About the Book

English comedy from the fifteenth to the early seventeenth century abounds in song lyrics, but most of them survive without their original tunes. Using the existing English song repertory, both popular and composed, Ross Duffin here proposes that the music to these songs is not lost: that playwrights were borrowing melodies from songs they already knew. By this means, more than a hundred plays and other stage entertainments have been provided with hundreds of songs, previously unknown, thus rendering the plays performable with period music for the first time in four or five hundred years. The tale of these myriad reconstructions is a fascinating one, and sometimes as thrilling as a murder mystery.

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