Singing the News is the first study to concentrate on sixteenth-century ballads, when there was no regular and reliable alternative means of finding out news and information. It is a highly readable and accessible account of the important role played by ballads in spreading news during a period when discussing politics was treason. The study provides a new analytical framework for understanding the ways in which balladeers spread their messages to the masses. Jenni Hyde focusses on the melody as much as the words, showing how music helped to shape the understanding of texts. Music provided an emotive soundtrack to words which helped to shape sixteenth-century understandings of gendered monarchy, heresy and the social cohesion of the commonwealth. By combining the study of ballads in manuscript and print with sources such as letters and state records, the study shows that when their topics edged too close to sedition, balladeers were more than capable of using sophisticated methods to disguise their true meaning in order to safeguard themselves and their audience, and above all to ensure that their news hit home.
Table of Contents
List of Tables
List of Figures
A Note on Musical Analysis
Chapter 1 Introduction - now lesten a whyle & let hus singe
Chapter 2 ‘Lend listning eares a while to me’ – the production and consumption of sixteenth-century ballads
Chapter 3 ‘I praye thee mynstrell make no stoppe’ – the music of the mid-Tudor ballads
Chapter 4 ‘Sung to filthy tunes’ – the meaning of music
Chapter 5 ‘Ye never herd so many newes’ – the social circulation of information in ballads
Chapter 6 ‘Of popyshnes and heresye’ – political ballads and the fall of Thomas Cromwell
Chapter 7 ‘Lyege lady and queene’ – discourses of obedience in the reign of Mary I
Chapter 8 ‘Some good man, for the commons speake’ – scribal collections and social criticism
Conclusion ‘one hundred of ballits’
Jenni Hyde is Associate Vice-President of the Historical Association. A former music teacher, folk singer and classically-trained soprano, she holds a doctorate in history from the University of Manchester and a PGCE in music from Edge Hill University College. She is Honorary Researcher in History at Lancaster University and an Associate Lecturer at Liverpool Hope University. She has published articles for both journals and popular magazines.
This is a significant book.
David Atkinson - Folk Music Journal