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Bard  

Peter Crossley-Holland, John MacInnes, and James Porter

Among the Celts, a composer of praise poetry (and, on occasion, its counterpart of dispraise or satire). The word is almost certainly of Indo-European origin but has no obvious cognates outside the group of Celtic languages: from a common Celtic bardos are derived the Gaelic, Manx and Irish bard, Welsh bardd, Cornish barth and Breton barz. The basic meaning appears to be ‘praise singer’, even if the professional and social status of such figures varied from age to age and from culture to culture. In Scots Gaelic ‘bard’ became the generic term for poet. (The development of ‘bard’ in English to indicate a poet of lofty imagination, inspired by mysterious powers, is largely a product of Romanticism.)

For an extended use of the term to refer to epic singers of non-Celtic peoples see Aoidos; Epics; Mongol music; and Central Asia, §2.

Bard: Antiquity

Bard: Medieval and post–medieval Wales and Cornwall...

Article

Bard: Antiquity  

Peter Crossley-Holland

Knowledge of the functions of the bards of ancient Gaul derives from passages in Greek and Roman authors. Some of their most valuable evidence depends on material, now lost, by Posidonius of Apamea (c135–51 BCE). Strabo’s version may be taken as representative: ‘The bards [bardoi] are singers and poets, the vates [ouateis] interpreters of sacrifice and natural philosophers, while the druids [druïdai] in addition to the science of nature study moral philosophy’ (Geography, iv.4.4). The distinction between these castes may derive from Posidonius, and the idea of a caste system agrees with later Celtic evidence (see below, §§2–3); there is no reason to doubt that the bards were poets whose function included the singing of panegyrics. Tierney has shown, however, that Posidonius’s ascription to these groups of philosophical studies cannot be taken at its face value. The ancient authorities – several of them apparently dependent on Posidonius – include, besides Strabo quoted above, Diodorus Siculus (v.31), who mentioned the bards’ use of ‘instruments similar to lyres’, Athenaeus (246c–d), Lucan (...

Article

Bard: Medieval and post–medieval Ireland and Scotland  

John MacInnes

In medieval Gaelic society in Ireland and Scotland, professional men of learning were organized in a caste system, under various descriptions: draoi (the Gaelic equivalent of ‘druid’), fili, later file (poet-seer), breitheamh (‘brehon’, or lawgiver) and seanchaidh (historian-antiquarian). These terms appear to denote various offices, or perhaps duties, of the highest orders in the professional hierarchy.

The bard occupied a lower position. Until the Norman Conquest, the filidh (plural of fili) specialized in a form of poetry called seanchas that drew on the high learning, historical and mythological, of the Gaels; and the filidh appear to have maintained some vestiges of pagan religion (the word fili derives from a root ‘to see’). But the bard, according to 10th-century Irish juristic tradition, had an honour price only half that of a fili; and, according to another medieval juristic tradition, a bard might claim nothing on the grounds of his status as a man of learning but should rest satisfied with whatever his native wit might win him....

Article

Bard: Medieval and post–medieval Wales and Cornwall  

Peter Crossley-Holland

Throughout the British Isles local kings, princes and chieftains maintained bards, bestowing gifts upon them for their services. The bards played the harp and sang elegies and eulogies on famous men, composed proverbs and recited sagas. Monasteries also sometimes maintained bards as historians and genealogists, as at Aberconway and Strata Florida in Wales.

The high esteem in which the class was held is evident in the early legal codes of both Ireland and Wales. The Laws of Hywel Dda (Howel the Good), surviving in Welsh manuscripts from the 12th century but representing in essence a 10th-century codification of customs rather more ancient, distinguish two classes of bard: the bardd teulu, who was a permanent official of the king’s household, and the pencerdd (‘chief of song’), or head of the bardic fraternity in the district (this term still survives; for details of original sources, see Gwynn Jones, 1913–14). These classes of resident and itinerant bards, also found in Ireland and Scotland, are reminiscent of classes found generally among Indo-European ethnic groups, for example, in Anglo-Saxon England, although they cannot be precisely equated with the ...

