Show Summary Details

Page of

Printed from Grove Music Online. Grove is a registered trademark. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a single article for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy).

date: 17 May 2021

Shakespeare, Williamlocked

  • Christopher R. Wilson,
  • F.W. Sternfeld
  •  and Eric Walter White


(b Stratford-upon-Avon, bap. April 26, 1564; d Stratford-upon-Avon, April 23, 1616). English playwright.

Christopher R. Wilson, assisted by F.W. Sternfeld

Music has an important role in Shakespeare’s works: any of his plays would suffer only in its total impact if sound effects and processions, fencing and costumes were eliminated, but the actual sound of vocal and instrumental music is essential to Shakespeare’s dramatic purpose. It remains of course complementary to the sound of verse and prose, but where it punctuates the dialogue it could be omitted only at considerable loss. Beyond this, the traditional associations of music, its divine and degrading powers, often play their part in providing the dramas with a network of wider associations, not only in the actual use of music in the dramatic action but in the frequent use of musical imagery in the text of the play, for important structural and thematic purposes. These allegorical and symbolic functions of music would be recognizable by an Elizabethan audience but less so today....

You do not currently have access to this article


Please login to access the full content.


Please subscribe to access the full content.

Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association
Cambridge, King's College, Rowe Music Library
Dublin, Trinity College Library, University of Dublin
Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, Dept of Manuscripts and Printed Books
Cambridge, University Library
Eric Blom, ed.: A Dictionary of Music and Musicians (5/1954)
Musical Times
Nottingham, University of Nottingham, Department of Music
Musical Quarterly
The New Grove Dictionary of Opera
Journal of the American Musicological Society
R. Fiske: English Theatre Music in the Eighteenth Century (London, 1973, 2/1986)
Oxford, Christ Church Library
Oxford, Bodleian Library
London, British Library
Renaissance News
Early Music
New York, Public Library at Lincoln Center, Music Division
Music & Letters
Washington, Folger Shakespeare Library