Book Series Brepols Collected Essays in European Culture, vol. 4

Instruments, Ensembles, and Repertory, 1300-1600

Essays in Honour of Keith Polk

Timothy J. McGee, Stewart Carter (eds)

  • Pages: 342 p.
  • Size:156 x 234 mm
  • Illustrations:83 b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2014

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-54161-7
  • Hardback
  • Available
  • ISBN: 978-2-503-54200-3
  • E-book
  • Available

Twelve essays that shed new light on various aspects of the performance of Medieval and Renaissance music.


"Twelve distinguished colleagues, who would be inducted into the Med/Ren musicology Hall of Fame (if there were such a thing), contributed to this collection that gathers visual and written evidence about music. Excellent black and white reproductions accompany these essays, most appropriate for specialists in the field." (Eleonora M. Beck, in: The Medieval Review, 14.10.25)

"Polk's legacy is very clear in the close focus, attention to detail and rigorous source interpretation of many of the essays here, and this tribute to him is a timely opportunity to reflect on not just the new evidence that has accumulated in the course of his career but also what we can learn from it. (...) in drawing clearer boundaries between fact and speculation, this is a state-of-the-art demonstration of what an informed approach to historical music-making can achieve, and it makes fascinating reading for anyone interested in the context of medieval music." (Jon Banks, in: Early Music, Vol. 42, n° 4, November 2014, p. 638-640)

"L'ensemble du livre est agrémenté de nombreux exemples musicaux et illustrations qui viennent colorer ce riche tableau collectivement brossé sur la musique instrumentale." (dans: Bulletin de la Société Française d'Étude du Seizième Siècle, n° 80, décembre 2014, p. 40-41)

"(...) this is an excellent resource for scholars, performers, and aficionados of music in the European late medieval and Renaissance eras." (Beth Bullard, in: Renaissance Quarterly, 68.1, 2015, p. 358-360)


Over the past 45 years, Keith Polk has been one of the major scholars in the history of musical instruments and their repertories during the period 1300 - 1600. His publications have been extremely helpful in elucidating the development of the instruments, the repertory they performed, and the role played by instruments and instrumentalists in late medieval and Renaissance society. This collection of twelve essays on medieval and Renaissance music performance topics adds to the areas in which Keith Polk has made significant contributions, namely instruments, ensembles, and repertory. The scope of the individual essays varies in terms of geographical and temporal focus, with some involving an issue that was common to all areas of Europe, while others are specifically aimed at a single instrument, ensemble, composition, country, city, or occasion. Most of the essays are historical in nature, centring on how music was performed in particular circumstances, although some are quite practical and explain performance techniques involving voices and instruments. What unites the twelve essays is that they all shed new light on musical performance in Europe during the late Middle Ages and Renaissance. The writers chosen for this volume are all highly respected scholars whose writings are always of the highest calibre. Taken as a whole, the essays in this volume make an excellent contribution to the field of music history.



About the honouree


A Tale of Bells and Bows: Stalking the U-slide Trumpet — STEWART CARTER

The Medieval Fiddle: Tuning, Technique, and Repertory — TIMOTHY J. MCGEE

Lute Ladies and Old Men in Early Sixteenth-Century Flemish Paintings: Mirrors, Magdalenes, Mottoes, Moralities, Vanities, Allegories — H. COLIN SLIM

Organs and Instrumental Performance at the Collegiate Church of St Omer, Northern France, in the Later Middle Ages — ANDREW KIRKMAN


Renaissance Piety and Ceremony: Antwerp’s Speellieden at Work — KRISTINE K. FORNEY

Music in Late-Medieval Tours and Orléans: A Reflection of Political Allegiance in the Loire Valley — GRETCHEN PETERS

Reverse Engineering Fifteenth-Century Counterpoint: Es solt ein man kein mole farn and Cançon de pifari dco. el Ferrarese — ADAM GILBERT

Ensemble Improvisation in the Fifteenth-Century Mensural Dance Repertoire — ROSS DUFFIN


Reclaiming the Past: Bishop Antonio Altoviti’s Entrance into Florence in 1567 — FRANK A. D’ACCONE

Out of the Shadows: The Double Canon En l’ombre d’ung buissonnet — LOUISE LITTERICK

A Hidden Arrangement of Gentil madonna — DAVID FALLOWS

A Lesson in Ficta from Bidon? — JOSHUA RIFKIN

Appendix: Keith Polk — Publications