Four and Twenty Fiddlers: The Violin at the English Court, 1540-1690 / Edition 1

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More About This Textbook


The royal string band at the English court had its origins in a six-man viol consort from Italy brought to England by Henry VIII in the spring of 1540. This book, written by the director of the acclaimed early music group, The Parley of Instruments, charts the history of the royal string band from its beginnings to the time of Purcell. Drawing on a wealth of documentary evidence, much of it new, Holman considers the previous history of instrumentalists at court and recounts the band's establishment at court in the context of the violin's place in sixteenth-century Europe. The first thorough treatment of this subject, Holman's book will be welcomed for the light it sheds on large areas of music history.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198165927
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/28/1996
  • Series: Oxford Monographs on Music Series
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 536
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.22 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Plates
List of Figures
List of Tables
List of Music Examples
Note to the Reader
1 'Quagmires of History and Terminology': The Origin of the Violin 1
2 'The Place of a Musicon in Ordinary': Place and Patronage at Court 32
3 'Mynstrelles with Straunge Soundes': Fiddles, Rebecs, and Viols at the Early Tudor Court 58
4 'Ministers of Pastime': The String Consort 1540-1558 78
5 'Musicke of Violenze': The Elizabethan String Consort 104
6 'Common Musicke': The Violin outside the Court 123
7 'Nach Englischer Art': A 'Lost' Repertoire of Elizabethan Dance Music 144
8 'In the Arte of Musicke and Skill of Danceing': The Jacobean Court Orchestra 173
9 'Coperarios Musique': The Households of Prince Henry and Prince Charles 197
10 'His Majesties Musique of Violins': The Caroline Court Orchestra 225
11 'The Fancy-Musick': The Violin and Court Chamber Music 1625-1663 251
12 'The Fideldedies': Charles II and the Twenty-four Violins 282
13 'Waiters upon the Violin': The Twenty-four Violins at Court 305
14 'By Intervals Design'd': Music for the London Stage 331
15 'Infinitely Gallant': Court Masque and Opera 359
16 'The French Fantastical Light Way': Violins in the Chapel Royal 389
17 'A Mighty Musique Entertainment at Court': Reform and Retrenchment 1685-1690 415
App. A. Succession of Places for String-Players at the Early Tudor Court 437
App. B. Succession of Places for Court Violinists 1540-1642 438
App. C. Succession of Places in the Twenty-four Violins 1660-1685 440
App. D. Some Sizes of Court Violin Bands in Performance 1607-1685 443
Bibliography: Books and Articles 447
Bibliography: Music 473
Index 479
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