Article

Bard: Music and performing practice  

James Porter

It is impossible to tell with certainty how much or how little of bardic music survives. By the 18th century, when antiquarians in Britain and Ireland became aware of the social function of ‘ancient’ music (i.e. ‘Celtic’ music), it was already too late to record in reliable form an authentic bardic style of singing, chanting or reciting poetry to the accompaniment of a harp. It is important, furthermore, to separate the concept of ‘bard’ from that of ‘instrumental musician’, for they were distinct in the Middle Ages. The bard would often have with him a harper and a person (datgeiniaid) to sing or declaim his songs, but no description of how the songs were performed survives. In Ireland, a parallel class, namely the recairi, sang or recited the praises of their leaders, again to the accompaniment provided by a harper. The main part of the verse may have been chanted in a monotone, with cadential melodic inflections as in psalmody, and supported by harp chords; such a method of performance is described in Mayo as late as the 18th century....

Article

Basile, Giovanni Battista  

Argia Bertini

revised by Dinko Fabris

[Giambattista]

Member of Basile family

(b Giugliano, nr Naples, Feb 25, 1566; dGiugliano, Feb 23, 1632). Italian poet,writer and librettist. He was educated in Naples but left at an early age, travelling around Italy until he arrived in Venice in 1604. He became a soldier and was deployed with the Venetian army to defend Crete, where he joined the literary Accademia degli Stravaganti, taking the name ‘Il Pigro’ (‘the lazy one’). In 1608 he abandoned his military career and returned to Naples, where he began work as a writer and published his first poetry in Neapolitan dialect. He became a member of the Accademia degli Oziosi in 1608 and of the Accademia degli Incauti in 1621. The support of his famous sister, Adriana Basile, no doubt helped his career: after she moved to the Gonzaga court, Mantua, in 1610, Giovanni Battista joined her for a year and was awarded the titles of ...

Article

Costa, (Maria) Margherita  

Mirosław Perz, Colin Timms, and Nigel Fortune

[Margarita]

Member of Costa family (ii)

(b Rome; fl 1629–57). Italian singer and poet, sister of Anna Francesca Costa. Her career as a talented courtesan led her from Rome through Florence (1629), Rome (1644), Turin (1645) and Paris (1647) before returning again to her native city; her patrons included the Medici (in particular, Grand Duke Ferdinando II), the Barberini and Cardinal Mazarin. Her rivalry with another Roman soprano, Cecca del Padule, was reputed to have inspired Domenico Mazzocchi’s La catena d’Adone (1626), although she did not take part in the performance. Costa’s numerous publications include poetry, letters, a comedy (Li buffoni, Florence, 1641), a libretto for a Festa reale per balletto a cavallo (Paris, 1647, with a dedication to Mazarin: it had been offered to Grand Duke Ferdinando II in 1640), and two opera librettos, La Flora feconda...

Article

Costa e Faria, Luiz Calixto da  

Asta-Rose Alcaide

Member of Costa family (i)

(b Guarda, Oct 14, 1679; d after 1759). Portuguese poet and librettist. He was an abbot in various towns in northern Portugal. His publications included librettos for a pastoral opera, Fabula de Alfeo e Aretusa, produced in Lisbon in 1712, and a zarzuela, ...

Article

Favart family  

Bruce Alan Brown and Paulette Letailleur

French family of dramatists, singers, and actors active in musical theatre.

Favart, Charles-Simon (b Paris, Nov 13, 1710; d Belleville [now in Paris], May 12, 1792)

Favart [née Duronceray], Marie-Justine-Benoîte [‘Mlle Chantilly’] (b Avignon, June 14, 1727; d Paris, April 21, 1772)

Favart, Charles Nicolas Joseph Justin (b Paris, March 17, 1749; d Belleville [now in Paris], Feb 2, 1806)

F. and C. Parfaict: Dictionnaire des théâtres de Paris (Paris, 1756/R, 2/1767, with G. d’Abguerbe)Meusnier: Manuscrit trouvé à la Bastille concernant deux lettres-de-cachet lâchées contre Mademoiselle de Chantilly et M. Favart, par le Maréchal de Saxe (Paris, 1789; another edn, Brussels, 1868)A.-P.-C. Favart, ed.: Mémoires et correspondance littéraires, dramatiques et anecdotiques de C.-S. Favart (Paris, 1808/R), esp. 1, pp.lxxiv–lxxx [incl. historical introduction by H.F. Dumolard]A. Le Blanc de Ferrière: Favart à Bruxelles (Paris, 1811)...

