Authorship and Identity in Early English Keyboard Music

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By analogy with today’s keyboard culture, two distinct keyboard traditions may be identified in Early Modern England. Throughout the period, domestic music-making is particularly associated with the education of girls. Seventeenth-century sources contain short arrangements of popular tunes made often by teachers: known to the family, they remain anonymous. Names and titles associated with pieces relate to the original material. There are concordances of tunes between sources, but settings are independent, intended only for local use. The ‘English virginalists’ were mostly organists who elevated the domestic tradition using the principle of variation. Concordances are between extended pieces by named composers, and music disseminated widely. Professional players at the beginning of the seventeenth century did not self-identify as composers: composing was an activity, not part of their duties as organist or singer. Questions of authorship have centred around establishing a canon for a composer; original attributions have been discarded based on style analysis. Using Bull’s music and Byrd’s Battle, the value of style analysis for determining questions of authorship is questioned. Conflicting ascriptions are interesting for the light they shed on keyboard culture.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAuthorship and Authorial Identity in Historical Keyboard Music
EditorsAndrew Woolley
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781003250395
ISBN (Print)9781032168111
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2023

Publication series

NameAshgate Historical Keyboard Series

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