Shakespeare's Musical Imagery

Christopher R. Wilson

DOI: 10.5040/9781472555397

ISBN: 9781847064950

Music pervades Shakespeare's

work. In addition to vocal songs and numerous instrumental cues there are

thousands of references to music throughout the plays and many of the poems.

This book discusses Shakespeare's musical imagery according to categories defined

by occurrence in the plays and poems. In turn, these categories depend on their

early modern usage and significance. Thus, instruments such as lute and viol

deserve special attention just as Renaissance ideas relating to musical

philosophy and pedagogical theory need contextual explanation. The objective is

to locate Shakespeare's musical imagery, reference and metaphor in its

immediate context in a play or poem and explain its meaning. Discussion and

explanation of the musical imagery suggests a range of possible dramatic and

poetic purposes these musical references serve.

'Wilson's contribution is to catalog the "over 200 references to music and nearly 400 musical terms in Shakespeare's works"; he explains their meanings and explores their possible dramatic, poetic, and symbolic functions...This well-grounded study includes 414 notes and more than 15 pages of bibliography.'-Choice Magazine