1st Edition

History as Fantasy in Music, Sound, Image and Media

    274 Pages 26 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Exploring how music is used to portray the past in a variety of media, this book probes the relationship between history and fantasy. The volume brings together essays from multidisciplinary perspectives, addressing the use of music to convey a sense of the past in television, documentaries, opera, musical theatre, contemporary and historical film, video games, and virtual reality. With a focus on early music and medievalism, the contributors theorize the role of music and sound in constructing ideas of the past, from seeking authenticity to deliberate distortion. Seeking to draw connections across media, this collection is relevant to researchers across music, media, historical and cultural studies.

    Introduction: Beyond Authenticity in Music, History and Fantasy 

    James Cook, Alexander Kolassa, Alexander Robinson, Adam Whittaker


    I. Using and Misusing Early Music 

    1. ‘Official’ (Televisual) History, Music, and the Reinforcement of Popular Imagination: the Case of David Starkey’s Monarchy (2004-2006)

    Alexander Robinson (Université of Tours)

    2. Damon Albarn, Dr Dee, and situation specific medievalism: An ephemeral fantasy or a disposable commodity? 

    Ralph Corrigan (Independent Scholar)

    3. Shakespeare, the Early Modern, and Period Song in the American Silent Cinema 

    Kendra Preston Leonard (The Silent Film Sound and Music Archive)

    4. Early Music in the ‘Early Game’ 

    Jennifer Smith (University of Huddersfield)

    5. A Masked Ritual and Backwards Priests: Aural and Visual Corruption in Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut 

    Daniel Trocmé-Latter (University of Cambridge)


    II. Early music, immersive media, and virtual histories 


    6. Audio-Visual Interaction in Virtual Worlds: Seeing Sound and Hearing Objects in Visual Cultures 

    James Cook (University of Edinburgh)

    7. Half-real worlds? Immersion and the representation of musical pasts in virtual reality’ 

    Adam Whittaker (Royal Birmingham Conservatoire)

    8. Authenticity in Sound Design for Virtual Reality 

    Stephen Tatlow (Royal Holloway University of London)


    III. Early music out of time and space 


    9. Haunted by the Past: Music and Folk Horror in Children of the Stones 

    Alexander Kolassa (The Open University)

    10. Pixels et al.: Multi-layered Representation of Past(s) in the Audio, Visual and Ludic Elements of Shovel Knight and Other Screen Media 

    Dean Chalmers (University of Edinburgh)

    11. The Endless Knot: Turning the Seasons in Harrison Birtwistle’s Gawain (1991) and David Lowery’s The Green Knight (2021) 

    George K. Haggett (University of Oxford)

    12. A Jolly Good Thirteenth-Century Romp: Galavant, Architextuality and the Intertextual Performance of Race, Gender, and Social Class in a Medievalist Musical Comedy for Television

    William A. Everett (University of Missouri-Kansas City Conservatory) 


    James Cook is Lecturer in Early Music at the University of Edinburgh. Alexander Kolassa is Lecturer in Music at the Open University. Alexander Robinson earned his PhD at Paris-Sorbonne University. He has taught at King’s College London, the University of Cambridge, and University of Surrey. Adam Whittaker is Lecturer in Music at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, Birmingham City University.