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Catas presentation

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gabriela meyer

on 3 May 2017

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Transcript of Catas presentation

Music at Tudor times
Music was very important in the Tudor period, particularly at the royal court: performers were tasked with privately entertaining monarchs and tutoring their children, and were rewarded with extravagant tips and even personal praise from the king or queen.
Music was an important facet of elite 16th-century culture. It played a part in every aspect of court life: processions, coronations, funerals, baptisms, fanfares announcing the monarch’s approach, music in the privy chamber, and music for the pageants and masques that entertained the court. It was also an integral part of religious worship.
Professional court musicians, meanwhile, had their own hierarchy – those who played ‘loud’ instruments – for example, trumpets and cornets – were less valued than those who played ‘soft’ instruments, such as stringed instruments and keyboards. These ‘soft’ players were the private entertainers of the monarch, and would form part of his privy chamber. They were often rewarded with extravagant tips, and even personal praise from the king or queen.
All of the Tudor and Stewart monarchs were musical, and took a personal interest in the professional performers at their courts. Some of these court musicians were also well known writers and performers. Henry VII's most important musician was Robert Fayrfax , organist of St Alban’s Abbey and first doctor of music at Cambridge. Fayrfax continued to serve Henry VIII, one of his last commissions being music for the meeting between the monarch and the French king Francois at the Field of Cloth of Gold in 1520.
Among the duties of court musicians was the tutoring of royal children, who all learned to play at least one instrument. In 1502, Elizabeth of York paid £4 for a pair of clavichords (a stringed keyboard instrument) for herself, while her husband, Henry VII, bought lutes (a stringed instrument) for their daughters, Margaret and Mary, who also played the clavichord. Mary was sufficiently proficient on it to entertain Philip, Duke of Burgundy, at Windsor when she was just 11 years old, while Margaret’s skill with the lute came in handy when she met James IV of Scotland, whom she later married: the 30-year-old king put the 13-year-old princess at ease by playing and singing with her. Their son, James V, was equally fond of the pastime, but although he was a talented sight-reader, his singing voice was described as “rasky and harske” – that is, raucous and harsh-sounding.
Music was a vital component of worship before the Reformation. To have an accomplished chapel of singers was an important mark of status, and the finding of suitable men and boys was something that occupied the minds of the highest. There is correspondence relating to the friendly rivalry between Cardinal Wolsey and Henry VIII regarding the singers in their chapels: both men sought to recruit talented choristers, and even arranged a competition to see whose choir was the better. Henry gave the victory to Wolsey’s men, so, tactfully, Wolsey released to Henry’s service a boy with an especially “crafty descant”.
Another well-known composer of Henry VII’s reign, who was also commissioned by Henry’s wife, Elizabeth of York, was William Cornysh. In Scotland, meanwhile, Robert Carver provided music for the court of James IV and also for the coronation of James V, and in Elizabeth’s reign two of the most famous English composers of all time, Thomas Tallis and William Byrd, reached the heights of their genius.
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