On the Origin and Progress of the Art of Music by John Taverner: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

On the Origin and Progress of the Art of Music by John Taverner

1st Edition

By Joseph M. Ortiz


166 pages | 8 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9781138633698
pub: 2018-09-13
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315207193
pub: 2018-09-13
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John Taverner’s lectures on music constitute the only extant version of a complete university course in music in early modern England. Originally composed in 1611 in both English and Latin, they were delivered at Gresham College in London between 1611 and 1638, and it is likely that Taverner intended at some point to publish the lectures in the form of a music treatise. The lectures, which Taverner collectively titled De Ortu et Progressu Artis Musicæ ("On the Origin and Progress of the Art of Music"), represent a clear attempt to ground musical education in humanist study, particularly in Latin and Greek philology. Taverner’s reliance on classical and humanist writers attests to the durability of music’s association with rhetoric and philology, an approach to music that is too often assigned to early Tudor England. Taverner is also a noteworthy player in the seventeenth-century Protestant debates over music, explicitly defending music against Reformist polemicists who see music as an overly sensuous activity.

In this first published edition of Taverner’s musical writings, Joseph M. Ortiz comprehensively introduces, edits, and annotates the text of the lectures, and an appendix contains the existing Latin version of Taverner’s text. By shedding light on a neglected figure in English Renaissance music history, this edition is a significant contribution to the study of musical thought in Renaissance England, humanism, Protestant Reformism, and the history of education.

Table of Contents

List of figures

Series editor’s preface



I Taverner and Gresham College

1 Biography of John Taverner

2 The founding of Gresham College

3 John Bull and the Gresham music professorship

4 Taverner and the evolution of the Gresham music professorship

5 Audiences and readers of the Gresham lectures

II Taverner’s music lectures

1 Overview and form of the lectures

2 Humanism and philology in the lectures

3 The Reformist critique of music

4 Evolving ideas of musical literacy

On the origin and progress of the art of music (English lectures)

Lecture 1

Lecture 2

Lecture 3

Lecture 4

Lecture 5

Lecture 6

Lecture 7

Lecture 8

Lecture 9

Appendix: Taverner’s Gresham College music lectures in Latin

Editorial note

Lecture 0 (inaugural lecture)

Lecture 1

Lecture 2

Lecture 3

Lecture 4

Lecture 5

Lecture 6

Lecture 7



About the Author

Joseph M. Ortiz is Associate Professor of English at the University of Texas at El Paso, where he teaches Renaissance and comparative literature. He is the author of Broken Harmony: Shakespeare and the Politics of Music (2011) and the editor of Shakespeare and the Culture of Romanticism (2013). He has written several articles and chapters on Renaissance literature, Renaissance musical thought, and the reception of classical culture in Renaissance Europe.

About the Series

Music Theory in Britain, 1500–1700: Critical Editions

The purpose of this series is to provide critical editions of music theory in Britain (primarily England, but Scotland, Ireland and Wales also) from 1500 to 1700. By 'theory' is meant all sorts of writing about music, from textbooks aimed at the beginner to treatises written for a more sophisticated audience. These foundational texts have immense value in revealing attitudes, ways of thinking and even vocabulary crucial for understanding and analysing music. They reveal beliefs about the power of music, its function in society and its role in education, and they furnish valuable information about performance practice and about the context of performance. They are a window into musical culture every bit as important as the music itself.

The editions in this series present the text in its original form. That is, they retain original spelling, capitalization and punctuation, as well as certain salient features of the type, for example, the choice of font. A textual commentary in each volume offers an explication of difficult or unfamiliar terminology as well as suggested corrections of printing errors; the introduction situates the work and its author in a larger historical context.

Jessie Ann Owens is assisted on the series by Series Assistant Editor, Minji Kim.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General