Article

Favart, Charles-Simon  

Bruce Alan Brown

Member of Favart family

(b Paris, Nov 13, 1710; d Belleville [now in Paris], May 12, 1792). French librettist, playwright, composer, and impresario. He was one of the most highly regarded and prolific librettists of opéra comique during the mid-18th century, which saw both the Querelle des Bouffons and the gradual replacement in the genre of vaudevilles (popular songs) by newly composed, italianate ariettes.

According to his own fragmentary memoirs Favart inherited from his father, a pastrycook, a love of the theatre and of song; his mother encouraged his literary studies. He attended a collège until the death of his father in 1730 necessitated his return to the family business, in which he continued even after his first successes at the fairground theatres of the Opéra-Comique. Many of his early pieces (among them several parodies) were written with others, including his mentor Charles-François Panard, whose allegorical satire he imitated. These nevertheless brought him to the attention of noble patrons, including the Maréchal de Saxe....

Article

Holly, Buddy  

Michael Butler

(b Lubbock, TX, 7 Sept 1936; d Clear Lake, IA, 3 Feb 1959). American rockabilly guitarist, singer, and lyricist.

As a child he took guitar, violin, and piano lessons and was exposed to many musical styles, including country and western, gospel, bluegrass, and rhythm and blues. Each influenced his later recordings. As a teen he became known throughout western Texas for his unique voice, songwriting skills, and live performances. In 1955 he signed a recording contract with Nashville’s Decca, but left within a year because of creative differences. Holly returned to Texas where he opened for acts such as Bill Haley and His Comets and Elvis Presley. After their 15 October 1956 concert, Presley suggested that Holly focus more on rock as his primary style, rather than country and bluegrass. It was a suggestion that changed Buddy Holly’s career.

In 1957 Holly and his band, the Crickets, recorded “That’ll Be the Day” for Brunswick Records. The single, Holly’s first, topped station playlists across the United States and represented his transformation from country crooner to rock and roll pioneer. During the same year Holly and the Crickets recorded “Maybe Baby,” “Not Fade Away,” “Oh Boy,” and “Peggy Sue.” The group became the first all-white band to play Harlem’s Apollo Theater, and in ...

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Cover Lin-Manuel Miranda

Lin-Manuel Miranda  

In 

Lin-Manuel Miranda at the Pantages Theatre on August 16, 2017 in Hollywood, California.

(Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

Article

Loesser, Frank  

Geoffrey Block

(Henry)

(b New York, NY, 29 June 1910; d New York, NY, 28 July 1969). American lyricist, composer, librettist, and publisher.

The son of a noted piano teacher and the half brother of Arthur Loesser (1894–1969), concert pianist, author, and for many years professor of piano at the Cleveland Institute, Frank grew up in a musical home that disdained popular culture. After being expelled from Townsend Harris High School before graduation he enrolled at City College of New York at the age of 15, but failed nearly every subject and was expelled for polishing the nose of a bronze statue as a prank. After his father died unexpectedly in 1926, Loesser gained temporary employment with a succession of newspapers (selling classified ads for one paper, drawing political cartoons for another, and serving brief stints as knit-goods editor for Women’s Wear and city editor for the New Rochelle News...

Article

Miranda, Lin-Manuel  

Elizabeth Craft

(b New York, Jan 16, 1980). American composer, lyricist, playwright, performer, and producer. Miranda was raised in northern Manhattan and attended the Hunter College public selective-admission elementary and high schools. His parents are from Puerto Rico; growing up, he spent time there each summer.

Miranda studied theatre at Wesleyan College (BA 2002), where he wrote an early version of his first hit musical In the Heights. After graduating, he teamed up with director Thomas Kail, a fellow Wesleyan alumnus, and the show received several readings and an off-Broadway production before its première on Broadway in 2008. Miranda wrote the music and lyrics, working with bookwriter Quiara Alegría Hudes, and he starred in the original cast. Running for over 1000 performances and garnering awards including four Tonys, notably for Best Musical and Best Original Score, the show established Miranda as a major presence on Broadway. Many of the show’s creative team and cast members became his regular collaborators....

