassler