Music in Elizabethan Court Politics by Katherine Butler

By Katherine Butler

Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1603) had a powerful attractiveness for musicality; her courtroom musicians, Thomas Tallis and William Byrd, even steered that song was once integral to the kingdom. yet what roles did song play in Elizabethan court docket politics? How did a musical photograph help the Queen in projecting her royal authority? What impact did her deepest performances have on her courtships, diplomatic affairs, and relationships with courtiers? To what volume did Elizabeth regulate courtroom song, or might others applicable performances to augment their very own prestige and attain their goals? may noblemen, civic leaders, or perhaps musicians reap the benefits of Elizabeth's love of tune to offer their court cases and petitions in tune?

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A3v. 43 Nanette Salomon, ‘Positioning Women in Visual Convention: The Case of Elizabeth I’, in Attending to Women in Early Modern England, ed. Betty Travitsky and Adele F.  71–5).  1710. indb 25 18/11/2014 15:50 26 Music in Elizabethan Court Politics No direct condemnation of Elizabeth’s musicality by her contemporaries survives; yet the potential for criticism and dire consequences are clear from the low reputations of other musical queens. Elizabeth’s own mother, Anne Boleyn, was accused of having an affair with the musician Mark Smeaton.

10–14. 90 As well as symbolising the joy of her subjects, for Mundy, Peele, and Kyffin music was the force that united the land, townspeople, country-dwellers, and courtiers. Y a note of discord e t this image of England as a unified, harmonious kingdom was always a fiction. The English continued to be divided by loyalties to religion, localities, or social class that competed with their unified portrayal as Englishmen and Elizabethan subjects. 91 Similarly, though London had seen unrest on Shrove Tuesday, riots over the price of fish and butter, and a march of a thousand apprentices on Tower Hill that resulted in the city being placed under martial law for the rest of the summer in 1595, George Peele’s Accession Day tribute 87 The Honourable Entertainment Given to the Queen’s Majesty in Progress, at Elvetham in Hampshire, by the Right Honourable the Earl of Hertford (London, 1591), sig.

10.  27.  137. 30 Castiglione, The Courtier, sig. I2r. , sig. Ii1v. indb 22 18/11/2014 15:50 Music, Authority, and the Royal Image 23 or of a lady’s role as Muse, the instability of the connotations of musicality for women as performers or listeners is clear. Yet despite the colourful admonitions of authors like Salter and Vives, the perceived dangers of music could be mitigated through conventions of modesty and moderation. The majority of courtiers would not go as far as Vives in arguing that women should avoid all enjoyment of music.

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