- O Let Us Howle Some Heavy Note
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O Let Us Howle Some Heavy Note
Music for Witches, the Melancholic, and the Mad on the Seventeenth-Century English Stage
Published by: Indiana University Press
In the 17th century, harmonious sounds were thought to represent the well-ordered body of the obedient subject, and, by extension, the well-ordered state; conversely, discordant, unpleasant music represented both those who caused disorder (murderers, drunkards, witches, traitors) and those who suffered from bodily disorders (melancholics, madmen, and madwomen). While these theoretical correspondences seem straightforward, in theatrical practice the musical portrayals of disorderly characters were multivalent and often ambiguous.
O Let Us Howle Some Heavy Note focuses on the various ways that theatrical music represented disorderly subjects—those who presented either a direct or metaphorical threat to the health of the English kingdom in 17th-century England. Using theater music to examine narratives of social history, Winkler demonstrates how music reinscribed and often resisted conservative, political, religious, gender, and social ideologies.
Note on Transcriptions
1. Music and the Macrocosm: Disorder and History
2. "Stay, You Imperfect Speakers, Tell Me More"
3. "Remember Me, But Ah, Forget My Fate"
4. "O Let Us Howle Some Heavy Note"
5. Disorder in the Eighteenth Century
Amanda Eubanks Winkler is Assistant Professor of Fine Arts at Syracuse University. She specializes in early music.
"Seventeenth-century England provides an outstanding backdrop for this study, which focuses on theatrical characters generally associated with mental disorder. . . . Opera scholars should find this work helpful, and specialists in gender studies will gain much from Winkler's discussion of stereotypes, role reversals, pathological diagnoses, and so on. . . . Recommended."~Choice
". . . an outstanding contribution to the social and political history of musical theater in London from the age of Shakespeare to the rage for Italian opera in the first decade of the eighteenth century. Vol. 61.1 Spring 2008"~Linda Phyllis Austern, Northwestern University
". . . In keeping with the instability of the seventeenth-century English stage, Amanda Eubanks Winkler refuses to bind her subversive characters in neat packages. I find her observations of negotiated trends, which do not always fit into tidy theoretical boxes, honest conclusions of an extremely complex period of English cultural life. . . . Whether onstage or within Winkler's text, these unruly characters refuse to be absolutely contained.Vol. 13 2009"~MEGAN McFadden, Women & Music
"[T]he book [is] of great interest to anyone who wishes to explore the complex ways in which the assumptions and expectations of society conditioned the representation and reception of madness and witchcraft in the 17th-century English theatre, and the crucial role music played in this interaction. 37.2 2009"~Early Music
"Winkler's book is an outstanding contribution to the social and political history of musical theater in London from the age of Shakespeare to the rage for Italian opera in the first decade of the eighteenth century."~Renaissance Quarterly