Article

Ossian  

James Porter

[OiseanOisín]

The legendary poet of the Celtic cycle of heroic tales surrounding Fionn mac Cumhaill (Fingal), leader of the Fenian warband, who is said to have lived in Ireland and Scotland before the Christian era. Ossian, the son of Fionn, is traditionally regarded as the author of most narratives concerning the Fenians and is imagined to have survived until the time of St Patrick (d 461), when the saint had the tales written down. The name of Ossian became known throughout Europe with the publication in 1760 of James Macpherson’s Fragments of Ancient Poetry, Collected in the Highlands of Scotland and Translated from the Galic or Erse Language, which was followed by Fingal, an Ancient Epic Poem together with Several Other Poems Composed by Ossian, the Son of Fingal (1761–2), Temora (1763), and The Works of Ossian, the Son of Fingal, Translated from the Gaelic Language...

Article

Piccinni family  

Mary Hunter, James L. Jackman, Marita Petzoldt McClymonds, David Charlton, Dennis Libby, and Julian Rushton

Italian, later French, family of composers.

Piccinni [Piccini], (Vito) Niccolò [Nicola] (Marcello Antonio Giacomo) (b Bari, Jan 16, 1728; d Passy, nr Paris, May 7, 1800)

Piccinni, Luigi [Lodovico] (b ?Rome or Naples, 1764; d Passy, nr Paris, July 31, 1827)

Piccinni, Louis Alexandre [Luigi Alessandro; Lodovico Alessandro] (b Paris, Sept 10, 1779; d Paris, April 24, 1850)

BurneyFI; FétisB; La BordeE; RosaMJ.A. Hiller: ‘Sechste Fortsetzung des Entwurfs einer musikalischen Bibliothek’, Wöchentliche Nachrichten und Anmerkungen, 3 (1768), 57–64J.F. Marmontel: Essai sur les révolutions de la musique en France (Paris, 1777)G.M. Leblond: Mémoires pour servir à l’histoire de la révolution opérée dans la musique par M. le Chevalier Gluck (Naples and Paris, 1781)P.L. Ginguené: ‘Dessein’, ‘France’, Encyclopédie méthodique: musique, ed. N.E. Framery and P.L. Ginguené, 1 (Paris, 1791)P.L. Ginguené: Notice sur la vie et les ouvrages de Nicolas Piccinni...

Article

Porter, Cole  

Matthew Shaftel

(Albert)

(b Peru, IN, 9 June 1891; d Santa Monica, CA, 15 Oct 1964). Composer, songwriter, and lyricist.

One of the most celebrated Broadway and film composers of his era, Porter also penned his own lyrics, which were famous for their wit and sophistication.

The son of Kate Cole, an amateur pianist, and Sam Porter, an amateur guitarist, pianist, and singer, Cole Porter began his musical training at an early age. In addition to singing at the local Lutheran church, Cole studied the violin and the piano, attending the Marion Conservatory in Indiana at age six. He wrote his first song in 1901, “The Song of the Birds,” and his first publication was a short piano work, The Bobolink Waltz (1902). As a youth, he played violin in the conservatory orchestra, provided piano accompaniment for silent movies, and even starred in a school production of Snow White...

Article

Raupach, Ernst Benjamin Salomo  

Geoffrey Norris

revised by Klaus-Peter Koch

[Hirsemenzel, Lebrecht]

Member of Raupach family

(b Straupitz, May 21, 1784; d Berlin, March 19, 1848). German dramatist. He studied at the University of Halle; in 1804 he moved to Russia as a tutor, and from 1816 he taught in the philosophy department of St Petersburg University, where he was appointed professor of history and German literature in 1817. He left Russia in autumn 1822; after travelling to Italy he returned to Germany, settling in Berlin in autumn 1824. He wrote a number of opera librettos, including Agnes von Hohenstaufen (set by Spontini, 1829) and Die drei Wünsche (Carl Loewe, 1832); his play Der versiegelte Bürgermeister (1828) was adapted by Richard Batka and A.S. Pordes-Milo for Leo Blech’s opera Versiegelt (1908). Other writings by him inspired music by Mendelssohn, K.L. Blumer, H. Proch, F. Hiller, Wagner and Spohr. A four-volume edition of his comedies (Hamburg, ...