Course Code
MUSC 0110
Course Type
Subject Credit
Course Availability

English music enjoyed an unprecedented rise in popularity in the fifteenth century, only to be subject to dramatic change at the hands of Henry VIII and his descendants in the sixteenth century. This course will explore the rise of the English style (‘contenance angloise’) in the early fifteenth century, the flowering of English polyphony, with the virtuosic music of the Eton Choirbook in the second half of the fifteenth century and, furthermore, the towering polyphonic music of Tye, Sheppard and Tallis in the early sixteenth century. The dramatic change in musical style, beginning with Henry VIII and continuing with Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I throughout the sixteenth century, will then be examined. New research will show how Elizabeth I cultivated music to aid her image as a female monarch. You will focus on the music of William Byrd, looking at how he managed to combine his role as the Queen’s favourite, while writing music secretly for the catholic community he so adored. You will also observe how the emergence of new styles of Anglican music are still present in Evensong and choral practice today. Oxford is a wonderful place to study this course as much of what you will discuss took place in this very city. By the end of the course, you will be able to discuss change and continuity, religion and politics and the influence of continental musical practices.