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English Devotional Song of the Seventeenth Century in Printed Collections from 1638 to 1693: A Study of Music and Culture

Description: Seventeenth-century England witnessed profound historical, theological, and musical changes. A king was overthrown and executed; religion was practiced fervently and disputed hotly; and English musicians fell under the influence of the Italian stile nuovo. Many devotional songs were printed, among them those which reveal influences of this style. These English-texted sacred songs for one to three solo voices with continuo--not based upon a previously- composed hymn or psalm tuneā€”are emphasized in this dissertation. Chapter One treats definitions, past neglect of the genre by scholars, and the problem of ambiguous terminology. Chapter Two is an examination of how religion and politics affected musical life, the hiatus from liturgical music from 1644 to 1660 causing composers to contribute to the flourishing of devotional music for home worship and recreation. Different modes of seventeenth-century devotional life are discussed in Chapter Three. Chapter Four provides documentation for use of devotional music, diaries and memoirs of the period revealing the use of several publications considered in this study. Baroque musical aesthetics applied to devotional song and its raising of the affections towards God are discussed in Chapter Five. Chapter Six traces the influence of Italian monody and sacred concerto on English devotional song. The earliest compositions by an Englishman working in the stile nuovo are Henry Lawes' 1638 hymn tunes with continuo. Collections of two- and three-voice compositions by Child, the Lawes brothers, Wilson, and Porter, published from 1639 to 1657, comprise Chapter Seven, as well as early devotional works of Locke. Chapter Eight treats Restoration devotional song-- compositions for one to three voices and continuo, mostly of a more secular and dramatic style than works discussed in earlier. The outstanding English Baroque composers--Locke, Humfrey, Blow, and Purcell--are represented, and the apex of this style is found in the latest seventeenth-century publication of devotional song, ...
Date: May 1986
Creator: Treacy, Susan