Music in Shakespeare’s Plays Elizabethans, during the time of the notorious William Shakespeare (1564-1616), were extremely sensitive to beauty and grace and had an undying enthusiasm for music and poetry. Music was a vital part of Elizabethan society; it was thought that a man who could not read music or understand it was poorly educated. The common entertainment and amusement was centered on music, song, and dance, people of all classes enjoyed the splendor of the music at this time. Since music was so popular and so widely understood, it is little wonder that most Elizabethan plays, including Shakespeare’s plays, have music in them.
Shakespeare uses music in his plays for several reasons, all of which are extremely significant. The first is evident in which music was so popular during this time that it influenced the performed plays. Shakespeare had a mixed audience who enjoyed and attended his plays. Music, which was understood practically universally allowed everyone to understand his plays and relate to them more easily. If people did not understand the language or the plot, the music could make it easier for them to follow along. Secondly, on the stage music played a very important role.
Music contributed to the atmosphere and set the mood in many of Shakespeare’s plays. There was a special musicians’ gallery above the stage, the music sometimes was played on the stage, and there were occasions when it was played under the stage to achieve an eerie effect. During comedy plays gentle songs would be played with the lute and during tragedies and histories the sounds of trumpets and drums would echo through the theater. For example, if a king entered the trumpets would sound and everyone would know who it was. The Twelfth Night is also a good example; it includes instrumental serenades and rousing drinking songs, all to show the gaiety and sadness for the mood of the play. Some songs and music are intended to represent a soliloquy, when private thoughts and feelings are performed.
Let the music play “Music washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”(Quotations). A wise musician named Berthold Auerbach said this, and I completely agree with him. All around us music is playing, and we don’t even notice it at times. That attractive pop song that always catches on then fades away, or even some good ole oldies. No matter what the music era or genre is, it reflects the ...
Songs, music, and sound effects represent themes, tones, moods, emotions, and even people. Shakespeare, being a lyric poet, used fifty or more songs in his plays and wrote hundreds of stage directions calling for music. He used the time and society he lived in to benefit and influence the structure of his plays. The time and society were influenced by music and song, so Shakespeare utilized this fascination to impact his plays. Music was apart of Elizabethan society so William Shakespeare made it apart of his plays. Music was a wonderful representation of society, mood, theme, emotion, and people in all of William Shakespeare’s plays, and even though we may not see it music may have this same affect in our society today..