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Singing to the Lyre in Renaissance Italy -

Singing to the Lyre in Renaissance Italy

Memory, Performance, and Oral Poetry



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A primary mode for the creation and dissemination of poetry in Renaissance Italy was the oral practice of singing and improvising verse to the accompaniment of a stringed instrument. Singing to the Lyre is the first comprehensive study of this ubiquitous practice, which was cultivated by performers ranging from popes, princes, and many artists, to professionals of both mercantile and humanist background. Common to all was a strong degree of mixed orality based on a synergy between writing and the oral operations of memory, improvisation, and performance. As a cultural practice deeply rooted in language and supported by ancient precedent, cantare ad lyram (singing to the lyre) is also a reflection of Renaissance cultural priorities, including the status of vernacular poetry, the study and practice of rhetoric, the oral foundations of humanist education, and the performative culture of the courts reflected in theatrical presentations and Castiglione's Il cortegiano.

Product code: 9781108488075

ISBN 9781108488075
No. Of Pages 484
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Dimensions (HxWxD in mm) H253xW180xS30
Vernacular poetry in Renaissance Italy was typically created and disseminated by improvising singer-poets. This is the first comprehensive study of cantare ad lyram (singing to the lyre), the dominant form of solo singing in Italy prior to the mid-sixteenth century, and of the related oral practices of memory and improvisation.