Music and the English Mystery Plays


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

The surviving mystery plays of late medieval England contain songs, allusions to music, and directions for its performance, but these have received, for the most part, inadequate notice, since scholars who have dealt with this subject have concerned themselves only with the printed texts, not the original sources.1 Others, remarking that the plays are not sung but spoken, and that they are not musical drama but include music in the drama, have tended to treat the music as merely incidental: that is, as background, as an interruption of the action, or as spectacular device.2

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.