O Let Us Howle Some Heavy Note: Music for Witches, the Melancholic, and the Mad on the Seventeenth-Century English Stage

Overview

In the 17th century, harmonious sounds were thought to represent the well-ordered body of the obedient subject, and, by extension, the well-ordered state; conversely, discordant, unpleasant music represented both those who caused disorder (murderers, drunkards, witches, traitors) and those who suffered from bodily disorders (melancholics, madmen, and madwomen). While these theoretical correspondences seem straightforward, in theatrical practice the musical portrayals of ...

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Overview

In the 17th century, harmonious sounds were thought to represent the well-ordered body of the obedient subject, and, by extension, the well-ordered state; conversely, discordant, unpleasant music represented both those who caused disorder (murderers, drunkards, witches, traitors) and those who suffered from bodily disorders (melancholics, madmen, and madwomen). While these theoretical correspondences seem straightforward, in theatrical practice the musical portrayals of disorderly characters were multivalent and often ambiguous.

O Let Us Howle Some Heavy Note focuses on the various ways that theatrical music represented disorderly subjects—those who presented either a direct or metaphorical threat to the health of the English kingdom in 17th-century England. Using theater music to examine narratives of social history, Winkler demonstrates how music reinscribed and often resisted conservative, political, religious, gender, and social ideologies.

Indiana University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Choice

"Seventeenth-century England provides an outstanding backdrop for this study, which focuses on theatrical characters generally associated with mental disorder.... Opera scholars should find this work helpful, and specialists in gender studies will gain much from Winkler's discussion of stereotypes, role reversals, pathological diagnoses, and so on.... Recommended." —Choice

Renaissance Quarterly

"Winkler's book is an outstanding contribution to the social and political history of musical theater in London from the age of Shakespeare to the rage for Italian opera in the first decade of the eighteenth century." —Renaissance Quarterly

Women & Music
"... In keeping with the instability of the seventeenth-century English stage, Amanda Eubanks Winkler refuses to bind her subversive characters in neat packages. I find her observations of negotiated trends, which do not always fit into tidy theoretical boxes, honest conclusions of an extremely complex period of English cultural life.... Whether onstage or within Winkler’s text, these unruly characters refuse to be absolutely contained." —MEGAN McFadden, Vol. 13 2009

— MEGAN McFadden

Renaissance Quarterly - Linda Phyllis Austern

"... an outstanding contribution to the social and political history of musical theater in London from the age of Shakespeare to the rage for Italian opera in the first decade of the eighteenth century." —Linda Phyllis Austern, Northwestern University, Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 61.1 Spring 2008

Women & Music - MEGAN McFadden

"... In keeping with the instability of the seventeenth-century English stage, Amanda Eubanks Winkler refuses to bind her subversive characters in neat packages. I find her observations of negotiated trends, which do not always fit into tidy theoretical boxes, honest conclusions of an extremely complex period of English cultural life.... Whether onstage or within Winkler’s text, these unruly characters refuse to be absolutely contained." —MEGAN McFadden, Vol. 13 2009

From the Publisher
"... an outstanding contribution to the social and political history of musical theater in London from the age of Shakespeare to the rage for Italian opera in the first decade of the eighteenth century." —Linda Phyllis Austern, Northwestern University, Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 61.1 Spring 2008

"Seventeenth-century England provides an outstanding backdrop for this study, which focuses on theatrical characters generally associated with mental disorder.... Opera scholars should find this work helpful, and specialists in gender studies will gain much from Winkler's discussion of stereotypes, role reversals, pathological diagnoses, and so on.... Recommended." —Choice

Choice

"Seventeenth-century England provides an outstanding backdrop for this study, which focuses on theatrical characters generally associated with mental disorder.... Opera scholars should find this work helpful, and specialists in gender studies will gain much from Winkler's discussion of stereotypes, role reversals, pathological diagnoses, and so on.... Recommended." —Choice

Choice Magazine
Opera scholars should find this work helpful... The discussion of Dido and Aeneas is particularly appealing... Summing Up: Recommended.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780253348050
  • Publisher: Indiana University Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2006
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.12 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 0.89 (d)

Meet the Author

Amanda Eubanks Winkler is Assistant Professor of Fine Arts at Syracuse University. She specializes in early music.

Indiana University Press

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Table of Contents

Contents
Acknowledgments
Note on Transcriptions
Library Sigla

1. Music and the Macrocosm: Disorder and History
2. "Stay, You Imperfect Speakers, Tell Me More"
3. "Remember Me, But Ah, Forget My Fate"
4. "O Let Us Howle Some Heavy Note"
5. Disorder in the Eighteenth Century
Epilogue

Notes
Bibliography
Index

Indiana University Press

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