New light on the 17th-century English cathedral wind band: a (fragmentary) Canterbury tale

Roberts, Helen (2022) New light on the 17th-century English cathedral wind band: a (fragmentary) Canterbury tale. Early Music. ISSN 0306-1078

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Despite the long-acknowledged and widespread association of wind instrumentalists with English cathedrals in the late 16th and 17th centuries, and the continued performance tradition enjoyed by sacred vocal music of the period, the performance practices of English cathedral wind bands during this time have been strangely neglected in the existing literature. Drawing on a combination of traditional musicological and archival research and bespoke practice-led research methodologies, this paper discusses some possible solutions to the question of how wind instrumentalists may have been employed in the day-to-day enactment of Prayer Book services during a turbulent period of English history. New archival evidence surrounding the life of William Mather, cornettist at Canterbury Cathedral in the years before the suspension of sung worship in 1642, sheds new light on the interplay between civic and ecclesiastical music-making in the city, contributing to our knowledge of the historical and social contexts of the people and practices involved, and offering a tantalising glimpse into life in the 17th-century gig economy.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
11 March 2022Accepted
4 November 2022Published Online
Uncontrolled Keywords: Canterbury cathedral, Performance practice, Cornett, Sackbut, Wind band, 17th century, Practice-led research, Waits, Soundscape, Reformation
Subjects: CAH25 - design, and creative and performing arts > CAH25-02 - performing arts > CAH25-02-02 - music
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Royal Birmingham Conservatoire > Royal Birmingham Conservatoire - Music
Depositing User: Helen Roberts
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2023 11:44
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2023 11:44

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