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Journal > Volumes > 47 (2016) / 3 (Autumn)
Singers and Lutes, Lutes and Singers: Musical Performance and Poetic Discourse in Early Modern Songs
Sarah Iovan
Independent Scholar

Although twenty-first-century scholarship tends to see the connections between music and poetry in terms of mellifluousness, rhythm, meter, and the like, early modern poets understood those connections as a poetic discourse that interacts with, destabilizes, or undermines the social and literary contexts in which it appears. Lute poems provide fascinating opportunities to explore the implications of song as discourse. They employ song performance as their poetic context and use the conventions of performance to multiply the relationships between the speaker(s) and the audience(s) present in the poems. Wyatt's lute poems “Blame not My Lute” and “My Lute, Awake” provide two examples of the ways that lutes, and by extension other musical voices, can act as secondary speakers within a poem.

Pages: 539 - 555