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“If music be the food of love, play on” (Twelfth Night, 1.1.1-7)
Music and Shakespearean Theatre. The two art forms go hand in hand, like hot chocolate on a snowy day.
Shakespeare embraced the use of music, and saw its transformative potential to take stage drama to a deeper level of meaning. He held access to a treasure chest of music at his very doorstep, since Elizabethan culture was steeped in popular ballads, madrigals, church chorals, and courtly arias (to name a few). And he carefully chose songs and musical styles to suit character development.
In terms of vocal music, Shakespeare penned his own lyrics, as well as made use of pre-existing songs. The singing roles in his plays are mostly given to minor characters, clowns, ruffians, and servants. The principal characters never sing (imagine Hamlet breaking into song and dance! *gasp* :O), with the exception of heroines, Ophelia (
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