Shakespeare's Musical Reformation: Sounds of Silence?

Florence Hazrat


This article examines William Shakespeare's plays for their relationship to Reformation music. It sketches the status and practice of sacred music before and after the Reformation, drawing out two main aspects of the new religion's sonic changes, contrafactum composition, and congregational song, and exploring how Shakespeare registers and manages these in his oeuvre. Throughout, attention is paid to the lived experience of the Reformation in terms of sound based on a varied methodology including musicology, performance studies, and cognitive science. This article offers ways of turning the silent past into momentary sound, and in so doing imitates Shakespeare's own practices of sonic recuperation and aural innovation.


Shakespeare; music; Reformation; community; puritanism

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