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  • Print publication year: 2020
  • Online publication date: October 2020

22 - Making Memories in Post-Reformation English Catholic Musical Miscellanies

from Part IV - Rituals and Bodies


This chapter adds to our understanding of popular memory by considering how English Catholics memorialised the effects of the Reformation through music, and focuses on Catholic songs that were preserved and circulated in manuscript miscellanies. Catholic musical responses to the Reformation can be divided into three necessarily interrelated categories: self-memorialisation; the composition of music that represented and remembered religious change; and musical memorials by future generations of Catholics which were informed by previous musical traditions. Composing, collecting and copying songs into manuscript miscellanies were creative, transformative activities; writing preserved visual evidence of acoustic events, and imprinted the music, words and ideas more firmly into the minds of the individuals holding the pen. Acts of preservation also subjected the songs to transformations due to their spatial context on the page. As well as thinking about their performers, composers and subjects, we also need to focus on the material aspects of the songs themselves. As a result, this chapter ends by focusing in particular on the little known manuscript miscellany BL Add MS 38599 started by Richard Shanne (1561-1627) from Methley, West Yorkshire. Attending to the commemorative layers of preserved manuscript miscellanies, it challenges existing binary understandings of confessional identity and memorial practices.

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