The Fayrfax Manuscript, B.M. Add. MS. 5465
LccPR 529 L8 M44 1986
English poetry - Middle English, 1100-1500 - History and criticism
Music and literature
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AbstractThe Fayrfax MS. is one of the three extant vocal music mss. of the early Tudor period, of approximately 1500. The period in which it is composed is a transitional one, in the literary, musical social and political spheres. The growth of secular power over Church is evidenced by secular lyrics outnumbering the sacred for the first time in a ms. A growing literacy and the emergence of the printed word encouraged secular literature. Music dominates words in text settings at this time, as opposed to earlier liturgical practices. The humorous and satirical songs have a "popular" appeal, whereas the main body of love songs is conventional and courtly. The secular lyrics of the Fayrfax MS. are of a love tradition, though not of a specific code of courtly love. Though it is convenient to categorize the songs as courtly, popular and religious, they should be viewed as inter-related in literary theme and musical style. The music shows a brilliance of elaboration and an ornamental floridity. The aim of the composers is not musical expressiveness, though instances of tone painting and word painting occur in these songs. The Fayrfax MS. is of social significance, not only because it contains songs of the time of Henry VII, but because it reflects a transition in the history of poetry and music, within its professional limits.
Bibliography: p. 120-130.
CitationMendis, R. P. (1983). The Fayrfax Manuscript, B.M. Add. MS. 5465 (Unpublished master's thesis). University of Calgary, Calgary, AB. doi:10.11575/PRISM/13581
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