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Both from the Ears and MindThinking about Music in Early Modern England$
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Linda Phyllis Austern

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226701592

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226704678.001.0001

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Praise, Blame, and Persuasion

Praise, Blame, and Persuasion

“Of Musicke by Way of Disputation”

(p.7) Chapter One Praise, Blame, and Persuasion
Both from the Ears and Mind

Linda Phyllis Austern

University of Chicago Press

This chapter locates discussions of music among the arts of persuasive speech and the Classical imperative to precede embodied engagement with topical discourse. It surveys genres from which readers could learn core information about music and potentially generate their own timely arguments, including song lyrics, emblems, and prefatory material to music books as well as commonplace collections, poetry, and prose treatises from Antiquity onward. To speak of music, and to perform it, were fundamentally separate practices. The former took precedence among the truly learned, and was no less creative, subject to interpretation, or bound by convention. Composers, music printers, music theorists, and practicing musicians variously engage with the expectation that they, and consumers of their works, should continue to frame performance within verbal discourse about music, especially its powers and its history of use. Most arguments pro and contra come from Classical and Biblical antecedents, but there is a clear sense that the Scholastic heritage is increasingly coming into conflict with empiricism as the sixteenth century gives rise to the seventeenth. Arguments also become more eloquent against the background of ongoing debate about appropriate use of music in contemporary Christian worship.

Keywords:   commonplace book, debate, dialectics, discourse, disputation, encomium, history of reading, orality, praise of music, rhetoric

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