Music permeates Shakespeare's plays. This comprehensive study explores the variety of its theatrical functions, situating them in the context of the Early Modern period's understanding of music.From the trumpet calls which animate the battle scenes of the histories and tragedies to the songs which inflect the moods of the comedies and romances, Shakespeare experiments throughout his career with music's potential to contribute to the effect of his dramas. David Lindley sets the musical scene of Shakespeare's England, outlining the period's theoretical understanding of music and discussing the experience of music heard in the streets, alehouses, private residences, courts and theatres, which an audience brought with them to the Globe and Blackfriars. Music could be praised as a symbol of divine and political harmony, or vilified as an incitement to lust and effeminacy; it could heal and cure, or fuel drunken rebellion. Focusing throughout on the plays as theatrical events, this work analyzes Shakespeare's dramatic and thematic exploitation of these conflicting perceptions of music.