The printed lute song: a textual and paratextual study of early modern English song books Public Deposited

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  • March 22, 2019
  • Oswell, Michelle Lynn
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Music
  • The English lute song book of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries represents a short-lived but well-admired flowering of English printed music. Situated between the birth of music printing in Italy at the turn of the sixteenth century and the rise of music printer John Playford in England in the 1650s, the printed lute song book's style quite closely resembles the poetic miscellanies of the time. They were printed in folio and table book format rather than quarto-sized and in part books, their title pages often used elaborately-carved borders, and their prefatory material included letters rich with symbolism. Basing my work on the analyses of paratexts done by Gérard Genette and Michael Saenger, I examine the English printed lute song book from 1597-1622 as a book in and of itself. While there has been a fair amount of research done on the lute song as a genre and on some individual composers, which I discuss in the introduction, comparably little discussion of the book's paratexts exists. I begin in chapter two with an analysis of title pages and other engraved material (the visual paratexts), examining at least one title page from each lute song book printer. Title page layout, font choices, and wording indicate a fair amount of planning, and composers and printers made statements through these choices aimed at attracting an audience to their publications. In chapter three I review the verbal paratexts of these song books with an eye to how composers simultaneously enticed readers and patrons to their books and fashioned identities for themselves out of their dedicatory letters and letters to the reader. In chapter four, I review the texts and music of the book proper in a structural analysis of small-scale compositional decisions regarding text choices and larger-scale issues of song placement within the book. Also, I consider the possibility that some books' contents and structure were planned out based on elements of the books' paratexts, including titles and dedicatees. Finally, I readdress the issue of the lute song book as a book rather than simply collection of songs.
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  • In Copyright
  • Nádas, John Louis
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Open access

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