Short on time?

Get essay writing help

Entertainment Music During The Elizabethan Era

Words: 1110
Pages: 2
This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples.

The Elizabethan Era displays many different topics for discussion. One subject is the priority of music in this crucial age. Throughout history, music has been a tremendous part of life for many cultures and time periods, while sustaining to bring people together. All music has a particular style that pertains to only their time period. The Elizabethan Era is no different. There are many unique attributes to Elizabethan era music, including the instruments, the sounds, and the entertainment that encapsulated the people during this time.

Important instruments were used during this era, and understanding how they were used and what they were is impertinent to grasp how they play a role in Elizabethan music. The first instrument group is the stringed instruments. The viol is an instrument very similar to a violin and is the main instrument in Morley’s Broken Consort. Musicians used the viol for “common ‘fanfare’ motifs using triadic patterns and octave jumps (Bryan 12)”. Next, is the bass viol, who is very similar in shape to the standing bass. It was mostly used as reinforcement for the organ (“Touching”) and had little to no movement or divisions (“Bryan”). It was also called “the Elizabethan era sub-woofer (Touching)”. Yet another stringed instrument is the lute. The lute is a stringed instrument with six to thirteen strings and is played similarly to a guitar. It is considered the most popular Elizabethan instrument (“The Arts”). The second instrument group is the wind instruments. The main instruments for wind players were the flute or recorder. They were called flute and recorded interchangeably, and took the melodies in most songs in this time period. Another wind instrument was the hautboy, the earlier version of an oboe. It “provided a high pitched, supernatural effect (Alchin)”. The last instrument group is the percussive instruments. The organ was highly used in the Elizabethan era for somber sounds. Meanwhile, the virginal was a small rectangular keyboard related to the harpsichord. Queen Elizabeth, I played the virginal (“The Arts”). Along with the virginal and the organ, there was also the spinet, which was similar to the others (“Alchin”). In conclusion, Elizabethan instruments are comprised of string, wind, and percussive instruments t create a blend of harmonic sounds that embodies this era.

Save your time!
We can take care of your essay
  • Proper editing and formatting
  • Free revision, title page, and bibliography
  • Flexible prices and money-back guarantee
Place Order

The second main point is about the different sounds of music. One type of music is instrumental music. Because of its unique sounds and structure, Morley’s Broken consort was a popular setup for musicians during this time period. The structure of the consort is small, with only six members of stringed and sustaining instruments. Some of these instruments include the viol, bass viol, and flute (“Bryan 10”). Since the group was so small, they could play almost anywhere. That enticed London theaters, so the consort was often hired to play there (“Bryan 11”). Along with entertaining many people, Morley’s Broken consort also was made to entertain the queen when she sojourned other places (“Bryan 10”). “A distinguishing feature [of the broken consort] was the embellishments (Bryan 11)” made by the instruments to make the music more captivating (“Bryan 10-11”). Another type of sound in music is lyrical music and songs. Although the Elizabethan era was a while ago, there were still many pieces of music found that keep their archives living. Many genres of music were played during this age, but one of the most popular was folk-type songs. Songs commonly told stories and had many verses. To signify different voice parts, some words were italicized or bold instead of multiple staffs. Rounds of repeating lines on different beats appeared and were intended to be silly and boisterous. An example of a round would be ‘Row Row Row Your Boat’. Instead of writing all the repeated music down, the composers added repeats with added lyrics for a second verse with the same melody. The lyrics did not always rhyme, but when they did, they had a poem-like structure. Some songs were love songs with four to six acapella singers called madrigals (“Singman 170-176”). The most popular song during this time period was ‘Greensleeves’ (“Alchin”). Due to both instrumental and lyrical music, there can be much to attain from the Elizabethan era by listening to these two different sounds of music.

The last main point is about the different kinds of entertainment music from the Elizabethan era. The first kind of music is theater music, where music accompanied poems and added drama to the pieces. Shakespeare made five hundred plus references to music in his plays and poems. Each genre of play required different emotions to be portrayed, and being able to do that through music was very popular. Since the musicians were not to be seen, they were located at different positions near the stage, even under the stage. Boosts in attendance at theaters increased due to the musical involvement (“Alchin”). Another kind of entertainment music proposed was court music. Music was taught in some schools and universities, but since it was expensive to go to school, not many people learned to play instruments professionally (“Daily”). Queen Elizabeth exalted music and encouraged everyone to participate in it. When invited to the palace, nobles were expected to entertain and show musical prowess to the queen. Queen Elizabeth hired seventy or more singers and musicians. The range of musical genres these musicians played expanded over every type of music (“Alchin”). Although professional music was almost impossible to receive in lower classes, people indulged themselves in singing. Some even became servants for nobles, where they learned to play music (“Alchin”). Nearly everyone created many songs to express themselves and have fun with. Most of the songs were able to have danced with them. Even during events and holidays, people had music. After the Twelve Days of Christmas feast, people would start singing in the streets. Along with singing, the church would play their bells during celebrations. On Accession Day, when Queen Elizabeth ascended to the throne, parades went by accompanied to music. Throughout the streets, there was music filling the streets (“Daily”). Also accompanying events and festivals, troubadours and minstrels would sing ballads and tell stories to provide entertainment (“Alchin”). All in all, the Elizabethan era musical entertainment options help show the one-of-a-kind musicality of the Elizabethan era.

There are many different and important aspects of the Elizabethan era music that encompasses everything that makes this time period music unique. Instruments, styles, and entertainment show unparalleled the importance that music played in the Elizabethan era. Music in this age brought people together and showed unity for everyone. Despite the fact that there is significance in music, there is a torrent of other topics that assist in tying together the Elizabethan era completely.

Make sure you submit a unique essay

Our writers will provide you with an essay sample written from scratch: any topic, any deadline, any instructions.

Cite this Page

Entertainment Music During The Elizabethan Era. (2022, February 26). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 26, 2023, from
“Entertainment Music During The Elizabethan Era.” Edubirdie, 26 Feb. 2022,
Entertainment Music During The Elizabethan Era. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 Sept. 2023].
Entertainment Music During The Elizabethan Era [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 26 [cited 2023 Sept 26]. Available from:
Join 100k satisfied students
  • Get original paper written according to your instructions
  • Save time for what matters most
hire writer

Fair Use Policy

EduBirdie considers academic integrity to be the essential part of the learning process and does not support any violation of the academic standards. Should you have any questions regarding our Fair Use Policy or become aware of any violations, please do not hesitate to contact us via

Check it out!
search Stuck on your essay?

We are here 24/7 to write your paper in as fast as 3 hours.